I wanted to bake a cake today but I wasn't really wanting anything too fancy, just a good old fashioned cake. I didn't want a large cake either. There are only two of us, and there is one of us who really shouldn't be eating cake, so a smaller cake was what was needed. I started looking through my various baking books and then I remembered this Lazy Daisy Cake recipe that my Aunt Freda gave to me years and years ago! I have it in my Big Blue Binder, written out in her very own hand-writing. It's basically only ingredients, size of pan and oven temp/timing. That's the way old cooks passed their recipes on. They took it for granted that anyone who they passed them to would know what they were doing when it came to cooking or baking.
(Aunt Freda age 14)
Freda was my mother's youngest sister. I loved her very much. She was my favourite Aunt. We were very close and very much alike in a great many ways. Sadly we lost her to lung cancer about 11 years or so ago. She was so beloved by so many people that they had to open up a second building and relay her funeral service to it by video as so many people had turned up to pay their respects. She was just a special person, a person with a huge heart and broad shoulders. You could talk to her about anything and many did. You knew it was not going to go any further. She was a great listener and a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend . . . and a fabulous cook.
I love recipes like this . . . family recipes with a history. I love them because every time I make one of them, I have the opportunity to think special thoughts about my dear ones, and to remember happy times spent together. Every time I bake this cake, it is like getting a nice warm hug from my Aunt Freda. I can almost feel her looking down at me with approval . . .
Its just a simple cake, very much like my mother's Hot Milk Cake . . . a plain vanilla sponge cake, baked in a square pan . . . nothing fancy or out of the ordinary . . .
The special touch is the broiled coconut topping. You melt brown sugar, butter, milk and coconut together in a saucepan while the cake is baking . . . do take care not to let the mixture boil. You just want the ingredients melted together.
This almost caramel-like mixture then gets spread onto the warm baked cake, which you then pop under a hot grill where it turns into a coconut-candy-type of coating. It is quite simply scrumptious! You do need to watch it really carefully when it is under the grill because it can turn and scorch/burn in a flash, so don't ever be tempted to walk away and leave it. This process really only takes a few minutes, so it's not much of a problem to stand by and watch while you do it.
I like to give it a little turn every 30 seconds or so. That way the coconut topping grills fairly evenly . . . oh but it is some good. All caramelised . . . kind of like a creme bruleed cake, except there is no cream involved, just one plain, moist, and very delicious cake.
This went down a real treat, served still slightly warm, with a glass of cold milk. It would be equally at home with a nice hot cuppa or with some fresh fruit or berries on the side, or even a dollop of whipped cream. My heart, as I ate my very tiny piece (I promise!) was filled with love for my Aunt Freda with every mouthful. Family recipes . . . they're the best!
*Lazy Daisy Cake*Makes one 9-inch square cake
Why not spend the afternoon with my Aunt Freda yourself and bake this tasty cake??? You can tell her I sent you. I am sure she would be well pleased and give you a very warm welcome!! Bon Appetit!