Serves 12 to 14.

Note: For additional flavor, toast the nuts (spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees, shaking pan once or twice during baking, until they begin to give off an aroma). Dutch-processed cocoa is a richer, darker cocoa, treated with alkali to neutralize cocoa's natural acidity. Adapted from Cook's Country magazine. Glaze adapted from "Baking" by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin, $40).

• 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

• 1/2 c. boiling water

• 3/4 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for pan

• 2 c. flour

• 2 c. walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

• 2 c. powdered sugar

• 1 tsp. salt

• 5 eggs, at room temperature

• 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

• 1 c. granulated sugar

• 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar

• 11/4 c. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan

For glaze:

• 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

• 1/2 c. heavy cream

• 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

• 2 tbsp. water

Directions

To prepare cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess. Place bittersweet chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Add boiling water, whisk until smooth, cool to room temperature and reserve.

In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, walnuts (or pecans), powdered sugar and salt and reserve.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together eggs and vanilla extract and reserve.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add egg mixture and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add chocolate mixture and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth batter with a rubber spatula and bake until edges are beginning to pull away from pan, about 45 minutes; do not overbake (do not use a cake tester, toothpick or skewer to test the cake).

Remove to a wire rack and cool, upright, for 1 1/2 hours. Invert cake onto serving plate and cool completely, at least 2 hours.

To prepare glaze: Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine cream, granulated sugar and water and bring to a boil. Pour liquid over chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, gently stir chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at center of bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles.

Leave glaze at room temperature until it thickens just enough to pour in a ribbon, about 20 minutes. Drizzle glaze over cake and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.


PEAR-SPICE BUNDT CAKE

Serves 12 to 14.

Note: "This is a slight twist on applesauce cake, relying instead on a homemade pear sauce," writes Martha Stewart in "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook" (Clarkson Potter, $40). "The cake can be made a day ahead. Keep it at room temperature, then glaze it just before serving."

For cake:

• 1/2 c. granulated sugar

• 2 1/2 lb. (about 5) ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 11/2-inch chunks

• 3 c. flour, plus extra for pan

• 2 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. salt

• 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 3/4 tsp. ground cardamom

• 3/4 tsp. ground ginger

• 1/2 tsp. baking soda

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan

• 13/4 c. packed dark-brown sugar

• 1/4 c. honey

• 4 eggs

• 1/2 c. milk

For glaze:

• 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted

• Pinch of salt

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 3 tbsp. milk, plus more if needed

Directions

To prepare cake: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, spread granulated sugar in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, until sugar around edge of pan melts and begins to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spoon, slowly stir until all sugar has melted and mixture is translucent and golden. Add pear chunks to caramel and stir to coat. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until very soft, 8 to 10 minutes, swirling pan occasionally.

Using a potato masher, mash pears until they are broken down but still slightly chunky. Continue cooking, uncovered, 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, let cool completely and reserve.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, baking soda, pepper and nutmeg and reserve.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter, brown sugar and honey until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour. Add reserved pear sauce and mix to combine, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed; do not overmix.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth batter with a spatula. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until cake is a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Invert cake onto a wire rack set over a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool 10 minutes. Once cool, pour Cream Cheese Glaze (directions below) over top of cake, letting some drip down sides.

To prepare glaze: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add salt, lemon juice and milk and mix until smooth. If glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.


CRANBERRY-ORANGE BUNDT CAKE

Serves 12 to 14.

Note: Adapted from "Bundt Cake Bliss" by Susanna Short (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $16.95).

For filling:

• 8 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries

• 1/2 c. water

• 2/3 c. sugar

• 1/2 tsp. almond extract

• 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice

For cake:

• 2 1/2 c. flour, plus extra for pan

• 2 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan

• 1 c. sugar

• 3 eggs

• 1/2 tsp. almond extract

• 1 c. sour cream

• Finely grated zest from 1 orange

For glaze:

• 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice

• Juice of 1/2 lemon

• 1/3 c. sugar

Directions

To prepare filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, water, sugar, almond extract and orange juice. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly until cranberries begin to pop and mixture thickens. Remove from heat, remove 10 to 12 intact cranberries to a small bowl, allow both mixtures to cool to room temperature and reserve.

To prepare cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, tapping out excess.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and reserve. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter for several seconds. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add eggs and almond extract and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add sour cream and orange zest and mix until just incorporated.

Scrape 1/2 of batter into prepared pan. Gently spoon about 1/2 of filling into batter, taking care not to let filling touch sides of pan. Spoon remaining batter on top. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of cake clean. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a serving platter.

