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Tunnel of Fudge Cake for the people you love

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The Runaway Spoon

(Read caption) Tunnel of Fudge Cake can be sprinkled with powdered sugar or drizzled with chocolate glaze.

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Before molten lava cake or chocolate fondants or fallen chocolate cake there was Tunnel of Fudge Cake. It’s a classic recipe, and I am sure many people have their own version. Tunnel of Fudge Cake is possibly the recipe that I have been making longer than any other, and more often. My mother passed this recipe on to me; she’d gotten it from my cousin and kept it in her little tin recipe card box. I was what we now call a tween, and just getting into cooking. Chocolate cake, of course, was one of the reasons I was interested in cooking at all. And this version, with its soft, gooey chocolate center made me feel sophisticated and gourmet, like I really knew how to cook something special. I still use my mother’s heavy Bundt pan that may well be older than me for this cake. It’s the best cake pan ever, nothing sticks and it makes a lovely ridged and pointed cake. Anything that comes out of this pan is instantly beautiful to me. I have never been attracted to the new-fangled pans that make tree or castle or tower-shaped rings, because I am so attached to the old Bundt from mama’s kitchen. Now that I think about it, I am a little worried she doesn’t know I have it and might demand it back.

When I first started making this cake, chocolate only came in squares and chips, semisweet or “baking” chocolate. And that is certainly how I used to make it. Mostly with semisweet chips. And that works just fine. But I have moved on to the high-quality chocolate that is so readily available now. I love using bittersweet chocolate for the rich, deep flavor it creates – a really intense chocolatiness – but good semisweet works as well. I have also switched from mixing by hand to using the stand mixer. It gives the eggs and sugar a nice fluffiness that translates well in to the cake. Other than that, this is the same recipe I have been using for all these years. I know it by heart.

Part of the beauty of this cake is its malleability. Tunnel of Fudge is gorgeous on its own, but drizzle a simple powdered sugar or chocolate glaze over it and take it up a notch. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar or cocoa powder to pretty it up. Add a little liqueur instead of the vanilla – amaretto, grand marnier, framboise – and it takes on another dimension. Serve it with sweetened whipped cream, ice cream, caramel or fruit sauce, whatever takes your fancy. I’ve been serving this to people I love for years. I hope you will, too.

(See the recipe, next page)

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