Lazy Daisy Cake

I just love old recipes. Making a recipe from years gone by is like a visit with an old friend. It just feels so comfortable and familiar.

That’s exactly what this cake recipe is – old. And comfortable. And so familiar.

Lazy Daisy Cake is a dessert that originated during the 1940’s before boxed mixes became widely available and people still cooked mainly from scratch. You might have even enjoyed this once or twice during your growing up years.

So easy to make, you could mix this cake up in a few minutes and pop it in the oven while you’re cooking dinner. Homemade cake for dessert on a week night. Yes! And no ordinary cake, either. The layer is wonderfully buttery but not too rich and the topping…oh, wow, that topping! The brown sugar and coconut topping is spread over the still warm cake and broiled until it’s all melty, caramel-ly, and toasted. If you like coconut, you’re going to love this.

I just can’t explain how delicious this cake is. You’ll have to make one and find out for yourself!

Start by preheating your oven and preparing a 9×13 pan. Then whisk together the dry ingredients in a little bowl. Warm the milk with the butter just until the butter melts and add the vanilla to the pan.

Using a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until they’re pale and thick. It takes about 6 minutes or so.

Now, just use a spatula to mix in the dry ingredients and milk until just incorporated. The batter will surprise you. It’s thinner than you might think.

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 30-35 minutes). Take the cake out and let it cool slightly while you mix together the topping ingredients. Spread the topping over the cake and place it under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until nice and bubbly and the coconut begins to toast. Serve warm.

The cake can be stored at room temperature for at least 4 days. You’ll want to reheat individual servings in the microwave.


Lazy Daisy Cake
Prep time
Cook time
A vintage recipe - buttery yellow cake layer with a broiled coconut topping.
Serves: About 15 servings
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tblsp. butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 9 tblsp. butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tblsp. evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13x9 inch pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the butter and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick, about 6 minutes.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture and milk mixture alternately until just incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Let cool slightly in the pan, about 10 minutes.
  8. Heat the broiler.
For the topping:
  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, evaporated milk, and coconut in a medium bowl. Spread the topping evenly over cake. Broil until topping bubbles and just begins to brown, 3-4 minutes. Serve warm.
The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave.

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Other old-fashioned cake recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:

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  1. says

    You want pizza and I want cake. You know how a lot of commenters claim excitement and assure you they MUST make something…but you wonder how many do? How about this? The cake is in the oven. Not kidding.

    Afternoon meeting where I’ve promised coffee and this cake would be perfect. Coconut in the pantry; even some evaporated milk. Done. Ahem…though I ‘might’ have subbed a bit of milk for a bit of? If you guessed booze it shows you know me well. Dark rum it is and it smells DIVINE!!!

    • says

      That’s so funny, Barb! Your pizza is actually on my menu for this weekend. Would have been tonight if I’d been able to get to the store for the right cheese.

      I *really* love your idea of adding a bit of rum to the Lazy Daisy cake topping and I want to know how you and your guests like the recipe.

  2. says

    Hi Lana! I think this is one of those recipes everybody needs to have in their collection – it’s fabulous and if you have the coconut and evaporated milk, you can always make it. I love recipes like this that I know I can whip up even if I didn’t get to the market or something unexpected comes up!!!

    • says

      Me too, Nancy. One of the things I love about these old recipes is that they usually call for pantry staples and are easy to whip up on a moment’s notice.

  3. says

    I adore the name of this cake! We had a sweet puppy named Daisy, she was amazing! Your cake sounds delicious, and that topping. .. Oh my Goodness! Hugs, Terra

  4. Rachel Freeman says

    I don’t know if I should resent the labeling of this as vintage. It was a favorite recipe of mine when I was young and married. Then the kids got old enough to be picky and didn’t like cake, not to mention coconut. This would be great for a potluck or funeral luncheon. And now I know where to find it. I can taste the warm buttery goodness now.

  5. mommawithfour says

    do you think I could use cream instead of the evap. milk? I dont buy that ever…and we always have cream on hand. thanks

  6. Terri says

    Grew up on this and still make it for my kids. Ours is Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake though. I will have to try it with your cake recipe. Also, my topping has walnuts in it.

  7. Kathleen Thorn says

    My mother used to make this cake. I think the recipe came off of the back of a box of Bisquick… It sure brings back some good memories… :o)

  8. tammy says

    Hi I was reading the note on the lazy daisy cake and one mom asked if she could use cream instead of the milk and the answer is yes. I make this cake at home every week for my boys. My recipe calls for 2 table spoons of 15% cream.

  9. Diane Bowen says

    My mom made this cake when I was growing up and I am now 65 yrs. I also have made it many, many times. Only we used to melt the butter and brown sugar together with the milk and then add the coconut. I don’t know, maybe it would be better to do it this way cause the melted mix tended to run down to the edges of the cake off the middle raised portion of the cake. But it is delicious. I think I will make one and try the topping as per this recipe.

  10. Donna says

    I haven’t had this cake in over 50 years, but it was one of my favorites. I am so happy I found your web site. I just may have to make this one for myself, and remember my mom making it. Thanks so much.

    • Lana Stuart says

      I do hope you’ll make one, Donna, and that you’ll enjoy it. One of the best things about blogging for me is bringing back old recipes that people associate with happy memories!

  11. Jane says

    I still have my mom’s recipe for this on an old index card in her hand writing, along with butter stains on it! I haven’t made it in a long time but I can taste it thinking about it. Thank you for reminding me of it!

  12. Joyce says

    This has been my family favorite cake recipe forever!!! But we add 1 1/4 cups of boiling water to 1 cup uncooked oatmeal. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Add to the cake mixture and bake. No one will know there is good old fashion nutrient oatmeal in a cake.

  13. Betsy Hartmann says

    I had never heard of this cake, but an old boyfriend of mine raved about it as his childhood favorite, so I hunted it down. The recipe I use calls for the oatmeal cake also. I love to make more topping than the original calls for!

  14. Jean Davis says

    This particular cake was a mainstay at my Grandma’s house. She taught me how to make it back in the 70s. Our recipe is a little different (we did not melt the butter/margarine and heat with the milk) and we used 1/2 of the ingredients and a smaller rectangle pan to make the cake.

    The broiled icing was always a plus with this cake.

  15. Patricia Sauve says

    My Mom, grandmom and neighbors used to make this cake for special get-togethers and they are delicious (I’m talking about the cakes here) I have made it from scratch many times myself. The last time I made it I switched the homemade cake batter for a butter pecan cake mix, and it was delicious. By the way, my family recipe calls for half and half instead of evaporated milk.

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