Sunday, May 2, 2010
What is so Lazy about Lazy Daisy Cake?
This weekend I was working away at cleaning out the pantry, tackling it one shelf at a time. The baking shelf had all sorts of leftover bits of ingredients tucked away in various wee bags. Expired would be an understatement. Into the green bin with those remnants. However, I did come across about 2 cups of sweetened, shredded coconut purchased in bulk that looked like it hadn't moved to its after life. A memory jog guessed that it could have been leftover supplies from Christmas baking. I tasted it and felt no revolt.
I protested at the idea of packing it back into the pantry on a now cleaner shelf. I just had to 'move it along'. Perhaps I was influenced by the weather of the day. Just an overcast, quiet, lazy Saturday. Somewhere in the depths of my memory banks came my mother's voice, "Lazy Daisy Cake". It was a baking treat that she made often when I was growing up to be served for our Sunday 'cake time' mid afternoon. The coffee table would be adorned with a beautiful handmade tablecloth. Out came the china cups for tea and coffee and the table groaned with her beautiful display of cakes and pastries. There were seven of us in total and sometimes company too. So it seemed important mom that there was a tasty selection to choose from. As young ones we might try tea with our cake. A lot of milk and not much tea. And of course a decent teaspoon of sugar. The baking was eaten on a nice plate, often china, and we were to use an appropriate fork or spoon.
Having copied the recipe out years ago, I set out on this Saturday to make Lazy Daisy Cake for Sunday 'cake time'. A tradition that has not been held in my 'now' family. Perhaps unfortunate. I decided to double the topping in the recipe to use up all the coconut. What a decadent decision!
My mother was born in Denmark and there doesn't seem to be anything Danish about this cake. She did spend time in the United States in her early 20's and finally immigrated to Canada in her late 20's. I dug up her recipe book, which I inherited, and found the recipe written out early on.
As you can see from the fading and stains, it is an old recipe that was made often. I am only guessing that she collected it when she first worked in the United States. So that puts this handwriting at some 60 years of age.
I was curious to know if others would know of Lazy Daisy Cake, its history and how it came to get its name and so I headed straight to Google University. I found such quotes and phrases as, "old-fashion cake with chewy coconut and caramel like topping", "a staple in my Grandmother's house", "Mama's 'never fail' recipe", "homestyle cooking", "vintage", "around since the 30's". I didn't feel any wiser about understanding the history of this cake but it was clear that many others had it in their genealogy as well. It had made such publications as The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, 1990 and a similar recipe has been found in Wooden Spoon Baking Book and America's Best Lost Recipes.
So for those of you who had Lazy Daisy Cake in your past, enjoy your nibble down memory lane.
LAZY DAISY CAKE
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons cream
1 cup coconut
Cake: Whip eggs and sugar together well until the batter is a pale yellow. Add vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients. Heat milk and butter until butter is melted. Fold flour into batter. Pour milk into batter and beat well. Bake in greased 9" x 13" pan for 45 minutes at 350ºF.
Topping: Heat butter, brown sugar and cream in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add coconut. Spread on top of baked cake. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown.