Lazy Daisy Cake, sometimes also spelled Lazy-Dazy Cake, was a popular recipe in the 1930s. Just by searching in one collection of community cookbooks, I found seven nearly identical versions of the same recipe!
The original recipe most likely came from something widely shared, such as a popular cookbook or advertising pamphlet, although so far I have not been able to discover the original source. In her book American Cake, Anne Byrn mentions that Lazy Daisy Cake appeared both in newspaper columns of the 1920s and in Snowdrift shortening ads. I did find one recipe titled Lazy Daisy Cake in For Making Good Things to Eat, a recipe book published to promote Snowdrift shortening in 1930, but the recipe was for a completely different cake without the distinctive coconut topping. The search for the original recipe continues; all I know is that it must be a good recipe if this many people went on to share it.
Although the seven recipes I found are nearly identical, each woman gave personalized touches to her recipe, either by adjusting the amounts or by rewording the instructions. My favorite addition is one woman’s note that “this makes a very thin batter but is correct” – her observation is true and helped keep me from second-guessing myself when my batter turned out runny. I chose to make the variation given by Mrs. J. Warren Stephens in The New Congregational Cook Book. Mrs. Stephens keeps the base recipe the same, but doubles the amount of the topping – definitely my style of baking.
Lazy Daisy Cake
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour (sift before measuring)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 10 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp cream
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- Beat 2 eggs well, then add sugar and beat again. Add vanilla.
- Sift together dry ingredients, add to egg and sugar and mix well.
- Heat the milk and butter together until boiling, then add to other ingredients and mix.
- Pour into a greased 9×9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
- While cake is baking, heat together butter, sugar, and cream until butter is melted. Stir in the coconut.
- Spread the icing on top of the warm cake. Brown in the broiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Let cool, then serve.
Doubling the topping is definitely the right choice for this recipe. The toasted coconut and caramelized brown sugar combination is delicious, especially when served slightly warm. My boyfriend commented that the topping tasted like popcorn; something about the smell at least did remind me of kettle corn, in a very good way.
Although the topping is the main feature of this cake, the cake itself deserves an honorable mention too. The batter is easy to mix and results in a beautifully moist and fluffy cake. The cake and topping go together perfectly, and are both very simple to make. I can see why this recipe became so popular – it’s definitely a perfect cake for lazy days.
Arlington W.C.T.U. (1935). Arlington W.C.T.U. cook book. (n.p.) https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-6F&page=63
Arts and Crafts Department [San Diego Woman’s Club]. (1936). Choice recipes of members of San Diego Woman’s Club. (n.p.) https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-F9&page=13
Byrn, A. (2016). American cake. New York: Rodale Books.
Council of Jewish Women [Portland Section]. (1932). The neighborhood cook book. Portland, Oregon: Bushong & Co. https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-A5&page=324
For making good things to eat. (1930). New Orleans, Louisiana: The Wesson Oil & Snowdrift People. https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-B37&page=15
Trinity Circle. (1938). Trinity Circle cookbook. Tucson, Arizona: El Tusconense Ptg. Co.https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-B7&page=30
White, C.M. (1937). St. Anne’s Parish recipe book. Annapolis, Maryland: The Capital-Gazette Press. https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-117&page=29
Woman’s Association of the Congregational Church. (1935). The new congregational cook book. La Grange, Illinois: Citizen Publishing Co. https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-EE&page=150
The Woman’s Organization of the C. and P. Church. (1937). The Kinsman cook book. Kinsman, Ohio: (n.p.). https://whatamericaate.org/full.record.php?kid=79-2C8-11C&page=71