I am beyond excited to finally be sharing this recipe. The reason I haven’t before now is because slices never last long enough to photograph. Hands down, this is my favourite snacking cake. It’s the one that my Nana made all the time when I was growing up, and now it’s the one that I whip up for the kids when we need something quick for dessert. Most recipes that you see for this are for an 8″ square pan, but that just wasn’t enough for us. I’ve adapted it a bit to make a 9 x 13, with a slightly more generous amount of broiled frosting, and I always bake it in a greased glass dish.
History lesson: It’s most likely a 1940’s era cake, so it’s stood the test of time, and more than likely was something you had when you were growing up (if you were lucky). Some people say it’s a depression era cake, but I kinda doubt that because of the sugar and butter used, both of which were expensive and hard to come by. I’m going with post-war as my guess.
I know that the warmed milk makes you think that it takes more effort than a regular cake, but it really doesn’t. The milk mixture warms while you’re getting the dry ingredients out and mixed together (and if you wanted to, you could do this in a glass measuring cup in the microwave). The real lazy part comes in with the frosting – it’s a combination of brown sugar, butter, and coconut that you pour over the cake straight from the oven and then broil until it’s bubbly and golden brown.
That broiled frosting – it owns me. When I’m stressed out, upset, having a rough week, that frosting brings me back to my happy place and keeps me there the entire time I’m eating it.
Ok, enough with the jabbering. If you ever had this as a kid, you know what you’re in for. If you haven’t had it before, well, lucky you that you get to have it now. Enjoy!!!
- ¾ cup milk
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1½ cups flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup butter, melted (12 tbsp, 1½ sticks)
- 1¼ cups brown sugar
- 1¼ cups sweetened, shredded coconut
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position. Grease a 9" x 13" cake pan (I love using glass).
- Put the milk, butter, and vanilla in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Heat just until the butter melts, then keep warm until needed.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Put the sugar and eggs in a large bowl, and beat until it's a thick, pale yellow, 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mix to the sugar mixture, and mix on low until combined. Add half of the warm milk and mix. Repeat with half of the remaining flour, then the remaining milk, then the last of the flour mixture.
- Pour into your prepared pan, and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, mix together the brown sugar, coconut, and melted butter for the frosting.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour on the frosting mixture, using a spatula to evenly cover the top of the cake.
- Set the oven to broil, and return the cake to it. Watch carefully. Let the icing broil until very bubbly and a medium golden brown, but not burnt looking. This should take about 3 minutes, but ovens vary so don't stop watching.