Ernest Weil

A Famous Cake That Originated in San Francisco
Yield: One 9″ cake, serves 10 to 12
Well worth the 3 hours it takes to complete.

Advance Preparation:

Equipment and Utensils:
Serving spoon, hand wire whip, pastry brush, plastic spatula, offset metal spatula, two 9″ corrugated boards, plastic wrap, two bowls.

First bake the two 9″ butter sponge layers. Split each layer horizontally so you have four layers. When cool, separate each layer with foil and place in the refrigerator or freezer. While the layers are baking, prepare for cooking the crunch, but do not start cooking the crunch until the layers are out of the oven. (You may cook the crunch the day before). As soon as you have the layers and coffee crunch ready to go, you can prepare the coffee whipped cream.

Place in a bowl, 6 cups of coffee whipped cream, and add 2 cups of coffee crunch, and set aside. Place in a different bowl, 3 cups of coffee whipped cream and set aside.

To Assemble the Cake:
Place one split layer, bottom side down on a corrugated board and brush lightly with simple syrup. Then cover generously with the coffee crunch whipped cream. Cover with a cake layer.

Using a corrugated board, press down to level. Repeat the procedure with the other two layers. (You now have a four-layer cake). If you have any coffee crunch whipped cream left, use it to cover the top and sides. Complete icing the cake with the other 3 cups of coffee whipped cream without the crunch.

If you serve the cake the same day, cover generously with coffee crunch and keep refrigerated until serving time.

If you prepare the cake 2 to 3 days ahead of time, it is better not to cover the cake with crunch. (The crunch melts very fast.) Place the cake in the freezer, and when frozen, wrap well in plastic wrap. 4 to 8 hours prior to serving the cake, remove from the freezer, and remove the plastic wrap. Place the cake in the refrigerator. Apply the coffee crunch shortly before serving the cake.
The cake will keep refrigerated for 1 to 2 days, but the crunch will start to melt. You can freeze the cake, preferably without the crunch, for 1 to 2 months and apply the crunch before serving.

Coffee Crunch (For Filling and Topping)

Yield: For 1 – 9″ cake
(Caution: Syrup is extremely hot, be careful not to burn yourself!)

Equipment and Utensils:
A pot at least 6″ deep and 8″ wide, plastic bag, measuring cup filled with hot water to safeguard the thermometer, small spoon, two pot holders, small pot, plastic spatula able to be used with 300° syrup, serving spoon, four 12″ x 16″ trays, hammer, thermometer.
Advance Preparation:
Four 12″ x 16″ baking trays, place 1 hour in the freezer to get cold. Upon removal, cover the top tray only with nonstick foil, the nonstick side facing up.


  • 1 TBSP. baking soda
  • 1 TBSP. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 TBSP. instant coffee crystals
  • 1 TBSP. hot water
  • 1 TBSP. vanilla

Sift baking soda and the confectioners’ sugar in a cup, two times, and then set aside.
In a small pot dissolve the coffee with 1 TBSP. hot water and vanilla and set aside.

  • 2 cups granulated sugar (14.5 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup com syrup

Place the sugar, water, and com syrup in a large pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot for 5 minutes and let it boil. Uncover the pot and insert thermometer.

Take trays out of the freezer and place on the table. When the syrup reaches 280° (this could happen when you first uncover the pot), remove a serving spoon full of syrup and stir it into the small pot of dissolved instant coffee. In the meantime, the syrup in the large pot will reach 310° (the hard crack stage). Move immediately off the stove and place the pot on a tray resting on the table.

Immediately stir the contents of the small pot into the large pot and sprinkle the mixture of baking soda and confectioners’ sugar on top of the syrup, stirring vigorously. This will allow the syrup to foam up. Make sure the baking soda is stirred in well.
As the syrup foams up, it should turn from dark brown to a dark golden color. Pour the foam on the cold foil covered tray with the cold extra trays underneath. To get the foam syrup out of the pot, use a spatula that can stand 300° and scrape the pot clean.

As the syrup gets cold, it will harden and form a sheet. After 15 minutes you can turn the sheet over. (It might take 1 hour to completely harden, before you can break it into small pieces.) Place the crunch in a plastic bag and hammer it into small pieces. Place the crunch into an airtight container until you are ready to use. Keep at room temperature. Can be kept 1 month.

Butter Sponge Layers Yield: 2 – 9″ layers

Advance Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray the sides of two 9″ spring forms with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms of each with parchment paper or nonstick foil cut round to fit the form.

Upright or hand held electric mixer, wire whip, small bowl, nonstick cooking spray, medium size pot for water bath, screen, sieve, 9″ corrugated cake circle, two 9″ spring forms, offset metal spatula, plastic spatula.


  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour (6.6 oz.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cube unsalted butter, melted (3 oz.)
  • 2 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • I TBSP. lemon zest
  • 6 large eggs (10 oz.)
  • 3 large egg yolks (2 oz.)
  • 1/1/3 cup granulated sugar

Sift all the dry ingredients except the sugar into a small bowl and set aside.

Next heat the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then add the lemon zest and vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium size pot heat up enough water so that the mixing bowl can be placed on top and not touch the water. Place the eggs, yolks, and sugar in the bowl of the electric mixer and heat over medium heat. Whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch, 110°. Remove the bowl and set into the electric mixer, fitted with a wire whip.

Whip on #6 for approx. 3 minutes. Do not whip on high. (When the wire whip is lifted out of the batter, the batter should flow like a ribbon.) Lift the bowl out of the mixer and, in three increments, gently fold in the dry ingredients, alternating with the melted butter, until thoroughly incorporated. Pick up the batter from the bottom of the bowl, so the butter does not settle on the bottom.

Baking The Cake:
Divide the batter evenly into the two spring forms and place directly on the screen in the center of the oven. Bake the layers for 20 minutes at 325°.

Bake until the top of the cake springs back when gently touched and the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven. With a small knife, gently run around the sides of the pan to release the cake. Invert the cake out of the pan onto a corrugated cake circle and remove paper or foil, then ,invert it right-side up onto another corrugated cake circle. If you use the layers at a later date, they will keep well wrapped up to 2 days refrigerated, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Simple Syrup


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

In a small pot stir the water and sugar and bring to a boil and let it boil for approx. 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep 2 to 3 weeks. Generally it will take ½ cup of syrup and liqueur, if added, for a specific recipe.

Coffee Whipped Cream yields: 9 cups of whipped cream


  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar (3 oz.)
  • ¼ cup instant vanilla pudding powder (2 ½ oz.)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP. instant coffee crystals dissolved in
  • 2 TBSP. hot water (to suit your taste)
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream (2 pints or 32 oz.)
  • 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Mix confectioners’ sugar and instant vanilla pudding powder and sift. Set aside.

Pour the cream, vanilla extract, and dissolved instant coffee into the bowl of the electric mixer. With the wire whisk attachment, on medium speed #4, whip until the cream starts to thicken, approx. 4 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla pudding powder into the cream and mix on medium high speed until the cream reaches a firm peak. Refrigerate until ready to use.