Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan (podcast)

May 26th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
A Swiry pan named Dorothy and her faithful journal Toto, photo courtesy Jenni Field

A Swirly pan named Dorothy and her faithful journal Toto, photo courtesy Jenni Field

A cast aluminum Bundt cake pan with a swirl design, that’s named Dorothy, plus a journal named Toto started their journey across North America in 2013 as the center of what a multiple-year project called The Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan.

Home bakers from the US and Canada who signed up to be in the Peoplehood bake a cake in the pan before sending it off to the next baker on the list.

This ambitious project is the brainchild of professional pastry chef, Jenni Field, who spoke with me by phone from her home in North Carolina. “My motivation was simply to try and give as many people who wanted to use the pan a chance to do so,” she told me.

The project was inspired by a giveaway she conducted on her website  — — which generated a lot of excitement. Jenni said she wished she could give everyone a pan; and then inspiration struck.

Why not have everyone whose interested share one pan?

She shared the idea on her blog and Facebook page, and it was an immediate hit. “I think we spend so much time isolated in front of our computers that the idea of this physical object that’s going to pass from hand-to-hand is just exciting.”

In just a few weeks after she presented the idea to her fans and followers, the number of people signed up for the project was nearing 300. And a separate group of bakers started their own Peoplehood group in Australia. The organizer there is Rachel Elich, owns and operates the blog The Untamed Cook.

The pan swirling its way Down Under is named Matilda, “As in Waltzing Matilda.”

Gorgeous swirly cake by Jenni Field

Gorgeous swirly cake by Jenni Field

Jenni Field said, “I didn’t intend to name the pan, but when Rachel in Australia named hers Matilda I thought, we ought to name ours, too. The Name Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz fit, since she had some amazing adventures in new places before returning home.”

Matilda concluded her journey down under, but Dorothy and Toto are only two-thirds through their travels. Jenni says the pan even took a detour and ended up in Japan.  The journal named Toto (they are on Toto #2), is where bakers enter their experience with the pan, including the recipe they used, and the recipient of the cake. “Not everyone will keep the cakes they bake. Some have special people they plan to give the cakes to. One member of the Peoplehood told me she plans to give her cake to first responders.”

Although several hundred bakers initially signed up for the Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan Project, not everyone was willing or able to wait months or years for their turn. So in the end, about 100 bakers will have baked a cake in this popular pan before it heads down the Atlantic seaboard and back home to North Carolina.

Jenni says: “We’re about creating community one cake at a time.”

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