My Recipe Box

Pumpkin-Ginger Tunnel Cake


Serves 12 to 14

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 125

This not-too-sweet cake gets a double dose of ginger: dried ginger in the spice mix used to flavor the cake and finely diced crystallized ginger in the cake’s creamy filling. To make chopping sticky crystallized ginger easier, lightly oil your knife.

For the filling
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped crystallized ginger
For the cake
  • Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour; more for the pan
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin purée
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Make the filling

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, ginger, and salt on medium speed until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition just until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and then the crystallized ginger. Transfer to a 1-quart liquid measure and set aside.

Make the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl.

Whisk the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. In 3 or 4 additions, add the dry ingredients, whisking well between each addition.

Fill the prepared Bundt pan with about half of the batter. Stir the filling to redistribute the chopped ginger. While dragging a large serving spoon through the center of the batter to create a trough, pour all of the filling into the trough; it may overflow the trough a bit, which is OK. Carefully spoon the remaining batter on top and spread to cover.

Bake until a skewer inserted all the way to the bottom comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate and remove the cake pan. Cool completely. (If not serving the cake within a couple of hours, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days; serve cold or at room temperature.) Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 450, Fat (kcal): 25, Fat Calories (g): 220, Saturated Fat (g): 8, Protein (g): 7, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9, Carbohydrates (mg): 54, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 6, Sodium (g): 440, Cholesterol (g): 110, Fiber (g): 2,

Photo: Kate Sears

This is the second time I have made this cake. This time I just made half of the filling and this worked out just fine. 12 oz of cream cheese was way too much. I also used half AP flour and half white whole wheat to build the flavor. Rose to the top of the bundt pan. Came out a treat.

I have made this several times now, but I only make the cake and not the filling. It makes a great gingerbread. For the sugar, I use 1/2 white and 1/2 brown. I am tempted to replace the oil with applesauce, but haven't done that yet.

Sadly, a bit disappointing. Like others, I had the problem with the trench for the filling, and the fact it took 20 minutes longer to bake. Even then, the batter was still raw near the filling and the outside was dry/overcooked. Filling texture was "eggy" and almost curdled. Nice concept, shame it failed.

I made this for thanksgiving and was a little disappointed... until I refrigerated it. When it's refrigerated, that's when the flavors come out. I don't know why, it makes no sense, but it was an entirely different cake and now I can't get enough of it. I also had no trouble tunneling it, it turned out just like the picture. I'm SO going to be making this again. Delicious! Also, I couldn't find crystallized ginger so I grated about 2 Tablespoons of fresh ginger into the filling instead. And I substituted the vegetable oil for the same amount of melted butter.

Agreed with the lack of trough situation, also cooked it almost 20 minutes longer than the recipe states. I was very disappointed with the taste, however. In spite of all the spices, I tasted none. Absolutely none! With a whole tablespoon of ginger! It was a great idea, but fell flat on flavor. I might try this again and see if I can goose the flavor, but I think I'll make the pumpkin-Ginger Pound Cake for Christmas instead of this one.

Made this cake to test before Thanksgiving. Great taste, longer cooking time than advertised. I, too, had the same problem with the batter not forming a trough, so no tunnel effect like the picture.

Very good cake. I wonder though if pumpkin puree can be replaced with other fruit purees, such as apple sauce or a mashed banana, so as to make differently flavored cakes. Does anybody know or tried such substitutions? Thanks.

A bit disappointed that it was such a small cake. Smallest bundt cake I ever made. The filling was delicious but thought there were too many spices in the cake. Not grand enough for Thanksgiving.

I have made this cake three times since seeing it in Fine Cooking. It has the best pumpkin flavor and the crystalized ginger it that perfect zing on your tongue. Great reviews every time I served it. It did not tunnel as the picture shows,and it did need more time. I have yet to figure out why it didn't tunnel as shown. If someone else tries it and it looks like the picture, please pass it on. Even without the tunneling, it is the best flavor ever and I will continue to make it. So great to celebrate Fall. This would be a 5 star except I wanted it to look like the picture.

I took this to work, and it was virtually gone before noon. Everyone gave it very high compliments for flavor and moisture ( I had to bake it for almost 20 minutes longer than suggested in the recipe before the skewer came out clean, checking every 5 to 8 minutes after the 45 minute direction in the recipe). I use an oven thermometer, which indicated the temperature was correct. The suggestion to use a lightly oiled knife to finely chop the crystallized ginger was a big help. The one thing that did not work was creating a trough in half of the batter. The batter was not thick enough to create that trough, but no one cared, as they all loved the well distributed filling, as well as the cake. Even those who do not like pumpkin loved this cake. It is definitely one that I will make again. Several asked for the recipe, even the couple who do not like pumpkin pie.

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