Peanutty-Chocolate Tunnel Cake

Posted on Feb 2 2011 - 8:00am by RetroRuth

Pillsbury's Bake Off 21001

You know, I spend a lot of time thinking about food.  I mean, mostly it’s bad food, but no matter how bad it is, it is still food.

A lot of other people think about food, too. In fact, many people are obsessed with it.  I mean, look at “food porn” . What in God’s name is that? Well, mostly it’s when people talk about great photos of multi-layered gooey chocolate cakes or wet-looking roasted chickens in mixed company. Sometimes it is when a Food Network star takes a bite of something and they go into convulsions and their eyes roll up into the back of their head. Which I think is supposed to be a good thing. Or something. Apparently food porn is supposed to be really, really good.

So, if that is food porn, what is the stuff that I make?  “Food Scorn”?  What is the opposite of food porn?  Your whole family (including grandparents) around the supper table sawing away at a dried up husk of a pork roast? How about food like “Fried Peas & Lettuce.” Or “Cheese-Frankfurter Loaf?”

Those all sound pretty unappetizing. Very Un-Porn. (Wait, maybe that is the word for the MCMenu!)

So, what happens when I make something on the MCMenu such as, oh I don’t know, Peanutty-Chocolate Tunnel Cake??  Something that might actually be good?

Peanutty-Chocolate Tunnel Cake001

Huh. Maybe the universe will explode.

Wait for it…..


Nah. Guess we are okay.

Anyway, this week’s recipe is once again from the Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook from 1970. Because I LOVE those crazy Bake-Off books!

Peanutty-Chocolate Tunnel Cake001






Who wants to shove their face into this bowl of sugar?


Yeah. That would be me.




So, I realized AFTER I put this layer in that I probably shouldn’t have spread it around so much.  I think I kind of lost the tunnel effect and it just became a layer.


The tunnel’s burst! Quick Lassie, get Pa!




Eh. That’s still a pretty respectable tunnel.


I don’t think this tasting was as fun for Tom.  It didn’t have the same element of “danger” as our normal meals.



But it turns out the cake was good enough to lunge at it.




“This is good cake.”

The Verdict: Yummy.  The vanilla part of the cake was very good, and tasted vaguely like a sugar cookie.  It had a great texture. The peanut butter layer was also good, it was fudgy and very moist.  The only complaint I had was that the vanilla part really didn’t go that well with the “tunnel”.  If I was going to make it again, I would make it all vanilla, and serve it with strawberries or mix the chocolate in with the whole cake and make it allllllllllll fudgy. But still a good cake.

And yes, it was good with ice cream. Just like Mrs. Lane promised.

Do you have a fun or horrible recipe for the Mid-Century Menu?  Send us your recipe and if we use it on the blog, you get a vintage cookbook!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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10 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. ae February 2, 2011 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Mmmmm…. Need some good comfort food today!

  2. Annie B. February 2, 2011 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Mrs. Lane looks like she’s wearing a meatloaf on her head – or a very large brownie.

    The cake looks great, Ruth; but then, I’ve never met a cake I didn’t like.

  3. Sara in AZ February 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    LOVE how Tom drops the fork and commences to lunging! 🙂 Poor, poor tunnel- hee! This cake looks SO good I think I need some right now girl, quick – send some with Lassie!

  4. Becky February 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    This looks like a good one! And can I say how much I love that your ingredients shot is half “Great Value” products…looks just like my kitchen.

    Per the previously mentioned blueberry boy bait recipe – I have discovered, to my horror, that the cookbook went out to the charity thrift shop, in my last bi-monthly burst of “oh my god I have too many books and no shelves for them this is ridiculous I have to get rid of some.” I even went to the shop to re-buy it, but someone else is enjoying it. I did discover that if you google “Blueberry Boy Bait”, you hit some recipes, a couple of which say they are the original. It won the Bake-off in the mid-50’s.

  5. Andrea February 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Hee, you would think that tom would look more excited at the prospect of eating something that might actually taste good, LOL.

    Now I am torn – I have to bake a cake this weekend for my mom’s b-day. I had it all planned out as to what cake I was going to make, but now I am debating on this one instead …

  6. RetroRuth February 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    I know, Ma! So…snowy….

    Annie, she looks like she has something crazy up there! Maybe it is a backup recipe…

    Sara! Lassie is on her way, but it may take her a while to get through the snow!

    Becky – Generic is the only way to go! Don’t worry about the Blueberry Boy Bait. I will keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, I will take any other horrible/hilarious recipes that you find as your half of the bargain. I still have PLENTY of cookbooks to send you. 🙂

    Andrea – What cake did you have planned? I am curious! If you do end up living on the wild side and making this, I would frost it with a milk chocolate ganache, crumble a Heath Bar on top and serve it with ice cream!

  7. Andrea February 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    The cake I had planned is what is referred to in my house as “Gramma Mitzi cake”. It is a German style sponge cake, with a really light whipped cream based frosting. My grandma used to make it all of the time, hence what we call it. So, quite different than this cake, but I do have a bundt pan that doesn’t see much action, so now I am debating …

    • RetroRuth February 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Andrea – I have an idea, just make them both! 🙂 Yum!

  8. sablemable February 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    I’ll have to try this. I have a Bake-Off book that has a lemon tunnel cake, so maybe I’ll try it.

    Your tunnel looked good, Ruth. And don’t give me this dried-out pork roast routine because I KNOW you are a very good cook! Nah!

  9. veg-o-matic September 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I have this cake in the oven right now. What sold me was Tom lunging at it. Can’t beat a good lunge cake!

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