Indulge in Richness: Tunnel of Fudge Cake Recipe

As a dessert connoisseur, I have a soft spot for classic cakes that never lose their charm. Today, we are going to explore the one-of-a-kind recipe that took America by storm in the 1960s: the classic Tunnel of Fudge cake. This cake is not only a treat for your taste buds but also a time capsule of American baking history. As the second prize winner of the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, this cake captured the hearts and palates of home bakers across the nation.

The Tunnel of Fudge cake is named so because it has a fudgy, chocolate-brownie-like center buried inside its rich chocolate shell. Imagine tunneling your way through layers of silky chocolate cake, only to be rewarded with an oozy pocket of molten fudge. This cake is both a visual and gustatory delight that will make heads turn at any dinner party or event.

But why leave this timeless recipe in the annals of history when you can revive it in your own kitchen? Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to an apron, this recipe will guide you step-by-step on how to achieve foolproof results and bring back the glory of this retro classic. So let’s get started and journey together through the tunnel doom…oops, I mean Tunnel of Fudge!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake

Are you looking for a dessert that will impress your guests and satisfy your sweet tooth? Look no further than the classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake recipe. This cake is a chocolate-lovers dream come true, complete with a gooey, fudgy center and a decadent chocolate exterior.

What sets this cake apart from other chocolate cakes is the unique “tunnel of fudge” running through the center. As you slice into the cake, you’ll be wowed by the sight of melted chocolate and walnuts oozing out of the middle. It’s like discovering buried treasure in every slice.

But it’s not just the taste that makes this cake so special. The Tunnel of Fudge Cake has a rich history, having won second prize in the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. This cake became so popular that it was responsible for creating a nationwide shortage of a key ingredient: Pillsbury’s Double Dutch Fudge frosting mix.

This recipe has been passed down through generations and remains a beloved dessert today. Making this cake is sure to impress your friends and family, and its unique history adds an element of intrigue to any dessert table.

So why wait? Give this classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake recipe a try and experience the rich, delicious taste and fascinating history for yourself. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

Ingredient List

 A slice of heaven on a plate.
A slice of heaven on a plate.

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredient list for this Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake recipe. Be sure to have all the ingredients on hand before starting to make this decadent dessert.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 oz) Pillsbury Bake Off® Deluxe Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

The ingredients mentioned above are enough to make one cake, and you will need a few additional items that may already be in your pantry, such as baking soda, hot water, and salt. In case you want to make substitutions or variations, keep reading to learn more about it.

The Recipe How-To

 Decadence in every bite.
Decadence in every bite.

Now comes the fun part – baking the Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake! Follow these simple steps to create a rich and indulgent dessert that will leave your taste buds wanting more.


  • 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter on high speed until creamy. Gradually add in the white sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the all-purpose flour and cocoa powder, mixing until just blended.
  5. Fold in the chopped walnuts by hand.
  6. Pour the tunnel fudge cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Fudge Tunnel How-To:

  1. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips in 1/2 cup boiling water, stirring until smooth.
  2. Gradually stir in 1 cup of powdered sugar and continue stirring until smooth.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup unsalted butter, allowing it to melt and blend with the chocolate mixture.
  4. Spread or drizzle over cooled chocolate bundt cake following instructions from your fudge frosting mix.

And voila! You have successfully made a delicious classic tunnel of fudge cake that will satisfy any chocolate lover’s sweet tooth!

Substitutions and Variations

 This cake is a showstopper!
This cake is a showstopper!

While the classic tunnel of fudge cake recipe is delightfully delicious as is, there are a few simple substitutions and variations you might consider to add a creative touch or accommodate dietary restrictions. Here are a few recommendations:

– Chocolate Chips: If you want to add even more chocolate flavor to your tunnel of fudge cake, consider folding in a cup or two of your favorite chocolate chips into the batter. Dark chocolate chips would pair particularly well with the rich chocolate fudge cake.

– Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake: To make this recipe vegan-friendly, simply swap out the butter for a vegan butter substitute and use egg replacers like applesauce or flax eggs instead of traditional eggs. You can find premade vegan chocolate cake mixes at many grocery stores, such as Jiffy Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix.

– Buttercream Frosting: For those who aren’t a fan of fudge frosting, you can easily swap it out for a buttercream frosting instead. This will create a different flavor profile that still satisfies your dessert cravings.

– Double Dutch Tunnel of Fudge Cake: If you’re looking for an extra chocolaty twist on the classic recipe, try adding some cocoa powder to the batter, giving it an intense chocolate flavor that’s sure to please. Simply replace 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.

– Other Add-ins: For those who enjoy some crunch in their baked goods, consider adding in some chopped walnuts or pecans. These will give your fudge cake some added texture and visual appeal while also enhancing its flavor.

Overall, don’t be afraid to experiment with different substitutions and variations to suit your taste preferences or any dietary needs. With just a few simple swaps, you can make this classic tunnel of fudge cake recipe truly yours!

Serving and Pairing

 When words fail, this cake speaks.
When words fail, this cake speaks.

Once the Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake is out of the oven and cooled, it’s time to serve and pair it with an ideal drink to enhance the dining experience.

This rich, chocolatey cake is delicious on its own but can be elevated with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. The cold, creamy texture of these additions will beautifully counterbalance the dense, fudgy nature of the cake.

For those looking to bring out the coffee notes in their tastebuds, a cup of strong coffee pairs perfectly. Enjoying a slice with a hot drink such as tea adds a cozy feel that’s sure to create a serene mood for anyone who partakes in this treat.

