It has been dreary and overcast for four days here. I am enjoying the cool weather while it lasts, because I am very aware of how stifling and uncomfortable it will be when the thermometer gets pinned to 100F for a few weeks in the summer.
It is Spring, May 2, 2013. I am 47 years old, and I live in Garner, North Carolina. My parents live in Indian Trail, North Carolina. We just celebrated Auntie Leenie’s amazing 93 year run on this earth this Tuesday.
Sammy is 14 years old, and we’re not sure how much longer we will have him with us, although he is happy and healthy. We cherish every day we have with him. The rest of the “kids” are four (except for wee, gray, scrappy Lester, who is two).
This morning, I went berry picking with a friend and her twin two-year-old boys. We knelt to pluck ripe strawberries—only the red ones; not green ones, not white ones, not orange ones. We fed carrots to horses named Bacall and Cooper.
I tell you all these things to fix this moment in time, so I remember exactly what I was doing and where I was living and who I was with when The Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan launched. This is the genesis of a project that will take years to complete, and it may not ever be completed.
And that’s okay. It is exciting.
Last night, I baked a very special cake for a very special person. I baked it in the swirly pan. Or rather, I baked it in The Swirly Pan. The Heritage Bundt Swirl Pan by NordicWare. Dorothy. This is but the first of many cakes that Dorothy will shape with her nine magnificent swirls over the course of who knows how many years. Mine are the first set of hands to have made a batter specifically for her.
Now that I have baked my cake, I will make sure that Dorothy is shiny and clean. I will write down my recipe in the journal and pack up Dorothy (and Toto, too) to send to the next pair of hands, to the next heart, to the next member of the Peoplehood.
As I write, we are 186 strong. We live all over the United States and Canada. Dorothy even has a sister pan, Matilda, who will swirl around Australia.
We are a Peoplehood, The Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan, and we will each have our turn to bake in Dorothy and to journal our experience. We will share with each other on twitter, on facebook, on Google +. And yes, there will be a website soon. We will even have a theme song. No, I am not kidding.
Maybe some of us will blog about how it was when it was our turn to bake, our turn to add to Dorothy’s story. Hopefully many of us will meet to hand deliver the pan, to share a cup of coffee or some lunch. Maybe some of us will even bake together.
Through this project, the Peoplehood will be a community united by shared experience, by fun, by food and by sharing.
All of our cakes will be special. All will have special, magical stories attached to them. When we bake together, even one at a time and with miles and miles between us, we are connected. Each cake will add to the Peoplehood’s Story.
I am overwhelmed by the response that this project has gotten so far. I invite you to join us and to add your own story to the ongoing narrative of the Peoplehood. It is never too late to join; Dorothy will be happy to swirl indefinitely. I see her as a needle who stitches all the Peoplehood together into a beautiful, riotously colorful quilt, one unique patch at a time.
And my special cake? The one that I baked last night? I will mail it to my friend in New England, because she is a gem, and her hands made for a group of us what our own hands could not so that we could show yet another friend how much we love her.
Here is my special cake; I’m sharing it with you so you can make one too.
This batter will fill the 10 cup swirly pan with enough batter leftover to make 3-4 cupcakes or a small 6″ round layer. If you have a 12-cup Bundt pan, this batter fits perfectly.
- 13 oz cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 5 eggs
- 5½ oz plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 3½ oz freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice
- 1 oz freshly squeezed, strained orange juice
- 12 oz unsalted butter
- 20 oz granulated sugar
- 1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1½ lemons
- ⅛ teaspoon lemon extract
- 3 drops orange oil (or ¼ teaspoon extract)
- Preheat oven to 350F, and set a rack to the one-below-the-center setting.
- Spray your pan/s with a light coating of oil/flour spray or just regular spray followed by a thorough dusting with flour. Knock out any excess flour. Set asie
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- Crack all the eggs into a quart pitcher and whisk well. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and orange juice. Set aside.
- Cream the butter until smooth.
- Add the sugar, salt, zest, orange oil/extract and lemon extract.
- Cream until very light and fluffy, scraping bowl as necessary. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium speed, slowly start drizzling in the beaten egg, just a bit at a time, over the course of 5 or so minutes. Scrape bowl as necessary.
- With the mixer off, dump in half the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on low and count to 5. Then, pour in half the yogurt mixture.
- Turn off the mixer. Scrape the bowl and then dump in half of the remaining flour. Turn the mixer on low, count to five and then pour in the rest of the yogurt.
- Turn the mixer off, dump in the rest of the flour, fold together by hand a few times, making sure to reach all the way to the bottom of the bowl and all around the sides.
- Put the bowl back on the mixer and turn it to high speed for 3 seconds.
- Scrape and smooth the batter into the prepared pan/s.
- Bake until done. For a 12-cup Bundt, it takes about an hour. For the Swirly pan, it takes about 50 minutes. For a small cake, about 35 minutes and for cupcakes, 18-20 minutes.
- When cake/s test done, remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 20 minutes for Bundt cake/Swirly pan or about ten minutes for regular layers.
- Turn cakes out. For extra moist cake, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge or freezer.
- Serve at room temperature.
If you do want to glaze it, you can mix together some powdered sugar with a pinch of salt and some lemon and orange zest and juice. Whisk until smooth and then glaze.
Please, if you would like to join the Adventures of Dorothy and Toto through the Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan, fill out this form on the Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan website and I’ll make sure you’re on the map.
I look forward to the Voyage.
If you’re already in the Peoplehood or are seriously thinking about joining, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you think of the project so far. I’m open to questions, suggestions and even an Attagirl or two!
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.