Serious Eats: Sweets
Cakespy: Tunnel of Penuche Cake
Jessie Oleson (aka Cakespy) drops by every week to share a delicious dessert recipe. —The Mgmt.
Perhaps you've heard of Tunnel of Fudge Cake. In spite of its titter-worthy name, this rich, nutty fudge cake with a gooey center and chocolate glaze is a modern classic. It was entered into the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off, and it's largely accepted as the recipe that made bundt pans a must-have item, and a predecessor of the chocolate lava cake trend.
But for those of you who aren't into the chocolate overload of the famous Tunnel of Fudge Cake, I have configured a sweet counterpart: the Tunnel of Penuche Cake.
If fudge is the inspiration for the original, penuche (a "blonde" fudge made with brown sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla) is the muse for this honey-hued variation. The dense cake is somewhat blondie-like, redolent of brown sugar and butter and studded with bits of pecan. Although the gooey center effect is far more subtle in this version than the original— it's more like a slightly softer and richer cake in the center, giving way to a lightly crispy edge— it's still extremely pleasant to eat. Ungarnished, this would make a fantastic breakfast cake; when topped with a generous coating of butterscotch sauce or dulce de leche, it is suitable for eating any time of day.
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About the author: Jessie Oleson is a writer, illustrator, gallery owner, and cake anthropologist who runs Cakespy, an award-winning dessert website. Her first book came out in October 2011; she is currently at work on her second book.