To prepare glaze: While cake is baking, place a small saucepan over medium heat and combine orange juice, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve until cake is finished baking. While cake is still warm, gently brush glaze on cake. When cake is completely cool, spoon remaining filling over top and stud with remaining whole cranberries. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

CHOCOLATE-OAT BUNDT CAKE

Serves 12 to 14.

Note: From Michelle Gayer, pastry chef at La Belle Vie and Solera in Minneapolis. When Gayer was pastry chef at the Franklin Street Bakery, she created this moist, delicious cake as a tribute to her mother, Janice, a school cook in Alton, Iowa, who made a 9- by 13-pan version of it for her family. "It was always my favorite cake when I was growing up," said Gayer.

For streusel

• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

• 2 tbsp. brown sugar

• 1/8 tsp. salt

• 2 tbsp. cocoa powder

• 2 tbsp. rolled oats

For cake

• 3 c. boiling water

• 2 c. uncooked rolled oats

• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan

• 5 tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted, plus extra for pan

• 2 c. granulated sugar

• 2 c. brown sugar

• 4 eggs

• 3 c. flour

• 2 tsp. baking soda

• 1 tsp. salt

• 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

To prepare streusel: In a small bowl, combine butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cocoa powder and rolled oats. Working with your hands, rub ingredients together until butter is thoroughly blended and mixture appears crumbly. Reserve.

To prepare cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal, butter and cocoa powder. Pour boiling water over oats mixture, stir until well-combined and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Using a spoon, stir in sugar and brown sugar. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips until well-combined. Spread batter into prepared pan, smooth batter with a spatula and sprinkle reserved streusel evenly over top of batter. Bake 45 minutes, until cake pulls away from sides of pan and top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Invert cake onto a serving plate and cool completely. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.


CLASSIC TUNNEL OF FUDGE CAKE

Serves 12 to 14.

Note: This recipe was first published in the Star Tribune by now-retired food writer Al Sicherman on May 20, 1999. "Popular as the cake became, over the years the whole idea of dry frosting mix withered in the face of tubs of ready-made frosting, and eventually Pillsbury (and Betty Crocker) canceled their frosting mixes, leaving Tunnel of Fudge Cake high and dry," wrote Sicherman. "Happily, Jiffy, maker of small mixes for muffins and single-layer cakes, still makes a one-layer chocolate frosting mix, and two boxes of it work fine in Tunnel of Fudge Cake."

For cake:

• 11/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan

• 11/2 c. sugar

• 6 eggs

• 2 (7 1/2 -oz.) pkgs. Jiffy fudge frosting mix, divided

• 2 c. flour, plus extra for pan

• 2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

For glaze

• 2 to 3 tbsp. boiling water

• Reserved frosting mix

Directions

To prepare cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, tapping out excess. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine butter and sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Set aside 3/4 cup frosting mix. Using a spoon, stir in remaining frosting mix, flour and nuts. Stir until well-blended; batter will be very thick.

Pour and scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 55 to 60 minutes. A brownie-like crust develops earlier than that; don't be fooled. The cake's center is supposed to be gooey, so you can't test with a toothpick; time and accurate oven temperature must be your guide. The top should be set; if edges are beginning to pull away from sides of pan at shorter time, it's done. Remove from oven and cool upright in pan on a wire rack for 11/2 hours. Loosen cake from pan as thoroughly as possible (a grapefruit knife or narrow, flexible metal spatula can be helpful) then invert onto serving plate; cool at least 2 hours.

To prepare glaze: In a small bowl, sift reserved frosting mix. Stir 2 tablespoons boiling water into mix and blend well, whisking or beating to dissolve small lumps. Add water until glaze reaches desired consistency and spoon glaze over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

SPICY APPLESAUCE BUNDT CAKE

Serves 12 to 14.

Note: "Filled with golden raisins and chopped pecans, this moist, spicy cake tastes even better the second day," wrote author Catherine Hanley in "Blue Ribbon Winners: America's Best State Fair Recipes" (HP Books, $18.95). "It keeps well and needs no frosting." The cake was created by Clara Hess of Columbus, Ohio, and was an Ohio State Fair winner.

• 3 c. flour, plus extra for pan

• 2 tsp. baking soda

• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 1 tsp. allspice

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan

• 1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar

• 1 c. granulated sugar

• 1 egg

• 2 c. applesauce

• 1 c. golden raisins

• 1 c. chopped pecans

• Powdered sugar for decoration

Directions

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, allspice and salt and reserve.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well-incorporated. Using a spoon, stir in flour in two batches, alternating with applesauce and beginning and ending with flour. Stir in raisins and pecans.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, carefully even out batter and bake 60 to 70 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Invert cake onto a serving plate and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Cover lightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.