Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake ~ in Memory of Mom


Happy Birthday to me!

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.


  1. What a beautiful tribute, you have me tearing up missing my own Mom right now. The cake looks so yummy and the best part is, it looks like one that even I can make!!

  2. my grandmother lived across the street from blums at stanford, i remember this well after seeing your post! memory lane indeed~

  3. My mom would love this! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  4. It looks like it was made in a bakery! I think I would love this cake!

  5. Happy Birthday! What a wonderful cake with many sweet memories connected to it!

  6. Happy Birthday! The cake looks great. Using angle food cake seems like a good choice because the light and airy cake contrasts well against crunch of the toppings.

  7. Hi Mari! I am loving your blog so much - your pictures, your recipes, your writing, your Thanksgiving table, and now this incredible cake! Thank you and a belated Happy Birthday!


  8. What a unique cake! Neat flavor combo with the lemon and coffee. And what a neat presentation. My mother and I have birthdays only 2 days apart, so they are intertwined in my memory as well. I know one day when it's just me celebrating birthdays it will be a bittersweet time. The interesting thing is that my mom's mom had a birthday just one day before hers! I always used to wonder what happend 9 months before lol! I finally deduced that it was the end of lent!!! No big mystery what my Dad, grandfather and great-grandfather must have given up during Lent in those years......

  9. What a sweet tribute to her, Mary. The cake looks delicious. The crunchy topping reminds me of fairy food.

  10. Happy belated birthday, sugar!!!

  11. Happy Belated Birthday Mary!
    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!
    I loved Fantasia!
    L :*

  12. A beautiful cake and lovely tribute to your mom. A visit to Blum's in San Francisco was always a treat. Very sweet memories. And a belated happy birthday to you Mari.

  13. Wow, what a beautiful and unusual cake! How neat to revive this memory for so many of your readers! Happy belated Birthday Mari and wishing you sweet memories of your Mother.

  14. I love it! I saw it and have to make it! Too pretty..

    Love mom talk:)I truly do.

  15. This was our official family birthday cake. I loved going with my mom to Stanford (with a little shopping mixed in and perhaps a hot fudge sundae) to buy this cake and carrying out the pink box. I am putting together a family recipe book for Christmas and this recipe - both the easy and original versions - is included.

  16. Thank you everybody for taking the time to comment! :)

    Peggy, That's wonderful! I know your family and friends will LOVE and cherish your cookbook.

    How fun that you have similar memories of Blum's and Stanford Shopping center! :)

  17. I just made this in memory of my Grandpa who used to live in SF on Jackson Street, because Blum's was his favorite for Christmas Eve. This year when my mom and dad came over this was a present to them because they both love it too!

  18. AbbyB, How SWEET that you made it in memory of your Grandpa. And thank you so much for letting me know. ((hugs)) ~m


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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