Citrus Explosion Pound Cake for the Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan Project

peach blossomsIt 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.

Sam the CatSammy 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).Lester the Cat

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.

Strawberry PickingI 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.

Cake in Heritage Bundt Swirl Pan by NordicWareLast 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.

Heritage Bundt Swirl Pan by NordicWare and JournalNow 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.

Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly PanAs 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.

Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan

Peoplehood member, graphic designer and soon-to-be bakery owner/operator Suzi designed our logo.

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.

Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly PanI 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.

Citrus Explosion Pound Cake
Recipe type: Very Special Peoplehood Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This cake is aptly named. Neither wholly lemon nor wholly orange, it's a nice mix with a lovely citrus bite. I think you'll enjoy it.

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.
What You Need
  • 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)
What To Do
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, and set a rack to the one-below-the-center setting.
  2. 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
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Crack all the eggs into a quart pitcher and whisk well. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and orange juice. Set aside.
  6. Cream the butter until smooth.
  7. Add the sugar, salt, zest, orange oil/extract and lemon extract.
  8. Cream until very light and fluffy, scraping bowl as necessary. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Put the bowl back on the mixer and turn it to high speed for 3 seconds.
  14. Scrape and smooth the batter into the prepared pan/s.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Turn cakes out. For extra moist cake, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge or freezer.
  18. Serve at room temperature.
Other Stuff to Know
You can certainly glaze this cake if you want, but a dusting of powdered sugar will do just fine.

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.








  1. Art Good says

    Incredibly awesome! Also a bit intimidating now. I joined this as a challenge to myself to bake something from scratch. Excited to see where this thing goes!!!

  2. says

    I’m so very excited to be involved in The Peoplehood! I can hardly wait to meet Dorothy, and to tell Toto (and the rest of the Peoplehood) all about it!

  3. Rachel Weber says

    This is one of the most awesomest things I’ve ever been a part of! Thanks, Jenni, for organizing all of this. I can’t wait for the day I get the pan…though, I hope it’s a ways in the future so I can spend some time reading the journal while the cake bakes 🙂

  4. says

    What a great start! I am kidnapping said recipe and making ASAP!! Love that you do the wrap and freezer trick. People are turned off by the thought of the freezer and cake but it makes for awesome, moist cake…I use to be a freezer snob until I read that Collette Peters wraps and freezes. Changed my cake making life!

    • says

      I used to be a freezer snob too, until I read that some sugar flower guy (I cannot for the life of my remember his name and I’m too lazy to run upstairs and find his book) wrote about it. I turned up my nose thinking, “Ew. Wet cake. Gross.” Then I read that someone else did it, so I figured I’d give it a go.

      If I have enough time, I just let it cool all wrapped up on the counter. Otherwise, it’s the fridge or freezer.

      And I hope you love this cake–I am Supremely Happy with the way it turned out, Suzi!

  5. Jo-Anne says

    Beautiful story to set the tone. I want to tell you that my Weight Watcher leader has created the Traveling Tracker. A WW 3 month food journal. Each week for the next 3 months, a different member takes the tracker and tracks his/her food in it. It so reminded me of Traveling Swirly Pan (aka Dorothy).

  6. Nicole Shepherd says

    Perfect my friend! What better way to start this out, than with a lovely heart-felt post?! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this whole Swirly Pan movement Jenni. I love how this quickly this went from a “wouldn’t that be cool if…..” kind of thing, to a “We’re actually doing it!” kind of thing! Swirly Panners UNTIE!!!! No no no, Swirly Panners UNITE!!! 😉 Mwah my friend! I’m so eager with anticipation to see what everyone will come up with, and to read the stories that they share. This has blossomed into a baker’s dream! I’m so happy for you and for all of us that get to be a part of this huge project! *HUGS* And now I’m going because I’m becoming teary eyed lol 😉

    • says

      Do you need a Kleenex, my friend? =)

      This really has turned into a huge and amazing thing! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. And yes, it makes me a little weepy. So sue me. 😉

      • Nicole Shepherd says

        Who’s Sue? Is she in the Peoplehood? 😉 And so you know, I actually did accidentally type “untie” instead of “unite”. Then I worked it into the comment because I thought it was too funny not to keep lol! 🙂

  7. Cheryl Bennett says

    Wonderful post Sissy! I wrote a looong comment, but it seems to have disappeared
    Very proud of you & so proud to be a part of the “Peoplehood”!

  8. breabella says


    SO excited to be part of this!

    I think we need to put together a cookbook at the with all of the recipes we baked in Dorothy. Maybe each person could write a little snippet with their recipe in your book, and at the end of Dorothy’s journey, it could be put together. I’d even volunteer to do it for us.

    • says

      Oh, there are just so many possibilities to build lasting memories through this project! Recipes and stories are what the journal is meant to collect; I think we will end up with a very special book at the end (or as it goes along)! Thank you for offering; I will keep you posted!

