Lazy Daisy Coconut Oatmeal Cake Recipe

An oatmeal cookie in cake form. Yvonne Ruperti

If you're looking for a delicious and easy cake that tastes like an oatmeal cookie and practically frosts itself, this one is for you. Called a "Lazy Daisy Cake", this vintage cake makes things easy by cooking the frosting on top of the cake. Just before the cake is pulled from the oven, a sweet coconut, brown sugar, butter, and nut topping is sprinkled on top and then quickly broiled until it's melty, sticky, crunchy, and golden. That's it, you've frosted your cake. If this is what it means to be a lazy baker, I'm all for it.

Most recipes for Lazy Daisy Cake have your basic vanilla cake on the bottom, but I decided to go for the oatmeal variation. Moistened rolled oats add nutty flavor and chewy texture to the tender crumb.

To keep it all in one bowl, soften the oats in boiling water (and some milk for extra richness) in a large bowl for about 20 minutes, then just stir in the rest of the ingredients. While the cake is baking, use the same unwashed bowl to toss the ingredients for the topping. This unabashedly moist and comforting sweet baked treat really hits the spot, and won't make you work hard to get it.

Why this recipe works:

  • Moistened rolled oats add texture and nutty flavor.
  • Whisking all of the ingredients results in an open, tender, crumb.
  • Under the broiler, the buttery brown sugar and coconut topping melts and sets right on top of the cake.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 60 mins
Makes: 1 square pan

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  • For Cake:
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1 3/4 cup (12 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For Topping:
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped


  1. Combine oats, boiling water, and milk; let sit 20 minutes. Adjust oven rack to upper and lower middle position and preheat to 350°F. Grease 9- by 9-inch pan.

  2. Add salt, butter, sugar, and vanilla to oat mixture and stir to combine. Stir in eggs and coconut. Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon to bowl, then stir until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake on middle rack until just set, about 30 minutes.

  3. While cake is baking, mix topping in same unwashed bowl: toss butter, brown sugar, milk, coconut, and nuts to form moist crumbs.

  4. As soon as cake is baked, remove from oven and spread topping over the top. Return pan to oven and increase heat to broil. Briefly heat until topping melts and coconut is lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool.

Special equipment

9- inch square pan