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OK, so I've started a project to recreate the original "Tunnel of Fudge" cake.


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According to the book, American Cake by Anne Byrn, The original Tunnel of Fudge cake was created by Ella Rita Helfrich for the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-off in San Francisco. he came in second in that competition, but won in the long run, as her cake is still remembered today, while the winner (Mari Petrelli, with her Golden Gate Snack bread) is mostly forgotten. What really made the cake stand out is Helfrich's secret ingredient, A box of Pillsbury Double Dutch Fudge Buttercream dry frosting mix. When baked into the cake (in a Fluted Bundt pan) it supposedly oozed a fudgy chocolate filling, thus "Tunnel of Fudge." That mix above is what I really need to focus on, as it is no longer made by any real company, as such, I am stuck making my own.

 

We can assume that it was based around an American Buttercream, which is composed of four primary ingredients, Butter, Confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and a Flavoring (also some salt usually). Since this is supposed to be a dry mix, the one semi-liquid ingredients will need to be changed, that being butter. I have managed to find several different dry butter powders on the internet, so current ingredients would be:

Butter powder

Confectioner's sugar

Double Dutch Cocoa Powder. (found in specialty baking stores, some groceries, and online)

 

Any advice you guys can give would be extremely welcome. it may be a bit before I can really launch into this, as I get paid every 2 weeks, nevertheless, any advice or opinions would be welcome.

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pillsbury also has a version on their website these days, but i suspect the one linked above would be a good option. at least a few bloggers have substituted jiffy's fudge frosting mix instead. but, while i'm not against anything some might describe as "chemicals," i find those premade and boxed frostings just never taste as good as building one yourself. since the original ingredients are no longer made, anything you make will be a different version, so i'd go ahead and use the actual chocolate suggested. especially because, no disrespect intended, you're making quite an assumption about those four basic ingredients; i imagine that the mix was probably sugar, crisco, maltodextrin, and cocoa. maybe with some emulsifiers, salt, and flavour.

 

 

Edited by jimb0 (log)
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9 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

pillsbury also has a version on their website these days, but i suspect the one linked above would be a good option. at least a few bloggers have substituted jiffy's fudge frosting mix instead. but, while i'm not against anything some might describe as "chemicals," i find those premade and boxed frostings just never taste as good as building one yourself. since the original ingredients are no longer made, anything you make will be a different version, so i'd go ahead and use the actual chocolate suggested. especially because, no disrespect intended, you're making quite an assumption about those four basic ingredients; i imagine that the mix was probably sugar, crisco, maltodextrin, and cocoa. maybe with some emulsifiers, salt, and flavour.

 

 

I admit that I'm making some assumptions about the ingredients in dried buttercream, but it does seem to make sense to me. I really don't like using chemicals like that in my baked goods, but I will if I have to. I'm going to maybe do some experiments with the ingredients I suggested above, and see what happens.

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right but that's my point - you're already going to be making something that isn't the original cake, especially if you don't want to use a bunch of stuff like crisco and maltodextrin (chemicals that aren't scary, it's just vegetable fat and cornstarch under a different name). why go out of your way to use something like powdered butter that was never used in the original cake when you could just, you know, use butter? imo you have two options: you can hew very closely to the original, or you can recreate the original using tastier ingredients that are easy to find. 

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6 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

right but that's my point - you're already going to be making something that isn't the original cake, especially if you don't want to use a bunch of stuff like crisco and maltodextrin (chemicals that aren't scary, it's just vegetable fat and cornstarch under a different name). why go out of your way to use something like powdered butter that was never used in the original cake when you could just, you know, use butter? imo you have two options: you can hew very closely to the original, or you can recreate the original using tastier ingredients that are easy to find. 

Ah, but I’m not talking about the cake recipe, not yet, but I will. I’m talking about powdered butter on the dry frosting mix that acts as the “secret ingredient.”

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@Matthew.Taylor, are you wanting to use a single batter mixture (like molten lava cake)? Or are you talking about using two different "batters," the tunnel part being a separate batter that you "layer" / spoon between two "layers" of the main cake batter?

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14 minutes ago, MokaPot said:

@Matthew.Taylor, are you wanting to use a single batter mixture (like molten lava cake)? Or are you talking about using two different "batters," the tunnel part being a separate batter that you "layer" / spoon between two "layers" of the main cake batter?

I've managed to dig up a copy of the original recipe. (The American Table: Tunnel of Fudge Cake (1966)) And it definitely says that the buttercream mix is mixed into the dry ingredients.

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28 minutes ago, Matthew.Taylor said:

Ah, but I’m not talking about the cake recipe, not yet, but I will. I’m talking about powdered butter on the dry frosting mix that acts as the “secret ingredient.”

 

i am aware, which goes back to my first post: i don't think there was any powdered butter in the cake. i think that "frosting mix" is going to be crisco and sugar and cocoa powder, salt, a lecithin, and some flavouring. if you aren't willing to use those things why go out of your way to use powdered butter since there was very likely not any in the original cake? why not just use real butter and cook it so that you get a chocolate cake with the fudgy centre? 

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1 hour ago, jimb0 said:

 

i am aware, which goes back to my first post: i don't think there was any powdered butter in the cake. i think that "frosting mix" is going to be crisco and sugar and cocoa powder, salt, a lecithin, and some flavouring. if you aren't willing to use those things why go out of your way to use powdered butter since there was very likely not any in the original cake? why not just use real butter and cook it so that you get a chocolate cake with the fudgy centre? 

Ah, my bad, I misunderstood you.  It’s just that by my logic, the original secret ingredient for the TOF cake was a dry buttercream mix, I assumed that logically it would have been based on American buttercream, which is categorized normally as being made of butter, vanilla, confectioners sugar, and some salt. As such by the logic I was going on, to make a dry buttercream powder mix, powdered butter would be the replacement for the butter.

 

so in order to stay true to the original recipe (which, under my logic, would include a good deal of butter), I would need to include powdered butter in the buttercream mix.

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i know what american buttercream is. but butterfat has a short shelf life in comparison to something like vegetable oil. i’m willing to bet that the powdered buttercream was either a mix of shortening and sweetener, or it’s like their modern mix which is just sweetener and powdered dairy and cornstarch, and you whip in your own softened butter. it’s possible that the original mix had no fat in it at all - milk powder is often adding to baked goods like cookies and brownies to help create a fudgy texture. 

 

i really think you’ll be happier shooting for your goal of something that is the cake’s spiritual successor in terms of flavour and texture versus trying to recreate a powder that we don’t have an ingredients list for. 

 

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2 hours ago, jimb0 said:

i know what american buttercream is. but butterfat has a short shelf life in comparison to something like vegetable oil. i’m willing to bet that the powdered buttercream was either a mix of shortening and sweetener, or it’s like their modern mix which is just sweetener and powdered dairy and cornstarch, and you whip in your own softened butter. it’s possible that the original mix had no fat in it at all - milk powder is often adding to baked goods like cookies and brownies to help create a fudgy texture. 

 

i really think you’ll be happier shooting for your goal of something that is the cake’s spiritual successor in terms of flavour and texture versus trying to recreate a powder that we don’t have an ingredients list for. 

 

Maybe so. I'll try to look into the old product online (if there is any actual info about it out there), But you may have a point. Vegetable oil could possibly imply that the original has something in common with what we now call Devil's food cake. Milk Powder also makes sense as one of the defining characteristics of this cake is a fudgy texture.

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