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Tunnel of Fudge Cake

Ella Rita Helfrich’s 1966 recipe called for Pillsbury’s chocolate dry frosting mix to create the tunnel of fudge. When the company switched to canned frostings, Ella Rita received phone calls from people all over the country trying to find the discontinued product. The recipe below closely approximates the original.

  • 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans*

Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan. In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar; blend well. By hand, stir in flour, cocoa, and nuts until will blended.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until top is set and edges are beginning to pull away from pan.

(Note: Because of the soft filling, an ordinary doneness test won’t work. Accurate temperature and baking time are essential.)

Cool upright in pan on wire rack 1 1/2 hours. Invert onto serving plate; cool at least 2 more hours.  


  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 4-6 tsp. milk

Glaze: In a small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Spoon over top of cake. Store cake tightly covered.

*Nuts are essential to success of recipe, as they shore up the tunnel ‘walls’. Ella Rita’s original recipe called for pecans.

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