  9. says

    Tickled pink to be in the initial group! Thanks for starting in Houston so that I could take part. I would have been sad, very very sad, if I had had to watch from afar with no hope of a turn with Dorothy. And the journal! Maybe each person could take and post photos of the pages they fill before sending it on, so we can follow the journey of Toto as well? A page by page photo album. I am getting SO EXCITED.

    And P.S. That citrus explosion cake is the perfect inaugural Bundt. Starting the Traveling Swirly Pan off with a bang!

    • says

      Oh!! That is a fantastic idea! I will let folks know that it would be great to scan their journal entry (or take a pic of it) and share it with the rest of us. You are so smart!!

  10. lovina says

    OMG have been glimpsing through your post and didn’t know what an enormity is going on here love the idea !! Amazing!! The cake sounds delicious shall try it in leisure :)) love to the swirly pan and the genius who came up with this idea

    • says

      It is so exciting, Lovina! I expected to have maybe a large handful of people join, and I had no idea that it would catch on the way that it has! I can’t recall where you live off the top of my head, but if you’re in US/Canada or AU, I’d love for you to join in! And if you’re elsewhere, you can start your own peoplehood. How cool would it be to have pans swirling all over the world?!

      • lovina says

        That’s a brilliant idea Chef ….hopefully we will make The News and the headlines would be ” The peoplehood of the swirly pan” is an exceptional baking treasure that is being discovered all over the world. love the book idea !!!

  11. Lisa @ Cooking with Curls says

    OMG…this is so exciting!!! Such a lovely send off for Dorothy and Toto. I am already practicing to come up with a cake worthy of Dorothy’s journey 🙂

  12. says

    This has got to be one of the most fun blog adventures yet. I am anxious to read about how Dorothy fills our lives and tummies. You were inspired to start the Peoplehood!

    • says

      It was one of those off-the-cuff status updates over on fb that started it all. I said that I wished I could buy everyone a swirly pan and then just tossed out “maybe I’ll send one to swirl around the country so everyone can bake in it.” The response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive, so I couldn’t *not* do it! It has turned into such a cool thing, Kristen! I’m very happy you are a part–long swirl the Peoplehood! =)

  13. Emily Jelassi says

    The cake looks delicious. I’m excited to be a part of this growing community. Not sure how long it’ll take for Dorothy to get to me, but it’s definitely worth the wait 🙂

    • says

      It’s going to take quite awhile to get to Maryland, but I’m going to keep the community as interactive as possible through social media so we can all enjoy the ride, whether it’s our turn or not, Emily! 🙂

  14. Camille says

    I just love this idea, and the anticipation of joining when I eventually make it back to the States dulls the pain of knowing I have to leave France a little. 🙂 And I agree with other commenters about a book, but I see no reason one couldn’t actually be published out of the whole project.Of course, there would have to be some editing/recipe testing, but the book basically writes itself! All in all, a fabulous and exciting project. Way to go!

    • says

      Yay, Camille! I’m glad that Dorothy and Toto will help mitigate your sadness over leaving France. But I for one and Thrilled that you will be back here so I can meet you In Person and Hang Out and have you be in the Peoplehood! =)

      I have my eyes on a book as well. And you’re right; it really does write itself. My kind of book! 😉

  15. Mari's Cakes says

    Jenni, I love this project.I wish I was in the states, I would join for sure. Your cake looks delicious! I look forward to following all the community cakes of Peoplehood!

    • says

      Where are you located? There’s a Peoplehood in Australia and one starting in the Philippines. And if you don’t live in either of those places and are feeling Spunky, you can start your own Peoplehood where you are! Of course, you are more than welcome to just follow the project and enjoy all the cakes! And if you are inspired to bake one, do share it on the fan page–that would be wonderful, Mari!

  16. bigbearswife says

    I can’t wait to see where Dorothy and Toto go ! I also can’t wait to have them visit here!

    • says

      I am thrilled that everyone is excited about this project, Angie! I’m hoping that not only will a bunch of wonderful cakes be baked, but that folks will connect through this project and find new friends and new ways to do some good for others in the name of the Peoplehood! =)

  17. The Ninja Baker says

    Wow! This is an explosion of citrus =) I’ve clipped my 2nd recipe from you today.

    Fascinated by North Carolina (my husband is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate), the customs of the South…I’m so happy you are the leader of this fun Peoplehood =)

    P.s. Completely understand about your love of kitty cats and not wanting to think about age. My darling pure white Kiku is currently curled up on my legs.

    • says

      I am so happy we have found each other through Stacy! And now we’re Peoplehood members together–I am so happy! =)

      You should come out and visit. NC is gorgeous, even if I am a bit biased. We’re only about 45 min from Chapel Hill. Really pretty town!

      Love to Kiku from Lester, Sam and (unpictured) Camille, Ruthie and Alice. <3


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