If you’d rather have something cooler to sip on, a tall glass of cold milk or almond milk makes an excellent refreshing accompaniment. You could also try iced-milk tea or even wine such as merlot or shiraz – its fruity notes complement the chocolate flavors splendidly.

Whichever way you slice it (pun intended), whether you go for hot or cold options, remember that moderation is key in everything. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that every slice will leave you craving more.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Tunnel of Fudge? More like Tunnel of Love!
Tunnel of Fudge? More like Tunnel of Love!

Making the Classic Tunnel of Fudge cake recipe ahead of time is not only possible but it’s a great idea! Whether you’re whipping up a dessert for an upcoming party or just trying to save time, there’s good news: this cake can be made up to 3 days in advance.

To store the cake, wait for it to cool completely before tightly covering it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Then, just leave the covered cake at room temperature until you’re ready to serve it. Heating leftovers is easy – simply heat them up quickly in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for a few minutes.

It’s important to note that this tunnel fudge cake does not freeze well, nor does it hold up well over time. If you have leftovers that won’t be eaten within 3-4 days, consider gifting them to friends and family or repurposing them into something new (think: French toast, bread pudding etc.).

Remember, while reheating any dessert can change its texture slightly, warming up a slice of this rich chocolate tunnel fudge cake will almost always make it even more irresistible. No matter how you serve it – warm, chilled or room temperature – if stored properly, each slice will still taste just as moist and chocolatey as the first one. So go ahead and make it ahead!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Pure chocolatey goodness.
Pure chocolatey goodness.

For a rich chocolate cake with a perfect tunnel of fudge, follow these tips to ensure success every time.

First and foremost, use high-quality ingredients. This cake relies heavily on the flavor and texture of cocoa powder, so make sure you’re using a good one. And since butter is such a prominent ingredient, save the generic store brands for another recipe.

Next, be sure to grease your Bundt pan well. Use cooking spray or butter and flour to make sure the cake can easily release from the pan after baking.

When adding nuts to the batter, toast them first to enhance their flavor and texture. And if you’re looking for a vegan option, try using vegan chocolate chips and substitute applesauce for the eggs.

To create the signature tunnel of fudge, make sure not to overbake the cake. The fudgy center may look underdone when you remove it from the oven but trust that it will set up as it cools.

Once your cake has cooled completely, sift powdered sugar over it for a beautiful finishing touch. You can also add a dollop of frosting or even serve it with fresh whipped cream on top.

By following these tips and this recipe’s instructions carefully, everyone who tries your tunnel of fudge cake is sure to be impressed with your baking prowess.


While this recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, you may still have a few questions or concerns. Below are some frequently asked questions that may help clarify any issues you encounter while creating this classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced baker, these tips and guidelines are valuable additions to your kitchen know-how. So, let’s dive into the FAQ for the Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake recipe!

What is the difference between chocolate cake and fudge cake?

When comparing chocolate cake and chocolate fudge cake, it’s important to note that they differ in texture and richness. Chocolate fudge cake tends to be denser and more decadent, while chocolate cake is typically lighter and less rich.

What is Alabama fudge cake?

This recipe is for a decadent chocolate cake that has a lusciously moist texture. The cake is generously filled and covered with chocolate fudge icing and beautifully decorated by hand with a spiral swirl design.

What is birthday cake fudge made of?

Let’s start by getting our medium-sized saucepan and filling it with condensed milk, butter, and chocolate chips. Then, we need to heat it up on medium heat while stirring frequently until the chocolate chips and butter are completely melted and well-combined. Once we’ve achieved that, let’s reduce the heat to low and stir in some cake mix and vanilla extract. Keep stirring until the cake mix is thoroughly absorbed. And there we have it!

Why is it called fudge cake?

A cake that features fudge as an ingredient is commonly known as a fudge cake and typically comes in a rich chocolate flavor.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking to impress your guests or satisfy your sweet tooth, the Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake Recipe is the perfect dessert for you. With its rich chocolate flavor and indulgent fudgy center, this cake is a crowd-pleaser that has stood the test of time. Plus, with the added option of substitutions and variations, you can make it your own while still keeping the core recipe intact.

So why not try this recipe out for yourself? Whether it’s for a special occasion or just because, this cake is sure to give you some serious baking cred. So get ready to impress your taste buds and those around you with the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off winner, Ella Helfrich Houston’s classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake Recipe!

Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake

Classic Tunnel of Fudge Cake Recipe

This is that same cake that everyone seemed to make back in the '70's. Pillsbury discontinued their line of dry frosting mixes, and came up with their own revised version, which was NOT the same. I was thrilled to find this version in a food column from the "Minneapolis Star Tribune."
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: < 4 Hours, Christmas, Dessert, Easy, For Large Groups, Kid-Friendly, Oven, Potluck, Weeknight
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Calories: 606.4kcal


  • 1 3/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 (7 1/4 ounce) packages jiffy chocolate fudge frosting mix
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
  • Measure 3/4 cup of the frosting mix for the chocolate glaze.
  • Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the remaining frosting mix and flour, mixing just until incorporated.
  • Fold in the nuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes.
  • The top of the cake will form a brownie like crust before it is done.
  • Allow to cool for 60 minutes in the pan, then cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.
  • To make the chocolate glaze; Mix together reserved 3/4 cup frosting mix and 2 tablespoons boiling water, stirring until smooth.
  • Thin with additional boiling water if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  • Spoon glaze over the cooled cake.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 137g | Calories: 606.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 64.5g | Protein: 7.7g | Fat: 37.8g | Saturated Fat: 16.3g | Cholesterol: 151.7mg | Sodium: 216.5mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 22.1g

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