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Lazy Daisy Cake

Lazy Daisy Cake is a buttery, caramelly simple homemade vintage cake recipe. This lovely cake with a unique broiled topping features common ingredients and can be made from start to finish in under an hour!

Packed with tantalizing, nostalgic flavors like brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and coconut, this Lazy Daisy Cake is a beloved old recipe.

A bite of cake suspended on a fork over a piece of cake on a plate.

For many people, this cake was a childhood staple. It was a sweet treat that our mothers could mix together quickly with ingredients that were usually on hand. Even young, first-time bakers remember starting out with this recipe and could manage it with little-to-no help.

But, even if you didn’t grow up enjoying this fluffy, moist yellow cake, it’s not too late to fall in love with it now! Who wouldn’t like having warm slices of a rich, tasty cake ready to eat in under an hour? 

The deliciously moist layer is definitely incredible, but the star of this dessert is the broiled coconut topping. There’s no need to fuss with icing when using this gooey, chewy layer of caramel and coconut!

Whether this recipe is an old favorite or completely new to you, you’re sure to fall for this delicious vintage cake recipe!

❤️ Why We Love This Recipe


  • It’s an easy, time-tested vintage recipe.
  • The flavors will remind you of a lighter, more buttery German chocolate cake.
  • The decadent caramel coconut topping takes the place of messy frosting.
  • It’s a quick-to-make, tasty any-time treat.

🛒 Ingredient Notes


All ingredients needed to make lazy daisy cake.

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  • Milk – I recommend whole milk for the best results.
  • Light Brown Sugar – When measuring brown sugar, make sure to firmly pack it into the measuring cup to get an accurate measurement.
  • Evaporated Milk – Remember that canned evaporated milk and condensed milk are two very different things. You need evaporated for this recipe. I always recommend Carnation brand.
  • Shredded Coconut – Look for coconut in the baking aisle. My preferred brand is Baker’s Angel Flake.

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Rich and Buttery Lazy Daisy Cake


  1. Place an oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan or glass baking dish.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat together the butter and milk just until the butter has completely melted. Remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla. Set aside.
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Alternately fold the flour and warm milk mixture into the egg mixture until completely incorporated.
  1. Transfer the finished batter to the prepared baking dish or pan.
  2. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 30-35 minutes).
  1. While the cake is cooling, make the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, evaporated milk, and coconut.
  2. Spread the topping evenly over the baked layer.
  3. Turn on the oven broiler element; transfer the pan to the oven and broil until brown and bubbly.
  4. Remove from the oven. Let cool briefly. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
A slice of cake on a plate with a fork standing upright.

🔀 Recipe Variations


  • Not a huge fan of coconut? Try making the topping with nuts instead. Chopped pecans or walnuts would be delicious!
  • Vary this recipe to make a shortcut German chocolate cake by adding Dutch process cocoa powder and some melted chocolate chips to the batter.
  • Turn it into an on-the-go snack by baking the batter as cupcakes! Simply pour the batter into lined cupcake cups and bake for 15-20 minutes. Add the topping and broil briefly.

💡 Tips


  • If you’re in a hurry, you can use a boxed yellow cake mix instead of making the batter from scratch. It won’t taste exactly the same as the from-scratch recipe, but the homemade coconut topping will still add loads of flavor and texture.
  • Don’t forget to both grease and flour the pan or baking dish! The combination of these two anti-stick ingredients will ensure that your dessert slides out of the pan with ease.
A slice of cake suspended on a spatula.

🍚 How to Store and Reheat Leftovers


I recommend slicing leftovers into individual serving-sized pieces and wrapping them with plastic wrap before storing in an airtight container. They’ll stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

You may choose to serve the cake either warm or at room temperature. To reheat individual servings, simply pop them in the microwave and heat in 30-second increments until warmed through.

⏲️ How to Make in Advance


This dessert can easily be made entirely ahead of time! Bake and top as directed in the recipe, but wait to broil it until just before you’re ready to serve.

A slice of lazy daisy cake on a white plate.

❓ Questions About Lazy Daisy Cake


How did this recipe get its name?

The word “lazy” is a reference to the simplicity of the recipe. Compared to baking layer cakes with icing, this recipe was considered a lazy way to make a cake back in its day.

This cake is so fluffy and soft! What’s the secret?

One of the keys to a fluffy, moist cake is to use room-temperature ingredients. I recommend letting the ingredients sit out on the kitchen counter for 30-45 minutes before you plan to start baking. Another secret is to take care not to overmix the batter. An overmixed cake may be dense and chewy instead of light and tender. If you’re worried about overmixing, I recommend folding all the ingredients together by hand.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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A bite of cake suspended on a fork over a piece of cake on a plate.

Lazy Daisy Cake

Lazy Daisy Cake is a buttery vintage cake recipe with a unique broiled topping that can be made from start to finish in under one hour!
5 from 6 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 373kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar

Topping:

  • 9 tablespoons butter melted
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons evaporated milk (recommended: Carnation)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded coconut (recommended: Baker's Angel Flake)

Instructions

Make the Layer:

  • Place an oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan or glass baking dish.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Heat together the butter and milk just until the butter has completely melted. Remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla. Set aside.
  • Use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Alternately fold the flour and warm milk mixture into the egg mixture until completely incorporated.
  • Transfer the finished batter to the prepared baking dish or pan.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 30-35 minutes).

