Helen Kane

Since receiving this recipe more than 25 years ago, I have purchased Love To Bake Pastry Cookbook by Ernest Weil, the founder of Fantasia Confections in San Francisco, and the creator of the original Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake back in the 1940’s!

Blum’s was an institution in San Francisco – it was where mothers brought their daughters – dressed in their Mary Janes and gloves – and where blue-haired matrons held court over tea, and sumptuous desserts. I worked at the downtown Blum’s in 1966 – and it holds the distinction of being the very first job I was ever fired from… I got this recipe from Helen Kane who volunteered with me at Project Open Hand, April 1995.


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup egg yolks, (about 7 or 8 )
  • 1/4 cup water, cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Coffee Crackle:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup coffee, strong
  • 1/4 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda, sifted

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 Cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Angel food cake pan, oven at 350.

Combine sugar & flour. Make well. Add egg yolks, cold water, vanilla. Blend. In large bowl, mix egg whites, salt cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar. Beat until eggs peak. Pour batter slowly over egg whites, folding until blended. Bake 50-55 minutes. Invert pan and hang until cold.

Coffee Crackle:

5 inch deep sauce pan. Stir sugar, coffee and Karo syrup to combine. Put on heat, bring to a boil to hard crack stage. Remove from heat -right away add 3 tsp baking soda free from lumps, Stir fast until thick. Pour into a 9×9 ungreased metal pan. Let stand until cool. Rock out of pan and crush between waxed paper with rolling pin.

Split cake into 3 layers. Frost with whipped cream, cover with coffee crunch.