The Bundt that started it all: Tunnel of Fudge Cake

Dotty and Dave Dalquist started Nordic Ware in 1946 from their basement in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the 1950’s they introduced America to the Bundt pan, but it wasn’t until the 1966 Pillsbury Bake Off that made them a hot commodity.

Thanks to one Ella Helfrich who entered the Bake Off with her recipe for a Tunnel of Fudge Cake baked in a Bundt pan.

The saying that no one remembers who came second isn’t exactly true. If you look at the list of winners for the Pillsbury Bake Off you won’t see Ella’s name. Because she came second, but her recipe has become somewhat famous inspiring all sorts of molten chocolate cakes.

If you caught it above that Nordic Ware was started in Minneapolis, Minnesota then you will have probably guessed I managed a visit to their factory store while with my sister in the city.

It has been up graded from a basement into a massive factory.  The store was my kind of place. It was full of any and every kitchen appliance you could ever want. I would have happily moved in. I wish I had had a bigger weight allowance for my suitcase!

Even though I didn't pick up a Bundt pan, I did pick up a copy of Classic Bundt Recipe Book that has a lot of traditional recipes including one for the Tunnel of Fudge Cake.


Originally it was made with a Pillsbury chocolate frosting powder, but they discontinued it so a ‘from scratch’ recipe was created.

Aren't we glad it was?!

I used my new traditional Bundt pan that I have never used before! I felt that it was fitting that the first time in the oven was to bake the cake that made it famous! It turned out a little lighter then I expected. It seems a bit more milk chocolaty then dark chocolaty. However it still tastes delicious! 

I have adapted it to grams from cups. When cups are used it can vary by how the individual fills said cup. So, this is how I made it.


Tunnel of Fudge Cake:

370g (1 ¾ cups) granulated sugar
256.5g (1 ¾ cups) unsalted butter, softened
6 large eggs
310g (2 cups) icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
395g (2 ¼ cups) plain flour/all purpose flour
70g ( ¾ cups) unsweetened cocoa powder
225g (2 cups) walnuts, toasted & chopped

Heat the oven to 180C/350F, then grease (butter) and flour a 10 inch or 12 cup Bundt pan. Or use a cake release spray.
Beat the granulated sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Gently beat the eggs together and add them little by little beating well in between each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until just combined.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a separate bowl. Add about a third to the batter and fold in with a spatula or wooden spoon. Then repeat until all the flour is folded in. Lastly fold in the walnuts until well mixed. Spoon the batter into the Bundt and smooth it down.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is set and the cake is starting to come away from the edges. Cool in the pan for about 1 ½ hours before gently turning it out onto a stand or serving plate. Cool for at least 2 more hours or more.

Chocolate Glaze:

115g (¾ cup) icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
30g ( ¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ to 2 tbsp whole milk

Sift the dry ingredients together. Then whisk in the milk until the consistency allows it to be drizzled on top!


notes: Please note that it's the nuts that make this cake work, you can substitute another nut! Find out more about Nordic Ware here! There is more on the Pillsbury Bake Off here. My favorite blog to find bundt recipes is on The Food Librarian because I like big bundts as much as she does! Don't forget to mark your calendars for the 15th of November because it's National Bundt Day!

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