Funny Finnish-ism: sand cakes and “ei paha”

Spring is here, although you wouldn’t know it by the snow and sleet flurries we’ve had the last couple of days. This means that the sandboxes are no longer covered in snow and the muddy-sandy bog that they had become, has dried up enough to be called a sandbox again. It also means the sandboxes can be played in, much to the children’s delight!


Here in Finland, kids make “sand cakes” (hiekkakakku*) instead of a “sand castles”. (Unless they are specifically making a sand castle, then they might call it a hiekkalinna.)

And when kids have filled up a bucket/container, flipped it over and before they have taken said bucket/container off the creation, they will often say a little rhyme while tapping the top/bottom to ensure that they get a “good cake”.

Älä tule paha kakku, tule hyvä kakku!
Don’t come a bad cake, come a good cake.

I don’t remember anything like this from growing up or since then, in the US. So this was quite new and charming to me when I first moved to Finland. These days, it is  normal and cute.

Even cuter, is when Paxlet was first learning to make sand cakes, he would only say “ei paha” (no/don’t bad) while performing said  and the last syllable would be higher pitched than the rest. Nowadays, he’s becoming a pro at making sand cakes and has no problems saying the rhyme in its entirety.

*As I googled hiekkakakku to make sure I was spelling it correctly and as one word, I got many hits on an actual cake-type with this name. Most seemed to involve some cognac in the recipe.


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