Healthier Tunnel of Fudge Cake

I'd like to make this Tunnel of Fudge cake healthier. Suggestions?

"This is the recipe Pillsbury offers for the prize-winning cake that started the bundt pan revolution. It is not exactly the same as Ella Helfrich's because Pillsbury stopped making the double dutch fudge buttercream frosting mix she used in the original. Now you have to make the whole cake from scratch. Nuts are essential to the cake's success. A "tunnel of fudge" mysteriously appears in the finished cake. This does make it tough to use the usual toothpick method of determining doneness


The bundt pan and the 1970s go hand-in-hand. Popular recipes included the Harvey Wallbanger cake, whiskey cake, and the still popular TUNNEL OF FUDGE CAKE. This recipe was the grand prize winner for Ella Rita Helfrich (Houston, Texas)in the 1966 Pillsbury Bakeoff contest. (It was subsequently sold as a packaged cake mix for a number of years. As far as I know, the packaged cake mix version is no longer available.)"

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

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


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

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt® pan or 10-inch tube pan. In large bowl, combine sugar and margarine; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar; blend well. By hand, stir in flour and remaining cake ingredients until well blended. Spoon batter into greased and floured pan; spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until top is set and edges are beginning to pull away from edge of pan.


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

In small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Spoon over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Store tightly covered.


*Nuts are essential for success of recipe.

** Since cake has soft filling, ordinary doneness tests cannot be used. Accurate oven temperature and baking times are essential.

Holly from Richardson, TX

June 14, 20070 found this helpful

I have just a couple ideas for you. In place of the sugar you could use Splenda or even the newer half Splenda/half sugar mix they have that's supposed to be better for baking. In place of most or all the butter, you could use pureed prunes. Sounds weird I know, but pureed fruit (like applesauce) can be used in baking in place of oils. Prunes work well in chocolate baked goods because of color and texture. You can look for them in the baby food aisle! You could use an egg replacement product, such as Egg Beaters. Perhaps cut down on the nuts? And I might suggest skim milk for the glaze, but it is such a minimal amount that I don't know if it would make much of a difference, and it might make the glaze thinner, so I'd stick with whole or 2%. Hope that helps!

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

Is this the original recipe you wrote about?


1 1/2 c. butter

6 eggs

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 c. flour

2 c. chopped nuts (walnuts)

3 1/3 c. or 12 1/2 oz. pkg. creamy double Dutch frosting mix

Cream shortening in large bowl on high speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Gradually add sugar, continue creaming at high speed until light and fluffy. By hand, stir in frosting mix and walnuts until well blended.

Pour batter into well greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Cool 2 hours before removing from pan.

(Tips: Before taking out of oven, check with a toothpick or test after 60 minutes by observing a dry, shiny brown-type crust. Cake will have a wet center called "tunnel of fudge".

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

Yep, ImTrish echoes a lot of my suggestions. Although I wouldn't go 100% Splenda as it can have a taste if too much is used and it doesn't make things rise as well.

Also to make it heart and body healthier, try replacing some of the fat with Flaxseed meal. I have yet to try this, going to my next boxed cake mix cookies. I found a new one at Trader Joe's that has ground dried blueberries in it too, would be good on yogurt but I can imagine it would really impart some awesome flavors to things like pancakes muffins etc. I don't know the ratio for flaxseed meal to fats, but I do know it's on the bag (Bob's Redmill also has it on their website if I am not mistaken).

I wouldn't go 100% egg replacement either, maybe most of the eggs, save 2 for real eggs. Something about eggs makes them really good for baking, if you are looking at the health aspects then go for the Omega eggs in the supermarket.

Hope it helps and you find the best recipe!

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June 15, 20070 found this helpful

To Carnall: The recipe you posted may be the original. The one I posted was from the internet. Thank you for this one. It's on my 'to do' list.

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July 2, 20070 found this helpful

In grade school we were taught that there are four basic food groups. I have since learned this to be untrue; there are only two. (1): Stuff that's fit to eat, and (2): Stuff that WON'T kill you. This cake sounds like it would fall in the first catagory if done by the recipe. Personally I would make it "by the book" and only change it if I thought it would improve flavor or texture. I don't care how 'healthy' something is, if it isn't fit to eat I have no use for it.

To make this cake more healthy, try eating smaller portions.

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