#BUNDTBAKERS TUNNEL OF FUDGE BUNDT CAKE

This cake is “old” enough to be considered a vintage recipe and is almost solely responsible for the rise of popularity and sales of Bundt pans.

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Today’s recipe, is from The Cook’s Country Cookbook, and is for an updated version of the classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake. The bakers at America’s Test Kitchen made two dozen cakes before arriving at this rendition, and swaps half of the granulated sugar for brown sugar.  This cake was very popular in the 60’s and fondly remembered by the baby~boomers.  Later, as I recall, there were “cake mixes” available in the local supermarkets.

I have substituted Splenda white and Splenda brown sugar to make it a healthier version.  I’ve been baking and cooking with both Splenda sugars for quite awhile.  I’ve always had success in texture and taste.  It’s an even swap, 1 to 1.

When testing this cake for doneness, do not use the inserted toothpick method as the tunnel of fudge will always look underdone.   Instead, look to see if the sides are beginning to pull away from the pan. When pressed, the top of the cake should feel springy.

This month, our theme is a Healthy cheat, sneak or substitute hosted by Andrea Potter Kruse.  It didn’t take me too long to decide which recipe to use.  My brother~in~law has been asking for this cake even before #BundtBakers became a part of my interests.  So, thank you Andrea for this ingenious theme which also required a bit of thought and research.  But my brother~in~law thanks you in a BIG way {plus, it’s his birthday this month}.

THE ORIGINAL RECIPE:

Tunnel of Fudge Cake
1 1/2 cups soft Land O’ Lakes Butter
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups Pillsbury’s Best Flour (Regular, Instant Blending or Self Rising*)
1 package Pillsbury Double Dutch Fudge Buttercream Frosting Mix
2 cups chopped Diamond Walnuts

Oven 350° [ed. 350 F / 175 C]
10-inch tube cake

Cream butter in large mixer bowl at high speed of mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Gradually add sugar, continue creaming at high speed until light and fluffy. By hand, stir in flour, frosting mix, and walnuts until well blended. Pour batter into greased Bundt pan or 10-inch Angel Food tube pan. Bake at 350° for 60 to 65 minutes. Cool 2 hours, remove from pan. Cool completely before serving.

Note: Walnuts, Double Dutch Fudge Frosting Mix and butter are key to the success of this unusual recipe. Since cake has a soft fudgy interior, test for doneness after 60 minutes by observing dry, shiny brownie-type crust.

It originally required Pillsbury “Double Dutch Fudge Frosting Mix”, which was later discontinued by Pillsbury.   In response to widespread complaints, Pillsbury released a revised version that introduced cocoa powder in place of the frosting mix.

REVISED  RECIPE FOR TUNNEL OF FUDGE BUNDT CAKE FROM PILLSBURY

This revised recipe makes up for the now-extinct ingredient of “Double Dutch Fudge Frosting Mix.” Note that Pillsbury introduced a glaze, whereas the original did not have one. Pillsbury notes that the cake will not work without the called-for amount of nuts.

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups margarine or softened butter
6 eggs
2 cups icing sugar
2 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups chopped walnuts

For the glaze:
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 to 6 teaspoons milk

Start heating oven to 350 F / 175 C.

Grease and flour a 12-cup (3 litres) fluted tube cake pan or a 10-inch (25 cm) tube pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat after each one. Add the 2 cups of icing sugar a little at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in flour (if you have been using an electric beater, switch to hand for this) and all remaining ingredients in the cake section. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth it out. Pop into oven and bake until edges start to pull away from the pan and the top is set. Don’t go by standard tests such as a dry toothpick test; they won’t work with this cake. The cake should be done in 45 to 50 minutes. Remove cake from oven, leave in pan, and set on wire rack to cool 1 1/2 hours, then invert onto a plate and let cool a further 2 hours.

Now, mix all the glaze ingredients. You want the glaze to be runny enough to drizzle, so add a bit more milk if you have to. Drizzle over top, and let some run down the sides of the cake.

