Apparently my blog is 4 years old! As I've done in the past, I want to share recipes for my favorite cakes for my blog's belated birthday. Today, I'll be sharing a new favorite of mine: the Coffee Crunch Cake. This summer, I was back home in California doing research in SF, a city near and dear to my heart. Throughout the summer, I spent my time after work and on the weekends exploring the city: the bakeries (duh!), restaurants, ice cream shops, food trucks, bars, art museums, shopping, etc.
I discovered a tiny bakery in Japantown that's known for Coffee Crunch Cake, something I never heard of before, but with all the good review on Yelp, I decided to take a risk and get it. Well, it was delicious! Naturally, I decided that I needed to make one at home from scratch. By the way, just fyi, back in the day (in the 60s), there used to be a pastry shop/candy store/soda fountain in SF called Blum's which was where this cake was created. The shop is no longer open, but the cake is still made at a few select bakeries in CA, and, of course, you can make it at home :)!
I like to call it "the Thing" cake (you know, Fantastic Four). It's not the most attractive cake (I do think it's eye catching though), but it tastes amazing. Like a creme brûlée flavored cake! It's made of a few layers of fluffy chiffon cake alternating with plenty of freshly whipped cream and covered with lots of yummy honeycomb candy AKA coffee crunch. For me, the best time to serve this cake is a few hours after decorating, after it has chilled it in the fridge; at this point, the coffee crunch has had time to melt into the whipped cream, yet it still retains its crunch. Yum!
Coffee Crunch Cake
adapted from Fancy Food Fancy
Coffee Crunch Topping
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp baking soda
Place the coffee, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. When the mixture begins to boil and turn clear, increase the heat to medium-high, cooking until it reaches 290°F.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baking soda; it will foam up.
Pour onto the parchment lined baking sheet and let it cool (at least 1 hour).
Place the candy into a freezer bag and roll over it with a rolling pin to crush it into small pieces. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.
1 1/4 cup flour, sifted
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1 cup egg whites (6-8 egg whites)
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt into a bowl and set aside for now.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until it is thick and pale. Add the water and beat until thickened (about 4 minutes).
In another mixing bowl, use the mixer to beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and mix until soft peaks form.
In a steady stream, mix in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, until stiff peaks form (2-3 minutes). Mix in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Fold the yolk mixture into this mixture. Then fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture from earlier. Repeat two more times with the flour mixture until everything is just combined.
Pour the cake batter into two 8-inch round cake pans sprayed with nonstick sprayed and lined with parchment paper on the bottoms. Smooth out the tops with a spatula. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when touched. Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then transfer the cakes to cooling racks to finish cooling.
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until soft peaks form.
Assemble the Cake
Slice the cooled cakes into 2 round layers each. Place one layer on a large plate. Spread whipping cream on top. Repeat with the other cake layers until you have the four cake layers sandwiched together with whipping cream. Cover the cake with the rest of the whipping cream.
Press the small pieces of coffee crunch into the sides of the cake. Spread more coffee crunch to cover the top of the cake. Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours so the coffee crunch and whipping cream can meld. Now it's ready to serve. Enjoy!