Dear SOS: I’m looking for a recipe for crunch cake from now-closed Blum’s bakery in Beverly Hills. It was a birthday favorite.
Dear M.: The crunch cake has been a Times reader favorite for more than 35 years, almost as long as this column has been around. The praline brittle makes the cake, but if you don’t have the time for this step, you can substitute store-bought brittle for almost the same effect.
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).
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.)
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.
When ready to garnish cake, remove from pan and crush between sheets of wax paper with rolling pin to form coarse pieces.
Frost cake with whipped cream. Cover generously and thoroughly with brittle pieces. Refrigerate until serving.
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