#BUNDTBAKERS TUNNEL OF FUDGE BUNDT CAKE
Print Recipe
My dear brother~in~law has been asking for this cake ever since he heard about my joining the #BundtBakers group. What makes this a perfect opportunity is that I substituted Splenda for both brown and white sugars. He is diabetic and so swapping out the sugars is perfect timing. I know he will love it and I'm sure I will too.
Servings Prep Time
1 Bundt cake 30 ~ 45 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 Minutes {approximately} 2 1/2 Hours
Servings Prep Time
1 Bundt cake 30 ~ 45 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 Minutes {approximately} 2 1/2 Hours
#BUNDTBAKERS TUNNEL OF FUDGE BUNDT CAKE
Print Recipe
My dear brother~in~law has been asking for this cake ever since he heard about my joining the #BundtBakers group. What makes this a perfect opportunity is that I substituted Splenda for both brown and white sugars. He is diabetic and so swapping out the sugars is perfect timing. I know he will love it and I'm sure I will too.
Servings Prep Time
1 Bundt cake 30 ~ 45 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 Minutes {approximately} 2 1/2 Hours
Servings Prep Time
1 Bundt cake 30 ~ 45 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 Minutes {approximately} 2 1/2 Hours
Ingredients
For the Cake
For the Glaze
Servings: Bundt cake
Instructions
  1. For the cake: preheat oven to 350º F And prepare a 12 cup, non~stick Bundt pan by brushing the interior with 1 T butter plus 1 T cocoa powder. Or use your own homemade cake release, then dust with cocoa powder.
  2. Whisk the boiling water and chocolate together in a small bowl until melted and smooth; let the mixture cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, nuts, confectioners sugar, cocoa and salt together.
  4. In a large bowl {Kitchen Aid if you're lucky enough to have one.} beat the butter, sugars and vanilla together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined, beat in the chocolate mixture and blend on low for about 30 seconds. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  6. Scrape the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Wipe any drops of batter off the sides of the pan and gently tap the pan on your work surface to settle the batter.
  7. Bake the cake until the edges start pulling away from the sides of the pan and the top feels springy with pressed finger, about 45 minutes. The toothpick method will not work with this cake as the tunnel of fudge will not appear done at any point.
  8. For the glaze: In the meantime, whisk all the ingredients for the glaze together in a medium bowl until smooth and thickened.
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the pan, on top of a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then flip it out on a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours. Drizzle the chocolate glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Allow the glaze to set up ~ about 25 minutes, before serving.
  10. Once completely cooled, mix all the glaze ingredients together until the desired consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cake while it is still on the wire rack, putting a sheet pan beneath to catch the drips. Move to serving plate and add chopped, toasted walnuts to the finished cake.
Recipe Notes

The Bundt pan was invented in the 1950s by a man named H. David Dalquist. The pan was based on a traditional ceramic dish with a similar ringed shape. Though Dalquist's version was lighter and easier to use than the clunky previous version, sales were disappointing.

Then, in 1966, a woman named Ella Helfrich took second place {and won $25,000 dollars} in the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off with her recipe for Tunnel of Fudge Cake. The walnut-filled, chocolate-glazed cake had a ring of gooey fudge at its center. Eating a slice was reminiscent of indulging in under-baked brownie batter. Helfrich's cake was an overnight sensation. Pillsbury received more than 200,000 requests for the pan she used, and Dalquist's company went into overtime production. Today, more than 50 million Bundt pans of all shapes and sizes have been sold around the world.

Though her recipe only won second prize, it was enough to clinch her place in American cooking fame. The first prize recipe from that year has been forgotten. Ella's, though, was an immediate sensation.

Pillsbury ran newspaper ads across America showing a photo of a slice of the cake with the large, bold caption "Makes its own tunnel of fudge as it bakes". The ad (accompanied by an 8 cent clip-out coupon) said:

"Sensational Tunnel of Fudge Cake is a  Rich, yummy chocolate cake that makes its own thick, fudgey center as it bakes. What an idea! And Tunnel of Fudge Cake is easy. Shortcutted, streamlined, up-to-dated (sic) by Pillsbury's Best. Makes baking from scratch easy as baking from a mix! Just one bowl. Six ingredients. Ten minutes' preparation time. Because Pillsbury Double Dutch Fudge Frosting Mix goes right in the batter—makes the flavor, the tunnel as the cake bakes! You'll bake Tunnel of Fudge Cake again and again. The recipe's at your grocer's. Pick it up at the same time you get your Pillsbury's Best —Plain or Self-Rising."

Mrs. Helfrich continued to enter the Bake-Offs after 1966, but never won again. She felt it was owing to her resisting the pressure to go "light and lively" in her recipes. She told reporters there were four major food groups for her: butter, chocolate, pecans and sugar. "You can't go low-cal when you're using pecans and brown sugar," she said in 1999, I like her style.  She especially liked cooking with pecans, as she had a pecan tree in her backyard.

You may notice that this cake has many similar versions:  the original from Mrs Helfrich; The new recipe from Pillsbury once they stopped making the fudge frosting included in the original; and the one from Cooks Corner which I have adjusted and chosen to share with you all today.  Similar yet distinctive, this version just works for me. 💜

 

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