A package arrives addressed to the Ninja Baker. Inside the box a sliver of silver gleams. Digging through the plastic peanuts, I discover Dorothy: A bundt pan so named by The Peoplehood of the Traveling Swirly Pan. A ruby journal (Toto) dutifully leans against Dorothy. And appropriately a spatula with the red shoes is revealed. I love this brainchild project of Pastry Chef Online, Jenni Fields. She’s recruited a community of bakers from around the world. We bake a bundt in the Dorothy pan and share bits of our heart in the Toto journal. After the experience – hopefully wiser and happier - we send the pan and journal to the next baker so that eventually Dorothy will make her way back home.
I look for inspiration and land upon the idea of a gluten-free yellow brick road bundt cake. Topped with my magical Emerald City matcha sugar sprinkles. For the batter, vegan butter as sweet as Dorothy and as golden yellow as the brick road is beat to fluffy perfection. I pour in 2 bags of gluten-free yellow cake mix. 4 eggs are beaten in one at a time. Next a stream of French vanilla coconut milk creamer and vanilla extract are stirred in.
The gluten-free yellow cake batter is turned over into the Dorothy pan. (Of course, the ridges of the swirly pan are heavily coated with canola oil. I need the cake to slip out of the pan easily. I must send the bundt pan safely home.) Sticking with the Dorothy, Toto, and Wizard of Oz theme, I swirl in vegan cream cheese spiked with Japanese plum wine. To make the swirl a prettier red, I sprinkle in beet powder. A rose pink emerges. Sooo lovely. Oh boy, Pinterest perfection is on its way!
My hopes are high. Promising scents of sweet butter baking with flour and coconut milk fill the house. Fast-forward 70 minutes, my gluten-free yellow cake is baked to golden perfection. And yes, 30 minutes later, the cake slips easily out of the pan.
I whisk together premium Japanese green tea matcha powder with cane sugar. I sprinkle the Emerald City matcha magic atop the cooled cake. Finally, I slice into the moist, baked all the way through (whew!) cake…But, wait! Where’s my pretty nod to Dorothy’s red shoes swirl? The golden yellow way has swallowed the red swirls….Still, the cake looks good. Moist and rich…I take a taste. Yes, perfection. Especially with the green tea matcha sugar crunch.
I’m disappointed that my cream cheese Japanese plum swirl isn’t apparent. But what might’ve happened had I not added the ruby red Japanese cream cheese? Would the cake taste as rich and moist? Just because we can’t always see the beauty, the magic maybe it’s still there…And leading us home.