20-year-old baker uses family paczki recipe for Fat Tuesday treats

The fried cream- or jelly-filled pastries were a staple of Fat Tuesday in her Polish household, just like the “cringey” Polka music her dad likes to play.

She remembers waking up early to cut the paczki dough and prep it for rising with her father and late grandfather, so It only makes sense that her new business, Heavenly Bakes & Cakes, showcases those memories and honors her grandfather by selling paczki for Fat Tuesday, which is Feb. 16 this year.

“He was the one that used to always make them and taught my dad how to make them,” Burzynski, 20, said. “He was like the glue to the family. This family recipe, we’ve used all my life. So this year, with me having my business I was like, ‘I want to offer that to everyone.’”

For Fat Tuesday this year, Heavenly Bakes & Cakes is selling unfilled, lemon- and raspberry-filled paczki. A dozen filled confections is $23 and unfilled is $20.

There isn’t a secret ingredient to the recipe, but it does have a lot of eggs, “which makes it very dense.”

“You know, they’re paczkis,” Burzynski said, with a laugh.

Paczki aren’t the only specialty item at Heavenly Bakes & Cakes this week. Customers can get Valentine’s Day-themed goodies, too. There are cake pop bouquets, chocolate-covered strawberries and other candy creations for Sunday, Feb. 14.

The in-home business started in June 2020 with a focus on cakes, cake pops and other baked novelties. The recipes are often picked up from Pinterest with tweaks that Burzynski has made along the way.

She uses Facebook and other social media to promote her creations. Customers can order on her website, through social media chats or over the phone. She averages about 25 orders per week, though Fat Tuesday and Valentine’s Day have driven up orders to the triple digits, she said.

Burzynski used to work at the home improvement store Menards but said she left before the coronavirus pandemic. When lockdowns and restrictions were first put in place, she couldn’t find a job. It was then she decided to start her lifelong dream of owning a baking business.

Owning a cottage business has been exciting and challenging, she said. Some people decline to work with her or purchase from her because of her age. But she feels confident in the kitchen and running a business, she said, adding she gets guidance from her dad, whose kitchen she bakes in. She’s also looking for a brick-and-mortar place to grow her business.

“It’s not your normal 9 to 5 job and I get to do what I love,” she said.

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