Lucky Peach’s Illustrated History of the Molten Chocolate Cake

Illustrations by Brianna Harden, via Lucky Peach

Illustrations by Brianna Harden, via Lucky Peach

1966: The first known cake with a deliberately runny center is the Tunnel of Fudge Cake—the second-place winner of a Pillsbury bake-off in 1966. Invented by Texan housewife Ella Helfrich, the cake is a walnut-flecked Bundt cake with a wet fudge center, which Ella achieved by the pretty ingenious inclusion of powdered frosting. (The original recipe called for Pillsbury’s “Double Dutch Dry Frosting Mix,” which would, in the oven, cook into a runny, pudding-like “tunnel.”) The cake put Bundt pans—created in the ’50s, but never particularly popular—on the map, and proves what’s now nearly scientific fact: Nobody doesn’t love a cake with a runny center.

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