“How do they come up with these names?” I asked myself as I was going through one of my mother’s recipe boxes. On a yellowed sheet of six by eight-inch letter paper, the kind you used to get in pads for a dime or fifteen cents at the five and dime, Mom had written “Mrs. Elwick’s Oatmeal Cake good.”
When I unfolded the sheet, inside was the recipe for “Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake” that my mother had written out, probably at Mrs. Elwick’s kitchen table. Neither my sisters nor I can remember a Mrs. Elwick, but Mom had a wide circle of friends and a lot of them were pretty good cooks.
Why should a cake made with oatmeal be called “lazy daisy,” I wondered. When I searched that fount of all wisdom for “lazy daisy,” Google returned over four million results in less than a third of a second. There are lazy daisy cafes, boutique restaurants, quilting companies, ceramics shops, gift stores, women’s clothing stores, spas, pet grooming services, and even a Lazy Daisy company offering “Antenatal and Baby Classes.” And who knows what else?
Besides oatmeal cake, I mean. There are dozens of pages with recipes for lazy daisy oatmeal cakes. It’s just the rhyme, I decided, but the fact that Mom had judged the cake good persuaded me to try it. As usual, she was right.
You have to wait a few minutes while the oatmeal is hydrating, but otherwise this is a quick and easy cake to make.
For the cake:
1 cup uncooked rolled oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
For the icing:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 T cream, half and half or whole milk
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup chopped nuts
Let two eggs and a half cup of butter come to room temperature. Heat some water to boiling. Put a cup of rolled oats into a small bowl and stir in a cup and one-quarter of boiling water. Cover the bowl and let it stand for twenty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease and flour a nine by thirteen-inch cake pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat in the eggs and vanilla. Blend the warm oats into the egg and sugar mixture and stir thoroughly.
Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together and add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Beat well and pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake on a center rack for forty-five to fifty-five minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick at forty-five minutes. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
Make the icing while the cake is in the oven. Cream the butter and sugar together in a small bowl. Stir in the cream, half and half or milk and blend in the nuts and coconut.
Leave the cake in the pan and spread the icing while the cake is still hot. Broil just until the icing starts to bubble and turn golden.
NOTES: Mom noted that you can serve this cake warm or cold. Her recipe called for “regular” oatmeal, which is now called “old-fashioned.” I have made this cake only with old-fashioned oatmeal, and it was delicious.
You don’t really have to broil the icing if the cake is good and hot when you spread it on.