Over the years, I’ve become an accomplished baker.
Surprisingly, most of my success in the kitchen did not result from the accumulation of knowledge and skills. Instead, many of my improvements were directly related to letting go of stubborn notions about not following directions. Baking is a science, and I used too many substitutions and too many shortcuts.
This cake is a good example. In the past, I might substitute unbleached all-purpose flour for cake flour. And sifting? Isn’t that a thing of the past? . . . “Why don’t my cakes turn out as light and fluffy as the boxed mixes at the supermarket?”
I’m over those false notions now. I know that cake flour makes a lighter crumb and that sifted flour doesn’t measure the same as the un-sifted version.
So I purchased a cheap flour sifter and the proper ingredients to try this light, delicious, and simple cake. I don’t know the exact dating of this old recipe. I adapted it from a 1940 antique cookbook, but it could go back farther still.
Lazy Daisy Cake:
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sifted cake flour
½ teaspoon salt (or less to taste)
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare one cake pan by covering the bottom and inner sides with grease or oil, and then sprinkling lightly with flour. Turn the pan upside-down over a paper towel to remove excess flour.
In a microwave-safe dish, add the milk and butter; heat until melted. Cool to lukewarm.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking powder.
In another bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. This incorporates air that lightens the crumb. Mix in vanilla. Add sugar gradually.
To the egg/sugar mixture, add dry ingredients and milk alternately until well blended but do not overmix as it can toughen the cake texture.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake until the cake is lightly brown (about 30 minutes). Another sign of doneness is that the sides pull away from the pan. The center of the cake should spring back up like a sponge when lightly pressed with fingertips.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes while preparing the frosting.
Frosting: Combine the butter and brown sugar until the texture is consistent. Blend in remaining ingredients.
Spread frosting over cake, being careful not to crush the soft sponge. Use two forks to separate and spread the stuff without pressing down.
Place under broiler until coconut is lightly browned. Cool.
This cake can stay in the pan until serving. I removed it for the purpose of taking pictures.
I store the leftovers in the refrigerator to be safe. However, cakes turn stale as soon as they cool down. To serve, cut a slice and carefully warm a few seconds in the microwave until the cake is warm BUT NOT HOT. This un-stales the crumb.