In my post about Doyle Pregler and Brenda Bernstein’s vintage cast iron cookware collection, I shared some photos of Brenda’s beautiful cakes made with cast iron molds. Accomplice Linda has tried to make a Griswold lamb cake from her vintage cast iron mold (blog post here), and has sought out Brenda on more than one occasion to solicit tips and advice. Linda has yet, however, to make a cake that even comes close to the “Brenda” standard. In fact, I have yet to see a cake made from a Griswold cake mold that even approaches the “Brenda” standard. I’ve seen photos on the web from other bakers and have even seen an awesome site on the web that has featured photos of Easter lamb cakes made in aluminum molds, but nothing I’ve seen to date compares to Brenda’s beautiful cakes.
So how, exactly, does Brenda make her Griswold cakes? I asked her, and she kindly compiled her instructions on how to make a successful cake using a Griswold cake mold.
Here are tips to make a cake from a cast iron mold to the “Brenda” standard, directly from Brenda. Of course the frosting is undoubtedly an entire lesson in itself! And practice – practice makes perfect.
Brenda’s sure-fire way to make a great cake with a Griswold cast iron cake mold.
By Brenda Bernstein
This is geared towards the lamb mold; but can be applied to the Santa and rabbit cake molds as well.
Preparation: Griswold cake mold, cake batter, cookie sheet, toothpicks, “Bakers Joy” spray, good oven mitts for your hands.
Type of Cake: Heavy, dense cakes seem to work best in these molds. My cake of choice is a regular pound cake.
- Preheat oven to 350
- Prepare cake batter
- VERY GENEROUSLY spray both sides of cake mold with Bakers Joy.
- Place “face side” of the mold onto your cookie sheet
- Pour cake batter into cake mold. It should just fill the mold.
- Place toothpicks in the ears, nose and the neck for stability.
- Place other half of cake mold on top.
- Place in oven and bake for 25 min.
- Remove from oven
- Carefully flip the mold over so the “face side” is now up. (Use protective oven mitts.)
- Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes.
- Remove it from oven and let cool on a cooling rack.
- After it has cooled, I flip it over so the “face side” is down and carefully remove the top (back side) portion of the cake mold.Then, flip it over onto the cooling rack (the back side of the cake will be on the cooling rack) and then remove the second portion (the front) of the cake mold. Take your time on this step – the head is usually the trickiest part.
- Set the cake upright. It is now ready to be either eaten or decorated.
More examples of decorated cakes:
Tips for decorating:
You can use buttercream frosting and coat the entire cake and then cover it with coconut flakes.
You can use buttercream frosting and “dirty” coat the cake, and then proceed to use decorator tips to decorate the cake in a bit more detailed fashion.
You can use fondant as well. First “dirty coat” the cake with buttercream frosting and then apply the fondant as you wish.
You can also make a glaze for the cake and just coat it with the glaze.
If you are making the Santa cake, be aware that it is very difficult to get it to stand upright. I used a long bamboo skewer down the center for more stability and had success with that.
I have not mastered a technique for getting the rabbit to stand up on its own yet. Other people have used other cakes alongside it to keep it propped up.
I have tried the original cake recipe that came with the Santa cake mold, but it did not work as well. The cake was delicious though! It would be fantastic prepared in a Bundt cake pan.
Thank you, Brenda! Now, let’s see some cakes!
p.s. When Doris Mosier managed the site, she also had a page on making Griswold cakes. You can find it here.