Make the Topping:

  • While the cake is cooling, make the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, evaporated milk, and coconut.
  • Spread the topping evenly over the baked layer.
  • Turn on the oven broiler element; transfer the pan to the oven and broil until brown and bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven. Let cool briefly. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Be sure to both grease and flour the pan or baking dish to ensure your dessert slides out of the pan with ease.
  • To make ahead, bake and top as directed in the recipe, but wait to broil it until just before you’re ready to serve.
  • To store, slice into individual serving-sized pieces and wrap with plastic wrap before storing in an airtight container. They’ll stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Serve either warm or at room temperature. To reheat individual servings, simply pop them in the microwave and heat in 30-second increments until warmed through.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 373kcal | Carbohydrates 56g | Protein 5g | Fat 15g | Saturated Fat 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat 1g | Monounsaturated Fat 3g | Trans Fat 0.4g | Cholesterol 73mg | Sodium 269mg | Potassium 126mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 43g | Vitamin A 407IU | Vitamin C 0.2mg | Calcium 90mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This was post was originally published on September 19, 2012. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

A serving of lazy daisy cake on a vintage plate.
5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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45 Comments

  1. This was my favorite cake growing up. I even requested it for birthdays (that was 75 years ago). My mom’s recipe called for cake flour and added chopped pecans to the topping. My mouth waters at the memory. Glad to see the cake revived, and can’t wait to try yours.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      We just love this old recipe! Pecans in the topping sounds delicious.

  2. Thank you for the recipe….When I worked as dietary aide {known then as tray girls} at a large hospital, they always had Lazy Daisy cake on Fridays..Being from a poor family, the supervisor always made sure I had my big piece of the fresh cake. Guess they were easy to make and served so may people, many of whom were Veterans..Loved my job and the memories and will NEVER FORGET THAT SCRUMPTIOUS CAKE!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I’m so glad I could bring back a happy memory for you! It really is a delicious cake :-)

  3. Thanks so much Lana for posting the Lazy Daisy Cake Recipe!! This was the first cake my grandmother helped me bake!! The memory and experience is one I hold dear to my heart!! I miss her and this recipe will be passed on to my daughter and grand-daughter. Thanks again!♥♥♥

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I’m so glad that you found the recipe! Hope you enjoy it.

  4. This cake sounds very similar to one my mom made when I was growing up. She just called it “Coffee Cake”. Since I can’t find her recipe anywhere, I’ll try making this one. Hopefully, it will be close to the one she made. It was delicious! I know that we won’t be able to eat the entire cake in 4 days, so do you think this cake would come out ok if I cut all of the ingredients in half, and baked the cake in a 9″x9″ cake pan? If so, how long should I bake it? Also, would the entire cake store longer in the fridge, or should I freeze half of it for another day? I too love old recipes, so please keep them coming!

  5. Beth Wils says:

    Just found your blog. See that you enjoy old recipes. Had one that I made regularly in the 50’s/60’s, but have lost in moving over the years. Maybe you or a friend could up-date my collection. It sounds similar to your Lazy Daisy Cake with a few exceptions. The original recipe was on the Ballard Obelisk Self Rising Flour box and it was called Daisy Cake. I do not remember the correct amounts, but it had sugar, shortening, eggs, flour, vanilla, and milk. Baked for 50 minutes in a tube pan. It was my husbands favorite eaten warm with no icing. If it was cold he would butter a slice and put under the broiler. I would love anyone’s help with this. Thanks BW

  6. Helene Powers says:

    My family can’t stand Coconut, what can I substitute ?
    Thank you

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Hmmm…I really don’t know of a substitute for coconut, Helene. You might try some kind of nut topping instead. A crumble like you’d use on a coffee cake would probably work (butter, flour, sugar, nuts). If you give that a try, please let me know how it works out!

      1. Helene Powers says:

        Thank you for your prompt reply

        Could you give me please the quantity of flour,butter, sugar ,nuts ??

        Thanks and I will let you know how it turns out
        Have a happy day

        1. Lana Stuart says:

          I’ve never tried this recipe with a crumble topping, Helene, so I don’t have measurements for you. It was just a suggestion of something you could try. Here’s a link to a pretty standard crumble recipe if you want to try it on your own: http://www.food.com/recipe/crumble-topping-142738

    2. Sometimes my mum would mix sugar with cholate chips, sprinkle on top and bake. If you did not mix the chips and sugar well, the chips would sink.

      1. Love that idea of adding chocolate chips on top! I’ll try that myself next time.

  7. 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.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      The butter pecan mix sounds delicious, Patricia!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      The oatmeal is an interesting idea, Joyce. I’m going to try that myself!

  11. Renee - Kudos Kitchen says:

    My mom used to make this while we were growing up. I’ve not thought of it since. What a nice remembrance. I’ll have to make this. Thanks for the recipe Lana.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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)

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised, Kathleen! It’s such an easy and tasty little cake. We just love it.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

    1. Cream doesn’t have the same consistency as evaporated milk so you couldn’t substitute it measure for measure.

  19. 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.

  20. Jen @ Savory Simple says:

    That topping sounds out of this world!

  21. I love cakes like this! I don’t think I’ve ever had one, but I’m definitely putting it on my to make list. I always like cake on a weeknight!! :)

  22. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says:

    I especially love the topping on this cake!

  23. 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

  24. Nancy@acommunaltable 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!!!

    1. 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.

  25. Mary | Deep South Dish says:

    You don’t see this one much anymore! It really is a goodie though.

    1. No, you sure don’t and that’s a shame. It’s a fantastic old recipe. I have seen your Lazy Daisy recipe, Mary. Our preparations are a little different, but same result – deliciousness!

      1. Mary | Deep South Dish says:

        Did you?! Well, I’m glad that we are reviving this one myself. It really is so easy – it should be more popular now than ever!

  26. Barbara | Creative Culinary 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!!!

    1. 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.

  27. icakepops says:

    You are so right – old fashioned recipes are simply wonderful. I love the first picture on your post! So pretty.

    1. Thank you! Photography is something I’m still working hard to improve.