From the Culinary SOS archive: Blum’s coffee crunch cake

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Carol sent me an e-mail request over the weekend:

‘I decided to e-mail you for a very favorite memory and recipe for, of all things, Blum’s Coffee Crunch cake. Oh, G-d, EVERYONE misses Blum’s. I can’t even remember how many years ago Blum’s closed. ... I want to fool around and experiment making it ... unless someone is doing it here in town.’

Blum’s may be gone, but this legendary cake lives on in our recipe archive -- the bakery’s popular crunch cake has run no fewer than five times in our Culinary SOS column over the years.


The recipe follows the jump. Of course, if you’re not in the mood to make it yourself, no worries. Valerie Gordon of Los Angeles-based Valerie Confections re-created this cake as part of a story on unique wedding cakes in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and now offers a version to order through her permanent collection of cakes.

Enjoy, Carol!

Click here for more Culinary SOS recipes. If you have a favorite restaurant recipe you’d like to request, feel free to e-mail me at I’ll do my best to track it down.

-- Noelle Carter

Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake Active work and total preparation time: 30 minutes plus 1 hour cooling

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 prepared (store-bought or homemade) angel-food cake

2 cups whipping cream, whipped

1. Combine sugar, coffee and corn syrup in medium saucepan at least 5 inches deep. Bring mixture to boil and cook until it reaches 310 degrees on a candy thermometer or reaches the hard-crack stage (when a small amount dropped into cold water breaks with a brittle snap).

2. Press baking soda through sieve to remove lumps. Remove syrup from heat. Immediately add soda and stir vigorously just until mixture thickens and pulls away from sides of pan. (Mixture foams rapidly when soda is added. Do not destroy foam by beating excessively.)

3. Immediately pour foamy mass, being careful to avoid spatters, into ungreased 9-inch square metal pan. (Do not spread or stir). Let stand without moving until cool, 1 hour.

4. When ready to garnish cake, remove from pan and crush between sheets of wax paper with rolling pin to form coarse pieces.

5. Frost cake with whipped cream. Cover generously and thoroughly with brittle pieces. Refrigerate until serving.

Each of 12 servings: 351 calories; 79 mg sodium; 55 mg cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 53 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0 fiber.