From the magazine:
Fifty years ago, a home baker from Houston single-handedly brought the Bundt pan back from the brink of extinction. The Nordic Ware company in Minneapolis had produced the fluted tube pan for more than a decade, but sales were so low they were thinking about discontinuing it. Then, in January 1966, Ella Rita Helfrich entered the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off with her Tunnel of Fudge Cake - a chocolate Bundt cake with a soft fudgy center.
Ella Rita didn't win the contest (she took the $5,000 second-place prize), but her cake started a craze: Pillsbury received more than 200,000 letters and phone calls asking about the pan, and Nordic Ware started manufacturing Bundt pans seven days a week to keep up with demand. Ella Rita, for her part, was featured in magazines and newspapers and made regular department store appearances to autograph Bundt pans for excited fans. When she died last July at the age of 98 more than 60 million Bundt pans had been sold, and the Tunnel of Fudge Cake remains one of Pillsbury's most-requested recipes.
To honor Ella Rita, and the 50th anniversary of her cake, our test kitchen chefs created three more Bundt cakes, each with its own surprise inside.Here are FNM's recipes: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake, Jelly Doughnut Bundt Cake and Peanut Tunnel of Fudge Cake.
|Pic snicked from Pillsbury's website.|
And here's the cake that saved the Bundt pan: Tunnel of Fudge Cake.