You know how the experts tell you not to go shopping when you’re hungry? (BTW, there’s actually a hormone called grehlin that makes you hungry and simultaneously focuses you on food to the exclusion of any other distraction). The corollary for cooks is “Do not surf your Pinterest ‘Recipes I Want to Try!’ board when you’re hungry.” I must have printed a dozen recipes off my board today just before lunch. Recipes for snicker bars, apple crisp, Girl Scout thin mints, no bake chocolate chip granola bars…you get the idea.
Eventually, after lunch, I pulled the “Tunnel of Fudge” cake recipe off my printer. THIS is what I’m going to make today; Kurt was craving seafood from a local place in Gainesville last night and he proposed we go for dinner this evening. Works for me– no rush home after violin; we’ll just mosey down Route 29 to a seafood feast.
What better way is there to end an evening of seafood decadence than with an equally rich chocolate cake with an oozing tunnel of fudge running through its center? Answer: None.
I knew I had everything on hand between my pantry and fridge; that hunger hormone had me mentally locating every ingredient in the recipe. I’d made this cake once a long time ago, after scribbling out the recipe on a scrap of paper while watching the blond lady on America’s Test Kitchen prepare it. It is a luxurious over-the-top chocolate cake and I was devastated when I lost my recipe. If I remember correctly, the fudge tunnel is a product of the high ratio of sugar vs. any other ingredient. It’s a cake with a surprise inside!
I was determined to make the cake; my culinary hang-up is the fact it’s baked in a bundt pan I hate bundt pans because my cakes fail to consistently release , even with a non-stick pan, and I sometimes get choppy cake chunks instead of a fully intact round ring of cake. (Perhaps it’s time to explore a Pampered Chef alternative…)
This is actually a very basic cake recipe; you cream butter and sugar, then add the liquids, then flour. Combine thoroughly, pour and bake. However, success rests on having everything ready to go before you begin– a level of preparation the French call mise en place(roughly translated “everything in place”); it generally means having your ingredients measured, chopped and ready BEFORE you begin any mixing or cooking. This recipe is a good example of the concept. Although there is one mixing bowl, life is much easier when everything else is set out in cups and containers, ready to be plopped into the bowl at the proper time. Here’s what my counter looked like before I started the mixing process; note I even have the bundt pan ready.
Once everything is prepped, it’s a matter of combining everything in the right order:
I decided to leave the bowl and mixer attachments for Ken since he was due home shortly. Glad I did, because he made First Violin, 4th chair in his middle school orchestra!
Once the batter is well combined, it’s simply a matter of popping the pan into the oven and letting it bake til it’s ready. You can’t use the toothpick test on this cake because of the tunnel, so look for cracks along the top as well as shrinkage from the sides of the pan.
For this cake, there are two cooling phases; 1.5 hours in the pan and another 2 hours on its serving tray. Don’t skimp on the time! The tunnel must cool to its fudgy consistency. When the cake has cooled, you can slather on the chocolate glaze. I left ours unadorned since Ken isn’t a huge fan of bittersweet chocolate. It will be a fitting end to our seafood fest and a celebration of Ken’s musical achievement!