- This Swedish teacher’s freezer always has something sweet in store for surprise guests. Minna Paavola’s kitchen always has the basic baking ingredients. This born baker might be inspired to bake at any time, and then there’s no stopping her.
“If I start to make buns or rolls, I can bake something else while I wait for the dough to prove,” says Paavola.
This means that she also has something sweet to serve with a cup of coffee in case surprise visitors turn up, and treats for her children’s basketball tournaments are created in no time at all.
“The children’s hobbies were what finally led to this getting a bit out of hand, even though I have always enjoyed baking. But tournaments started the mass production”, says Paavola and laughs.
She prefers easy recipes and baked goods that can be frozen. A seasoned baker can make a gluten-free Swiss roll, for instance, alongside other baking, and it’s easy to also grab something for those with dietary restrictions from the freezer for a tournament kiosk table.
“Maybe different kinds of cheese cakes are my signature dishes but when baking, I’m not a fine tuner but a basic home baker who prefers basic ingredients. It’s easy to do a few different sorts when I get started and I’ve never run out of treats, so I always make enough.”
For Paavola, baking is primarily a way to relax. When the baking starts, the kitchen is often Mum’s territory for a few hours. The rest of the family knows to stay clear.
“For me, baking is the best pastime. I bake always when I have the time,” she says.
Sometimes Minna Paavola’s students also get to enjoy her treats.
“Sometimes I serve afternoon coffee for groups. It’s a nice way to acknowledge them”, says the baking Swedish teacher with a smile on her face.
Minna’s tips for decorating baked goods
Decorations are not my forte but I know a few easy tricks to make nice decorations.
Drawing or writing with chocolate
“Write or draw anything you like on a baking sheet. Melt the chocolate in a plastic sealed bag, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and trace the outlines of the drawing or text with chocolate. Use a toothpick to spread the chocolate.
Let the decoration set in the freezer and move it on top of a cake before serving.”
Legos and other toys
“You can make interesting children’s cakes when you wash Legos or Pet Shop characters and decorate a cake with them. But remember to tell everyone that they’re not edible.”
Spring baking tip
White chocolate cake for all celebrations
200 g of chocolate biscuits, digestive biscuits or any biscuits of your choice
80 g of melted butter
Crush the biscuits (e.g. in a bag with a rolling pin), melt the butter and mix it with the biscuit crumbs. Place a baking sheet on the bottom of a loose-bottomed cake tin (24 cm). Pour the biscuit and butter mix in the tin and pat it flat with a spoon.
200 g of plain cream cheese
1½ dl of sugar
100 g of white chocolate
1½ tsp of vanillin sugar
5 gelatin sheets
2½ dl of double cream
Place the gelatin sheets in cold water to soften. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Whisk the egg white into a foam.
Whisk the cream. Melt the white chocolate carefully in a microwave oven or in a water bath, if you so prefer. Mix the cream cheese with the sugar and the yolks. Add the melted white chocolate.
Boil some water with a kettle. Squeeze any surplus water out of the gelatin sheets and soak them in a small amount of boiling water (approx. ½ dl). Mix the gelatin mix together with the cheese and chocolate mix.
Add the whisked cream and finally the egg white foam.
Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base. Let the filling set in the fridge until the following day, preferably.
This cake also be frozen!
3 gelatin sheets
2 dl of orange juice
Place the gelatin sheets in cold water to soften. Let them soak for at least 5 minutes.
Boil some water and soak the gelatin sheets in that. Mix the gelatin and water with the orange juice. You can place the mixture in the fridge for it to start setting. Remember to mix every once in a while. Once the mixture is starting to set, spoon it over the set cake. Let the glaze set in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
Chocolate pussy willows
5–6 pieces of dark chocolate
3–4 pieces of white chocolate
Melt the chocolate in a small sealed plastic bag in the microwave. Cut open the corner of the bag and pipe some twigs on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer to set. You can pipe white chocolate in the similar style on top of the twig to create pussy willows. You can make these decorations in advance and store them in the freezer.