We sat down with the four PhD chemists behind the Bundt cake-fueled Instagram account
@brosthatbundt (if you aren’t following them, you should be) to talk baking, science, friendship, and the art of “Bundting” in our Bundt of the Month Club.
Last year, Bake from Scratch teamed up with Nordic Ware to create the Bundt of the Month Club, the first-ever baking club entirely dedicated to making the Bundt cakes of your dreams. Each month, our resident Bundtologists in the Bake from Scratch test kitchen created and delivered an exclusive, unique Bundt recipe directly to members’ inboxes. Our editor-in-chief, Brian Hart Hoffman, kicked off the first month of baking with an Instagram post on his personal account, @brianharthoffman, captioned, “Do you even Bundt, bro?”
Turns out, a quartet of bakers and bros in arms heeded this call. To experience the Bundt cake fun together, Victoria Oswald, Ethan Hill, Jon Paretsky, and Sam Mann created the Instagram account @brosthatbundt. Soon, these scientists became specialists in a new field: Bundtology. Through all 12 Bundt of the Month Club recipes, the bros baked with us every step of the way. We chatted with the friends about their love of Bundt cake and just how this one-of-a-kind friendship began.
How did this friendship begin?
Jon Paretsky: The four of us met during graduate school at UC Irvine in Southern California, where we worked in the synthetic chemistry lab together. I started working in the lab before the other bros, so for a while, I was known as the resident baker. When Victoria started, she definitely took over that role and challenged all of us to take our baking to another level of perfection, showmanship, and entertainment.
Sam Mann: We spent a significant amount of time in grad school just eating Victoria’s baked goods. She’d bake and bring in delicious treats two to three times a week.
Victoria Oswald: The bro fest began through science, and we bonded over our shared passion for chemistry. For me, grad school provided the creative freedom to express myself not only in the lab but also in the kitchen. I attribute a lot of my growth (in both arenas) very much to the three guys I share the #bundtstagram with. I joined the lab at a time when it was predominantly—frankly, almost exclusively—male, and they took me in as one of the “bros.” They offered me both encouragement and constructive criticism on all the things, always making me feel included and supported.
Jon: We all have scales and measure out our ingredients. It’s really similar to the type of lab work we used to do—measuring out a bunch of different ingredients and mixing them together at a certain time, adding a certain temperature in a certain pan. For me, at this point in my life, my work is less in the lab, and more working with people in an office setting, so I don’t have that same satisfaction at work anymore as far as physically making things. And it’s definitely something where I feel like I can do it at home in my kitchen and still use a lot of those skills that I developed during that time. Now, I just get to make something way more delicious.
Of all the baked goods in the world, why did you decide to bond over Bundt cake?
Ethan Hill: It’s not only that the iconic Bundt cake pan’s shape itself is unique, but then you have all the varying designs and patterns for the different pans. You can have a very elegant-looking cake without having to go through the effort of frosting or designing something tedious.
How does your Bundt strategy work?
Ethan: When we started, all four of us made the first Bundt of the Month. Over the year, it’s progressed to at least three of us making the recipe every month. We all try to make it within that four-week period. The most strategy comes down to the pan. We talk about the pans a lot, more than the recipe, because I think all of us want to make the Bundt cake. Someone will always use the pan that Bake from Scratch has designated, but then we go back and forth on what other pans we will use because we want to have a little variety in our photos. Overall, the Bundt of the Month Club has given our crew another way to stay connected and, arguably, has gotten us communicating more than ever since grad school.
Jon: The Bundt of the Month Club has definitely strengthened our camaraderie and been a great way for us to deepen our connection with our fellow bros, either through social media or on the chances we have to get together and bake.
So, who came up with the catchy Instagram account handle?
Sam: When Victoria first had the idea, we were chatting about how we’d become a social media sensation. And then Jon said, “We’d be Bundt bros,” and the rest is history.
Has Instagram been an effective platform to share your Bundt cake experience?
Jon: Absolutely. It’s really remarkable that the joy we’ve found in baking together can be shared with so many other people around the world through a social media platform. In the beginning, we joked about becoming a social media sensation, but we largely were doing it for ourselves for our own entertainment. Over the year, we’ve developed a small fanbase that comments and asks us questions about the recipes and pans.
Victoria: When Brian [Hart Hoffman] commented on our first post of February’s Bundt, we were pumped. He’s been engaging ever since, and that’s been super exciting for us.
Beyond the four founding bros, does your Bundt cake crew involve anyone else?
Jon: It’s been a great opportunity for us to bond with our families. My 4-year-old son, Oliver, helps with mixing and reminds me to finish baking after he goes to bed, and most of the really nice Instagram pics you see, my wife has helped me take. My mom had been reading the magazine for a while, so when Victoria first reached out to me about Bundt of the Month, I had already been keyed into Bake from Scratch. My mom’s’s like your classic Midwest baker—she has over 20 Bundt pans—the OG Midwest Bundt baker.
Sam: We consider my mom the resident “bro-mama.” Check out our May story to see her baking along with me for that month’s recipe.
Jon: I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we have shared the Bundt love with our coworkers and our friends. We have a couple slices of cake, and the rest of it goes into the office, to the neighbors, to the lab, and everyone has really appreciated us doing the Bundt of the Month Club.
Any future happenings we can look forward to?
Sam: Someone actually recently commented on a post and said, “The bros should take on pie!” Whatever baking project we take on next, we will definitely do it “for the ’gram [Instagram].”
Victoria: I hope we continue to convey a bro-clusivity message through our platform, #brossupportingbros #girlscanbrodowntoo, and maybe even get some others jazzed up about Bundting along the way!