Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

This decadent chocolate cake was THE chocolate cake the 1960's. It "made" the Bundt pan. Shirley Corriher felt it could be improved so went to work on it. The result..."You can go crazy over this cake. My husband and I ate a whole cake in three days!" says Shirley.

The original recipe was on the label of Pillsbury's fudge icing after it won an award in the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off. When Pillsbury stopped making the icing, angry home cooks bombarded them: "You can't do this. The Tunnel of Fudge is my signature cake." So Pillsbury had to publish a recipe for the famous cake using ingredients available to home cooks. Shirley found that the recipe had many problems, so she revamped it considerably. The New York Times (Dec. 20, 2004) featured Shirley's cake on the front page of the Science section, where she explained each change she made and why. She substituted 2 yolks for 1 of the eggs and substituted oil for part of the butter to make the cake moister. She also substituted dark brown sugar for some of the sugar to give the cake even fudgier flavors. The roasted nuts are really important. Without them, the cake seems ordinary, but with them, it's fantastic.

Important Notes:
  1. Brown sugar makes chocolate taste fudgy.
  2. With this extreme about of sugar the cake does not fully cook, thus creating the "tunnel of fudge" in the center.
  3. The roasted nuts make this cake. Don't leave them out.

Here is Shirley's recipe as stated in her absolutely wonderful book "BakeWise"
This is a must have book for the serious baker.

Yield: 1 12-cup Bundt Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups walnut pieces or mixed walnuts and pecans
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in 2-Tablespoon pieces, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder *
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups spooned and leveled bleached all-purpose flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, to garnish, or Rum Drizzle (recipe follows), optional
  1. Arrange a shelf in the lower third of the oven, place a baking stone on it, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. On a large baking sheet, roast the nuts for 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of the butter and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and toss well. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.
  3. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. With a mixer, beat the remaining 1 1/4 cups butter to soften and get to the fluffy stage. Add the granulated sugar, then the brown sugar, and continue to beat until light and airy. While beating, feel the bowl; if it does not feel cool, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, and then continue beating.
  5. Beat in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and vanilla. Blend in the oil and egg yolks.
  6. By hand, stir in the confectioners' sugar , then the cocoa powder.
  7. By hand, one at a time, stir the eggs into the batter, with minimum stirring just to blend them into the batter well.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and roasted chopped nuts. Fold the flour-nut mixture into the batter and pour into the prepared pan. (Atlanta wine expert Gil Kulers, who makes this cake frequently, heats the empty pan for about 5 minutes just before he pours in the batter. This ensures that he gets a good 3/4 inch of well-set cake to hold the fudge center.)
  9. Bake for 45 minutes. You can't use the toothpick test for doneness because this cake has so much sugar that the cent is not going to set, but remains a (tunnel of fudge" in the center. You are totally dependent on the correct oven temperature of 350 degrees F and the 45-minute cooking time.
  10. When you remove the cake from the oven, you can't see it but it will have a runny fudge core with an air pocket above the fudge. This air pocket is not desirable and will become a hole under the fudge when the cake is chilled. To minimize this air pocket, about 20 minutes after you take the cake out of the oven, while still in the pan, press the inside and outside edges of the cake bottom down all the way around. This will press the whole bottom down and reduce the air pocket. Leave the cake in the pan until completely cooled. I cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 2-3 hours. This is very important. With a thin knife, loosen the cake around the edges. Place a platter on top of the pan and invert.
  11. Cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with Rum Drizzle to garnish. I love this cake at room temperature or cold. At room temperature, the fudge is runny. When cold, the fudge center become firm, like a piece of fudge with nuts.
Rum Drizzle
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum or brandy *
  • About 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
Stir together the sugar, vanilla, and rum. Add the cream to get to a consistency that will give you a tick drizzle.

* Soon to be available at FoodieAffair.com

No comments:

Post a Comment