Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake

Tim Dineen

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

Brownies In A Jar

Tim Dineen

  • 2 wide mouth canning jars
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, or margarine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Sterilize, two 1 pint straight-sided wide-mouth canning jars lids and rings by boiling for 10 minutes (keep the lids and rings in the hot water until ready to use) and set aside. In a small bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside. In a medium saucepan combine butter or margarine, water and cocoa powder; heat and stir until butter or margarine is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat; stir in flour mixture. Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla; beat by hand until smooth. Stir in nuts. Pour mixture into the prepared canning jars; place jars onto a cookie sheet.

Preheat oven to 325-dcgrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a pick inserted deep into each cake comes out clean. Remove cakes from the oven, one at a time. Place a lid then a ring onto the jars and screw down tightly. Place jars onto counter to cool. You’ll hear a “plinking” sound. If you miss the sound, wait until the cakes are cool and press on the lids, they shouldn’t move at all, that means they’ve sealed. They should last up to a year–l don’t know, they’ve never lasted that long around here!

If you’d like to decorate them, place a wad of cotton in the center of each lid, then place a piece of decorative cloth, about 3-inches larger in circumference than the lid, (cut with pinking shears) on top of the cotton. Screw the ring back on (by this time the rings can be removed as the lids should be sealed). Use your imagination when decorating — a hot glue gun works wonders (dried flowers, ribbon, etc). These make WONDERFUL Christmas gifts!

Aunt Ruth's Brownies

Colleen Gentleman Minturn

  • 1 stick oleo or butter
  • 3 heaping tbsp cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 scant cup flour
  • ½ cup nuts (or raisins or chocolate chips)

(I always double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan.)

Melt oleo in saucepan – stir in cocoa, then sugar, vanilla & eggs. Add flour and nuts and put in greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350°F about 15 minutes or so. Don’t overbake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or ice with chocolate frosting.


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp oleo
  • brewed coffee to moisten

(Almost) Better Than Sex Cake

Kate Kelly Hodsdon

This dessert is best served at church potluck dinners with many priests and religious present. My friend, Sr. Joan persistently asks, “Is it? Is it?”

  • 1 pkg. Chocolate butter cake or deep chocolate cake mix
  • ½ C toasted, chopped pecans
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 4oz pkg. Instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 c sour cream
  • ½ c oil
  • ½ c water or part coffee
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • Dark Chocolate Glaze

Grease well and flour a tube, bundt or 13x9x1½” pan. Coat nuts and chips with 1 T cake mix and set aside.

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil, water and vanilla and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Turn into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until cake tests done with cake tester. Cool for 15 minutes and, if tube or bundt pan is used, turn onto a rack. Cake should be cool before glazing.

Dark Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 lb. Semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C water
  • 1 t vanilla

Combine chips and water in top of double boiler over simmering water. Stir until smooth, shiny and well blended. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature or chill until slightly thickened. Pour over cake or apply with spatula.

Grandma's Brownies

Debbie Barnett Dineen

  • 3/4 c butter or margarine (1 1/2 cubes)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 sq unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c walnuts
  • 2 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients. Bake 350 deg for 25-30 min or until that old inserted toothpick comes out clean.

I always think of my Grandma when I make these brownies. It’s the recipe we grew up on – they are cake-like, not fudgey.

Very good to double – then put in a 13×9 pan and slightly increase the baking time.

Also very good with fresh raspberries (placed in what would be each square after it is baked.) Put the batter in the pan, then place one raspberry “per square”, then bake.