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
1Bundt cake 30 ~ 45 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45Minutes {approximately} 2 1/2Hours
Servings Prep Time
1Bundt cake 30 ~ 45 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45Minutes {approximately} 2 1/2Hours
For the Cake
For the Glaze
  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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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

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