Celebrate with a ‘tunnel of fudge cake’

Last Tuesday, we celebrated a milestone with a fun party. The milestone was the publication of my husband’s book.
A sociologist, he always dedicated his sabbaticals to travelling in Central and South America. But now that he is Professor Emeritus, he had time to pen his first book—“The Cultural Creation of Christianity.”
There were 20 people at the party, made up of family and people who read and commented on chapters before publication. We had hors d’oeuvres and dessert, and then had a book signing.
Everyone was in a party mood. The hits of the evening were an artichoke dip my son made and a Tunnel of Fudge Cake my daughter baked.
I was motivated to serve the Tunnel of Fudge Cake because I had read the obituary of 86-year-old H. David Dalquist, the creator of the famous Bundt cake pan.
A very entrepreneurial man, Dalquist and his wife, Dotty, started a business in the basement of their house with $500 in cash. Their first products came from their Scandinavian background—Rosette Iron, Ebelskiver Pan, and Krumkake Iron.
But by 1946, Nordic Ware had a full line of cookware.
Dalquist used to say, “If you can sell it, you can usually make it.”
That attitude served him well in 1950 when the Minneapolis Chapter of the Hadassah Society asked him to produce an aluminum pan, similar to an old ceramic pan that the society’s president had received from her grandmother in Germany.
Dalquist produced the pan—a circular, aluminum cast pan with a center post and fluted sides for easy cutting.
The women named Dalquist’s pan a bund pan, after a German word that means a “gathering.” Dalquist added a ‘t’ and trademarked the Bundt cake pan.
From 1950-66, the Bundt pan was relatively unsuccessful. Only a few were sold in local department stores.
Then in 1966, Texan Ella Helfrich took second place in the 17th-annual Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest with her chocolaty-gooey Tunnel of Fudge Cake.
The cake gets its name because a delicious “tunnel of fudge” mysteriously appears inside the brownie-type crust. In order to create the tunnel of fudge, the cake must be baked in a Bundt pan.
Once the recipe was published in newspapers and magazines across the country, Pillsbury received more than 200,000 letters from women inquiring where they could buy a Bundt pan.
Nordic Ware went into round-the-clock production to meet the demand.
Then in the 1970s, Nordic Ware signed an agreement with Pillsbury authorizing Pillsbury to sell Bundt cake mixes, and Dorothy Dalquist published a cookbook containing 300 Bundt recipes.
Nordic Ware now sells more than two dozen kinds of Bundt pans, including heart-, rose-, star-, sunflower-, and cathedral-shaped pans. But the original Bundt pan is still the most popular.
To date, more than 50 million Bundt pans have been sold. “Almost a Bundt pan in every pantry,” said Dalquist’s son.
Is your pantry home to one of the 50 million Bundt cake pans sold by Dalquist’s company? If so, the next time you have cause to celebrate, why not look in an old cookbook or check the Internet for the Tunnel of Fudge Cake recipe.
You’ll enjoy a chocolaty rich treat—and become a part of a great success story!

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