Happy National Bundt Cake Day!

Lori Writer / Heavy Table
Lori Writer / Heavy Table

In 2006, Minneapolis, MN-based Nordic Ware, founded in 1946 by Dave and Dotty Dalquist in their basement, celebrated its 60th anniversary and declared November 15 National Bundt Cake Day.

In honor of tomorrow’s National Bundt Cake Day 2009, we offer a recipe for the classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake, which is, according to Dotty Dalquist in her forward to Bundt Cake Bliss: Delicious Desserts from Midwest Kitchens by Susanna Short, the recipe that gave the Bundt pan its boost. Writes Dalquist: “Finally, in 1966, the Bundt pan got its big break when a Texan named Ella Helfrich took second place in the 17th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off with her fabulous Bundt cake recipe, Tunnel of Fudge. This delicious cake looked impressive, tasted irresistible and was very easy to prepare. Pillsbury was soon flooded with more than 200,000 queries from bakers wanting to know where they could find our one-of-a-kind pan. Bundt pans began flying off shelves.”

Nordic Ware’s website says: “Today, there are nearly 60 million Bundt pans in kitchens across America.”

According to Bundt Cake Bliss: Delicious Desserts from Midwest Kitchens: The name was Dave Dalquist’s twist on the German “bund cake,” a cake for a gathering of people, so that he could successfully trademark it.

For savory Bundt baking, try our Olive Oil and Herb Monkey Bread.

Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Serves 12

1¾ c butter (salted or unsalted), softened
1¾ c granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 c powdered sugar
2 ¼ c all-purpose flour (bleached or unbleached)
¾ c unsweetened (nonalkalyzed) cocoa
2 c walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped

¾ c powdered sugar
¼ c cocoa
1½ to 2 tbsp milk


  1. Heat oven to 350º. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt Pan by greasing with butter, then sprinkling with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  4. Gradually add powdered sugar; blending as you go.
  5. Stir in remaining cake ingredients by hand until thoroughly blended.
  6. Spoon batter into Bundt pan; spread evenly.
  7. Bake at 350º for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is set and edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not use the “toothpick” test to test the doneness of the cake: you will pierce the tunnel of fudge.
  8. Cool upright in pan on cooling rack. After one to one and a half hours, invert onto serving plate. Allow to cool completely.
  9. For glaze:  combine ingredients until well-blended. Spoon or drizzle over top of cake.

The above recipe was adapted from Bundt Cake Bliss: Delicious Desserts from Midwest Kitchens by Susanna Short. We baked our Tunnel of Fudge Cake in Nordic Ware’s limited edition 60th Anniversary Bundt Pan.


  1. David Schlenk

    The original recipe contained “double dutch frosting mix”, a convenience product from Pillsbury. According to http://www.boston.com/ae/food/articles/2007/02/07/pillsbury_runner_up_perseveres/ it was just cocoa and confectioners sugar, however. Cook’s Country (cooks illustrated but folksy!) did a thing on this cake, for an alternative recipe. Beware the paywall/dubious marketing that follows:

  2. jls

    I am guessing someone you know well remembers the Tunnel of Fudge was a choice for birthdays in our family fairly frequently. In fact I have the Pillsbury Cookoff cookbook from that year. Pack rat that I am.

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