I celebrated my birthday the other day, and of course I always think of my dear mom on my birthday.
My mother's and my birthdays were about 2 weeks apart and this was my Mom's favorite birthday cake, so in her memory I made the cake for my celebration. It's as good as I remember.
Served at Blum's Restaurant & Bakery in San Francisco, Ernest Weil was the original baker who created the famous Crunch Cake while working at Blum's back in the mid 1940's. He left Blum's in 1948 to open his dream bakery, Fantasia Confections. We didn't actually begin buying the cake until the early 1960's.
It was a very lightly lemon flavored layer cake, covered with coffee flavored whipped cream and coated with the crisp and airy crunchy shards of coffee crunch candy.
After Blum's closed their Stanford Shopping Center location in Palo Alto, CA. we were able to purchase the cake from the old Stickney's restaurants in town.
Some years I would also make it for mom, as it's really not difficult at all.
I have always taken a few liberties with the original cake, and use an angel food cake base (which I actually prefer for this recipe, as it's lighter and not so sweet.)
I also make the melt in your mouth candy shards quite a bit larger than the original.
If you would like to make it you can find the original cake recipe online, but what makes this cake is the coffee whipped cream frosting and the coffee crunch topping:
The cake of your choice.
Coffee Crunch Topping
If made ahead, store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon baking soda, sifted
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Generously oil a large baking sheet. Sift the baking soda onto a small sheet of wax paper, set nearby. Combine the coffee, sugar and corn syrup in a deep, heavy 4-quart saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. When the mixture is clear and it begins to boil, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the mixture reaches 290 degrees on candy thermometer. Toward the end of cooking, around 270 to 280 degrees, stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from scorching and becoming too foamy.
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. The mixture will foam up vigorously. While mixture is still foaming, pour it out onto the oiled baking sheet. Do not spread, just let it cool undisturbed for about 1 hour.
Break or crush into very small pieces by placing between 2 sheets of wax paper and tapping or rolling with rolling pin. Store in airtight container.
Coffee Whipped Cream Frosting
1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
3 Tablespoons superfine sugar
1/4 cup very strong brewed coffee, cooled
Whip cream until fuffy, add sugar and coffee and continue beating until medium soft peaks form.
To assemble the cake (best done just a short time before serving):
Frost cake generously with the whipped cream, place the coffee crunch pieces on top and sides of cake. If using a layer cake, place whipped cream between layers, along with some smaller coffee crunch pieces.
Refrigerate until serving time.