Lazy Daisy Cupcakes

In an effort to clear space and downsize, I’ve been digging through my old recipes and out of the dusty files I’ve uncovered cakes like “Nutmeg Feather Cake”, “Red Velvet Cake” also known as “Waldorf Astoria Cake” that includes a whole bottle of red food coloring, “Hill Billy Cake”, and “Crumb Cake.”

The simplest of all is “Lazy Daisy Cake” that dates back to the 1930s, ‘way before the birth of the cake mix, which actually came into being after WWII when people were duped into thinking that to bake a cake from scratch was much too difficult and time consuming for the ordinary person to attempt. This idea became even more ridiculous when books were written with elaborate ways to “doctor up” the cake mix. But, no matter what you add, that “cake mix” taste is still there.  And, these creative recipes aren’t really any simpler by the time you hunt down and handle all the extra ingredients.

My mom taught me how to make “halapa kaaki” the Finnish name for “cheap cake.” That was the one  I learned as a 5 year old and baked in the oven of the wood stove. Lazy Daisy Cake uses essentially the same ingredients but the method is a little different and is somewhat like the old-fashioned hot milk cake. This is one of my favorites because the cake is simple and I love the warm and gooey caramel topping that is baked right into the cake.

Cupcakes are poplar today, so I transformed the classic Lazy Daisy Cake into cupcake form and added pecans to the topping just because I love them. You could, of course, substitute walnuts, or eliminate the nuts entirely.


1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

The Caramel Topping

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons light cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Fit 12 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners and coat with nonstick spray.
2. In a saucepan combine the milk and 2 tablespoons butter and place over medium heat.
3. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, beat or beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until very thick and lemon colored.  With mixer at low speed, blend in the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. When the milk/butter mixture is scalding, mix it into the batter until evenly blended.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the lined muffin cups. Bake for 19 minutes or until the center of the cupcakes bounce back when touched. They will not be very browned, and that’s okay.
6. Remove cupcakes from the oven and preheat the broiler.
7. Blend the topping ingredients in the saucepan used for the milk and butter. Stir and heat until well mixed.  Spoon the hot topping over the hot baked cupcakes, dividing the mixture equally. The mixture will be rounded a little. Broil about 4 inches from the heat until the frosting is bubbly and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Watch it!”

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Beatrice Ojakangas

Food writer Beatrice Ojakangas grew up as the oldest of ten on a farm in Floodwood, Minnesota and learned to cook and bake on a woodstove. Author of 31 cookbooks, Beatrice has a degree in home economics, has been inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota, has written for magazines such as Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Woman's Day, and appeared on the television shows of both Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Her specialties include baking, Finnish and Scandinavian cooking, and writing well-tested, simple recipes that use wholesome ingredients. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

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