Mom makes lazy daisy cakeMom makes lazy daisy cake

I haven’t made this cake in years, but I grew up on it, back in the days when housewives served desserts after every dinner. And I’m not talking about a couple of cookies on a plate, either. Dessert was something that we ate with a spoon or a dessert fork, and at least one purpose it served was to teach my sister and me where to put the dessert fork when we were setting the table, and all three of us children what silverware to use and when (“Use your silverware from the outside in, kids!”).

Lazy daisy cake is what they call a “hot milk cake” and can be mixed up and in the oven in about ten minutes. My mother made it several times a month and we all liked it, even though we’re not big coconut fans. Something about broiling the topping transforms the coconut and makes it less coconutty, somehow. But speaking of the topping, although it’s quick and easy, it must be watched carefully once you put it under the broiler as it only takes a minute or two to achieve the desired toastiness. I heard lots of colorful language from the kitchen since Mom often passed that minute between toasted and burnt. “Hell’s bells!” and “Damnation!” drifted upstairs where Suzie and I were in our room playing with our Tammy dolls. That was our signal to keep our heads down and stay out of the kitchen, so I don’t know if she started the cake all over again or was able to scrape the topping off and just re-make that part. If it was just slightly burnt it was actually kind of good in the way that slightly burnt roast marshmallows are; we ate it that way a lot.

Lazy Daisy Cake from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, 1990 edition, Marion Cunningham

(8-inch square cake)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut or finely chopped nuts

Note: In place of the flour, baking powder, and salt I used 1 cup of self-rising flour and it was even quicker and worked beautifully.

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Butter and lightly flour an 8-inch square cake pan or spray with cooking spray. Beat the eggs with the vanilla until they have thickened slightly. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat thoroughly. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together and add to the first mixture, blending until smooth. Heat the milk and 1 tablespoon of the butter together in a small pan (I used a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave). When the butter has melted, stir the milk and melted butter into the batter and mix well; the batter will be very liquid. Work quickly now and pour batter into pan; bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cake from oven. Meanwhile, mix remaining 3 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, cream, and coconut or nuts together in a small pan over low heat until melted and well blended. (I added a bit of vanilla to this mixture.) Spread over hot cake and brown lightly under the broiler for a minute or two, taking care that it does not burn.


I am in class with my students typing away on the keyboard and I have to suppress laughing out loud with your toasting to burning coconut story. I must make this cake and live the excitement. Thanks so much.

Oooh, I made this cake last year for my grandad, I got my recipe from the Wooden Spoon Baking Book and it wasn’t called the Lazy Daisy Cake. Wish it had been! Whatever it was called though, it tasted delicious and moist!

“Hell’s bells!” … I’ve always liked that one.

So, why is it called a Lazy Daisy cake? Daisy certainly can’t be lazy if she’s trying to keep the top from burning. :)

My sister uses that Wooden Spoon baking book and just loves it; I’ll have to ask her if she’s ever seen anything resembling this recipe in there, Freya. Did your cake have the broiled topping?

Hmm, Jan, what are you doing reading blogs in class?! :)

Colin, it’s called Lazy Daisy cake because it’s a cake for lazy days; it really is almost as easy as that chocolate Amazon cake, or “Whacky Cake” as that one is sometimes called.

Did I really take the Lord’s name in vain?? That is still one my favorite cakes, it is so moist and delicious. I saw a similar recipe on a Land ’o Lakes butter box one time. It is great for a brunch or tea. Remember how we always took that to picnics at the shore?

I remember taking chocolate cake to the shore, that one I loved with the frosting like hard fudge.

You know, now that you mention it, I think you probably said, “Damnation, not Goddamnit”. Although you weren’t so religious in those days. I’ll correct that.

Mom actually bought a Lazy Daisy cake to Florida with her that they had been eating in the car and it was soooo good! I hadn’t had one in years and I ate most of it myself! I laughed when I read about the Tammy dolls too! I’d forgotten about them. Since Mom wouldn’t let us play with Barbies!

Yes, Barbies were too sexy! Didn’t we have some other members of Tammy’s family as well? I know we had Tammy’s mom, and maybe her little sister Pepper.

I was surprised that the guys liked the Lazy Daisy cake as much as they did because they really don’t like cake, but they loved it, even Calvin.

Tammy didn’t have a Mom!! I do kind of remember her little sister though. I’d forgotten her name though. Barbie’s breasts were too big according to Mom!

Did you all know that Barbie was based on a German sex doll?

Sue, Tammy did too have a mom; she was taller with dark hair. We ordered her through the Sears catalogue and I still remember tearing open that package and how excited we were. Click on the link in post and you can see a picture of Tammy’s whole family.

Leland, I didn’t know that about Barbie but it doesn’t surprise me. My mother was right to be suspicious of her and think she was unwholesome for young girls to play with. Just think if Mom had been confronted with a Bratz doll!

Hi, yes it did have the broiled topping – that was the best bit! Here’s my post:

Actually, Mom did see a Bratz doll last year at Thanksgiving when Taylor bought one with her. We called her Hooker Barbie!

You girls are too funny! What memories! Even though I wasn’t so religious in those days, I was trying to get you kids to be so. I remember Hells Bells and Damnation was the phrase I picked up from my Mom, and seem to remember using it quite a bit.

Lois – I guess you are right about color I think I was thinking of tomatoe soup cake – Happy Moving

See you next week Darlene

I am so glad you posted this recipe, it makes me so excited. I grew up eating this cake and loved it, I made it for my kids once in a while but if I forgot if I was to put the topping on before or after the cake was done, I always called my mom. My mom passed away 5 years ago and I look at the recipe and try and remember what my mom taught me, (should have wrote it down) but It was always a good reason to call. Now with your help I can once again make the cake I love and pass it on to my grandchildren. Your recipe is exactly like the one I got from my mom, so thank you.

I love this recipe dearly, But i would like to thank you so much for the recipe …. and lady’s my grandma LOVES Bratz doll’s that is quite weird for a granny huh?
Thanks again, it was a delicous cake

Yours Truly,
Abdullah Arabic

My girls (4) told me the recipe could be found. Had it in the 60’s and a friend lost it. Will be making it this week, thanks. I am now a Great Grandmother and will pass it on.

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