By Kelly Jaggers
Lazy Daisy Cake – Light, moist vanilla cake topped with a broiled brown sugar coconut icing. Time-tested family recipe.
My friend Kelly Jaggers is back with another wonderful family recipe! Her nostalgic memories behind this recipe, beautifully expressed, make it taste even sweeter. ~ Tori
My Aunt Ruby had a habit of tucking important bits of information into containers stashed around her house. Once when I was visiting I wanted to make a glass of chocolate milk. I got the chocolate powder from her pantry and imagine my surprise when I found not chocolate milk mix but money! She was raised during the great depression. While she had a bank account, she never kept all her money there. You never knew, did you?
One afternoon a few years before she passed away Ruby and I were sitting in her kitchen when I started nosing around her kitchen looking for recipes. Ruby was a keen recipe collector. She would copy down recipes onto pale blue recipe cards and store them in a variety of metal recipe boxes around her kitchen. She invited me to copy down any that caught my eye, knowing how much I love to cook. There were recipes she has copied out of the newspaper and magazines, some were recipes from friends, and others were of her own invention.
One thing I noticed about Ruby’s recipes is they often did not contain specific directions about oven temperatures and baking times. This is a common problem with recipes that are passed down in my family. The cook knew the details and just used the card to remind her of the measurements. If there is a method listed, it is often a little sketchy, with just a brief note about how to mix something specific. Ruby had a mind like a steel trap, and she didn’t need the details on the recipes. I quizzed her about recipes that I wanted to have, and she knew without having to think too hard, what the times and temperatures were. She also gave me a few helpful hints that I jotted down. It was on this occasion that I copied down a 1940’s classic, Lazy Daisy Cake.
A few weeks later I made my first Lazy Daisy Cake. I followed Ruby’s directions to the letter and the result was scrumptious! The cake itself is light and moist with a pleasant vanilla flavor. The star is the frosting. It is similar in flavor to a praline, but closer in texture to the frosting on a German Chocolate Cake. I did a little research and found many variations on the Lazy Daisy Cake. Some contain oats, others have nuts or fruit. I like it just the way Ruby made it.
Ruby said that the Lazy Daisy Cake was a favorite of hers because it was so simple. The best part, she told me, was that this cake didn’t require any fancy decorating. Instead the frosting is warmed on the stove to melt the sugar, then it is spread over the just baked cake and broiled until deeply golden brown and thick. She told me that the trick to keeping the cake super moist was to broil the frosting when the cake was just baked through and golden around the edges, but not golden all over.
This cake would make an excellent hostess gift, or house warming gift as you serve it in the pan. Take over the cake and leave the baking dish or pan behind after the cake has been devoured. That was something Ruby suggested, actually. She loved to take a baked gift in a pretty pan, making it in essence two gifts in one. Who wouldn’t love that?
Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
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- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 5 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
You will also need
- 9x9 inch cake pan, non-stick cooking spray, medium saucepan, mixing bowls,
- Heat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9x9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan over medium heat add the milk.
- Once the milk begins to simmer turn off the heat and add the tablespoon of butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl add the sugar, milk mixture, and eggs. Mix until well combined.
- Then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until no large lumps remain, about 12 strokes.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the cake is just golden brown around the edges and the center of the cake springs back when gently pressed.
- While the cake bakes prepare the icing. In a medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, five tablespoons of butter, and cream.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil then turn off the heat and stir in the coconut.
- Once the cake has baked remove it from the oven and turn on the broiler. Spread the icing evenly over the cake, then place the cake under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until the icing is bubbling vigorously all over. Remove the cake from the oven and cool to room temperature in the pan before slicing and serving. Keeps for up to three days in an air tight container at room temperature.