Monday, November 17, 2014

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt

I'm feeling sort of grouchy today. I'm not sure why. I mean, I ate a piece of delicious fudge-tunnel bundt last night. I started re-watching my favorite docu-series of all time, Ken Burns' The West (I'm a total sucker for sweeping landscapes and sad violin music and stoic b&w pics and awkward historians). Everyone in my house accidentally fell asleep and we woke up just in time to make it to our show -- our improv team, Lady Parade, was participating in an indie cagematch and despite our drowsy state, we won! It was an exciting night of improv and friendship.

But still, I woke up late, and sort of perturbed. I tried all of usual tactics to shake it. I went to Target (for dish soap and tampons, but still). I listened to my favorite Beyonce classic, "Countdown," and car-danced. I even ate a tiny square of cheese. Two squares, really.

My therapist and I recently went through a mutual and necessary break-up because I abruptly switched insurance plans. You know what, that's not fair, it didn't need to be abrupt, I knew about it for months. I turned 26 and was dropped from the sweet, comfortable, includes-dental nest of my parents' health insurance. I knew it was coming and I didn't really make that clear to her because I felt awkward. So, I cowardly left a voicemail last week that let her know I wouldn't be at my appointment that week or... ever. And I said I'd send a check and quickly hung up and felt very guilty -- a perfect emotion to discuss with my therapist, unfortunately. She left a voicemail this morning that said she was "sorry I wouldn't be coming back," she was "sorry she didn't accept my new insurance" and she "truly hoped the best for me." It feels like all that's left is for me to pick up my stuff at her place, if I had left anything at her place, and listen to some sad music. If it's anything like one of my last breakups, which she knows quite a bit about, I should listen to The Eagels' "Best of my Love" on repeat in traffic and sob-talk the lyrics. I probably won't do that again, but never say never!

Okay, regardless of my current mood, Saturday was National Bundt Day, which is a big fucking deal. Because information is power, here are some facts about everyone's favorite cake-with-a-hole-in-the-middle:

  • Like me, the bundt pan was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
  • Unlike me, the bundt was created in 1950s by the Dalquist Brothers, who founded the Nordic Ware cookware company. They were approached by women from the Minneapolis Jewish-American Hadassah Society who wanted a modern, cast-iron version of a Gugelhupf (traditional German fruitcake) pan. 
  • In German, "bund" could refer to way the dough is "bunched" in the pan. It could also refer to a "group of people," since one typically shares a bundt with loved ones. The "t" was added to successfully trademark the pans.

For some reason, the bundt pan wasn't initially very popular, and the Dalquists considered discontinuing the pan. 

Helfrich and her two masterpieces (her cake and her hair)
However, that all changed in 1966, when Ella Rita Helfrich won second place in the Pillsbury Bake-Off with her "tunnel of fudge" bundt cake. The bundt took the country by storm! And we've been loving them ever since. 

I AM a busy lady!
In honor of National Bundt Day, I really had to attempt the famous tunnel of fudge situation, despite the fact that the name continues to make me feel uncomfortable. The cake itself is a magic trick -- the "tunnel of fudge" forms inside the cake only if you cook it at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time. Some message boards even recommended using an oven thermometer, which I was not going to do. Miraculously, my cake still produced its very own fudge tunnel and once again, I was disproportionately proud of a cake. I mean, what else is new. 

This recipe is somewhat controversial because Pillsbury apparently discontinued the Double Dutch frosting mix that was originally used to create the tunnel. They swear it was basically cocoa and powdered sugar, but depending on what website you're on, some Midwestern ladies continue to lose their shit and really lay into Pillsbury over this great loss. I didn't know it, so it's hard to miss it. ( <-- poignant take-away from this post.) 

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

1 3/4 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup white sugar
6 eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups chopped walnuts 
(believe it or not, they are apparently essential to create the fudge tunnel)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 to 6 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Aggressively grease and flour your bundt pan.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Add the powdered sugar. 
Add the flour, cocoa, and walnuts, and stir by hand. This will probably be pretty difficult, because the batter is incredibly thick and unwieldy. I thought about giving up several times, but you should power through, because there is fudge in it for you at the end (and on the spatula, if you're into that sort of thing, as I am).
 Spoon the batter into the bundt pan, making sure it is evenly spread.

Could be eaten on its own, I'm sure.
Bake for 45 minutes. Because of the nature of the cake, you cannot use the toothpick test, but you can tell the cake is done when the edges start to separate from the pan. Don't over-cook.
Cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 1 1/2 hours.

This cake is DONE!
Flip that shit onto a plate (because the cake is so heavy, it is a very satisfying clean release). Cool for another 1-2 hours.
Prepare the glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar, cocoa and milk. I tried to do this over heat to make a "hot fudge" scenario and that sort of crashed and burned. If you want a thick, shiny glaze, don't do what I did. 

This... kind of didn't work.
Drizzle the glaze over the cake, letting it run down the edges.
Cut into it and hope a tunnel of fudge reveals itself to you.

This cake is HEAVY. It is like the craziest brownie you've ever eaten that wasn't crazy for other reasons. You'll definitely want to have a big glass of milk on hand -- or, like me, a big wine glass full of milk to add some elegance to your dessert experience. 

Happy baking!

1 comment:

  1. I learned, I loved, I wish I had a piece of this cake in my mouth right now.