Dear SOS: Now that the Pillsbury Co. has discontinued the frosting mix needed to make its prize-winning Tunnel of Fudge Cake, what should I do to duplicate the texture and taste without it? Has anyone come up with another recipe?
Dear Helen: The recipe, calling only for five basic ingredients plus a box of chocolate frosting mix, won a $5,000 prize for Ella Helfrich of Houston, Tex., at the 17th BAKE-OFF contest in 1966. The moist, rich cake with a soft, fudgy center and walnuts also has been credited for introducing a new cake pan to many consumers--the bundt pan.
According to a Pillsbury Co. press release, the recipe was so popular that housewares departments around the country were emptied of bundt pans, not to mention the frosting mix. The recipe remained popular until consumer preference for ready-to-spread canned frostings slowed down and eventually eliminated production of the type of frosting mix needed to make the cake.
Now, however, the Pillsbury Co., bending to the demands of its consumers who adored the prize-winning recipe using the defunct frosting mix, decided after a long, dry spell to whet our appetites again with a Tunnel of Fudge Cake made from scratch. Aren't we lucky?
FROM SCRATCH TUNNEL
OF FUDGE CAKE
1 3/4 cups margarine or butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups chopped walnuts
Beat margarine and granulated sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add powdered sugar, blending well. By hand, stir in flour, cocoa and walnuts until well blended.
Spoon batter into greased and floured 12-cup bundt pan or 10-inch angel-food tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees 58 to 62 minutes. Cool upright in pan on cooling rack 1 hour. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely. Spoon Glaze over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Makes 16 servings.
Note: Nuts are essential for success of recipe. Since cake has soft tunnel of fudge, ordinary doneness test cannot be used. Accurate oven temperature and baking time are critical. In altitudes above 3,500 feet, increase flour to 2 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons.
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk
Combine sugar, cocoa and milk in small bowl until well blended. Store tightly covered.
Dear SOS: I am desperately searching for a recipe for the commercial honeyed ham. The most common is very expensive. I want to serve this to about 60 people at a very special birthday party. For any help you can give, thank you.
Dear Barbara: According to one of our readers, Laura Wang, this less-expensive version of honeyed ham is close to the real thing. The recipe makes eight servings, so we suggest you either purchase a larger ham and double the recipe or prepare as many seven-pound picnics as needed over a period of a few days.
LAURA'S HONEY HAM
1 medium (about 7 pounds) smoked pork picnic shoulder
2 cups sugar
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1 cup honey or brown sugar, packed
1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice, thawed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
Make crosswise slits, 1/2 inch apart, halfway through ham to where knife touches bone. Place ham in deep bowl and barely cover with water. Stir in sugar. Soak at least 2 days in refrigerator. Drain.
Place pork in roasting pan lined with enough foil to wrap completely. Pour honey and orange juice all over pork. Stick cloves all over meat. Wrap tightly with foil. Bake at 200 degrees 6 to 7 hours or until done, unwrapping and basting occasionally with honey mixture. Unwrap and bake at 450 degrees about 15 minutes for slightly crisp skin. Makes about 8 servings.
Dear SOS: I've lost your recipe for Jalapeno Corn Bread made with cream-style corn. Please reprint it.
Dear Jean: It's yours now. We love it with fried sand dabs or other fish and stews.
JALAPENO CORN BREAD
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (1-pound) can cream-style corn
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup bacon drippings
1 cup milk
1/2 pound American cheese, shredded
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, chopped
Stir cornmeal, baking soda and salt together in mixing bowl. Add corn, eggs, drippings and milk. Stir well until dry ingredients are moistened.
Pour half of batter into greased 9-inch square pan. Combine cheese, onion and chiles and scatter over batter. Top with remaining batter and bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or until wood pick inserted in bread comes out clean. Serve hot. Makes 6 to 9 servings.
Dear SOS: While in Britain we were served a delightful dessert called syllabub, which was made with double cream. Do you suppose you might have a recipe?
Dear Reader: We do, but you'll have to settle for whipped cream. Double cream, unless found at British food stores, is generally not available here. Other readers might like to keep this traditional dessert in mind for a do-ahead holiday dessert.
1 tablespoon medium Sherry
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons dry white wine, optional