A very soft-hearted cake


Julie Peterson of Wonder Lake, Ill., requested a recipe for a Tunnel of Fudge Cake. "I had this in the 1960s or '70s and have lost it. I think it was made from Pillsbury Angel Food Cake Mix with a whipped-cream filling. It was a favorite of our family of eight. Can you help?"

Carol McIlvain of Clarksville responded: "I was delighted to see the request because I used to make this cake in the late '60s and early '70s, from a recipe I copied from the back of a Pillsbury frosting mix box. At that time, Pillsbury was marketing a box mix for 'Double Fudge Buttercream Frosting,' and the Tunnel of Fudge Cake was a featured use of this powdered frosting mix. Sometime in the 1970s the mix was discontinued, and I filed away the recipe and never made the cake again.

"Today I was reminded that I had a recent copy of a Pillsbury Bake-Off winners cookbook (1987). Lo and behold, the Tunnel of Fudge Cake is on the cover of this cookbook, and the recipe from a 17th bake-off prize winner is inside (minus the Pillsbury frosting mix, of course). I am enclosing a copy of the page from the cookbook.

"This prize-winning recipe substitutes the cocoa and powdered sugar for the boxed frosting mix that I used, and adds an additional 1/4 cup each of granulated sugar, butter and flour to my original recipe. This recipe also adds the glaze to the cake. (I just dusted the top with powdered sugar when I served my cake.)

"I have not tested this bake-off winning version, but now that I have rediscovered the recipe, I will. I am responding to the title rather than the recalled ingredients. At the very least, it prompted me to rediscover the possibility of enjoying this cake again."

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

Serves 16


1 3/4 cups butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

6 eggs

2 cups powdered sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

2 cups chopped walnuts


3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup fluted tube pan or a 10-inch regular tube pan. In a large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add powdered sugar; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. By hand, stir in remaining cake ingredients until well-blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 58 to 62 minutes. Cool upright in pan on wire rack 1 hour; invert onto serving plate. Cool completely and glaze.

To make the glaze: In a small bowl combine all glaze ingredients until well-blended. Spoon over top of cooled cake, allowing some to run down sides. Garnish as desired. Store tightly covered.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "Timing is everything in this cake. Because of its fudgy, molten center, you can't test this cake with a toothpick or cake tester - it should be gooey, so this is no help.

"At about 50 minutes, begin testing the cake, pressing your finger against the surface of it to see if it springs back. The top of the cake should not have a long, dark strip at the center when you take it out, but don't cook it even a few minutes too long. You want it to be very moist at the center even once the cake has cooled. The glaze hardens to a glossy chocolate and provides a nice contrast to the moist cake."

Recipe requests

Mildred S. Rodeffer of Dandridge, Tenn., wants a recipe called Savannah Oysters. The dish was served at the Pirate House in Savannah, Ga., and she says it "was delicious. I do not know if the Pirate House is still open, but I would love to have this recipe."

Tomasa Lugo of Los Banos, Calif., writes: "I took my daughter to the Town Buffet in Merced, Calif., and had a cream of potato soup, which was delicious. It had carrots, celery and cheese. She loved it and would like this recipe."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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