An Interview with Annika Naish from "Fika" Bakery in Exeter

Fika (pronounced Fee-ka) is Swedish for slowing down, taking time out and sharing a tasty snack with friends or colleagues.

However there's no slowing down with the energetic Exeter based Annika, who when not singing or composing jazz or working out at the gym, runs a very popular micro bakery business in Exeter, Devon.

She has taken some time to tell us about her baking life and to give an insight into what it’s like and what’s involved in running a small (but very busy) micro bakery.

Fika Sourdough - Beautiful Crumb!


Self-taught Annika has been baking ever since she was a little girl.

“I was inspired early on in life by my mum who baked her own bread, cinnamon buns, cakes, jam and berry cordial amongst other things, throughout my whole childhood and still does, so I guess it must have rubbed off on me. When I moved to England, back in 2000, I wasn’t terribly excited about the bakeries back then (thankfully that’s changed over the years and there are now some lovely local artisan bakeries around) and was fantasising about opening a Swedish cafe but became a professional jazz singer instead. Fast forward and when Covid hit, all my jazz concerts stopped, and so I needed to find creativity elsewhere. I started to bake more and also with my boys in between their homeschooling which took up most of my time during all three lockdowns, hence it wasn’t until the end of the last lockdown when I suddenly had an “aha!” moment. What if I could introduce the Swedish “Fika” culture and “bring a taste of Sweden” to Devon by baking traditional Swedish buns and pastries? Baking was already bringing me so much joy and really helped with my mental health. And so, the idea of launching a home-based bakery was hatched and October 4th 2021, on Swedish National Cinnamon Day, Fika Exeter was born. At first, I didn’t have a micro bakery in mind per se, and was just going to bake once a week but the buns were a success from the get go. A month later, I attended my first ever market and completely sold out. My home bakery very quickly evolved into a micro bakery shortly thereafter and the rest is history but it wasn’t planned and I could never have foreseen just how successful it would become. I have always loved baking since a young age and am completely self taught and am very proud to call myself an entrepreneur, baker and business owner.”

Annika with a Cinnamon bun (one of her own favourites)


Annika’s passion for baking is very apparent “I love the freedom, creativity and fulfilment it gives me. I enjoy challenging myself and always set the bar high, sometimes too high, ha. I love researching and developing recipes and it’s so satisfying when you get it right. Grateful for the baking community I have locally and on Instagram with like minded bakers who support each other. The most rewarding thing has to be the customer interactions, sharing my passion for baking with them and making my customers happy by selling them a bespoke handcrafted Fika goodies or sourdough bread. To see their reactions is truly a wonderful thing. My customers have been incredible from the very start and I am so grateful for their continued support. Some even travel far to get their hands on my Fika goodies and bread..”


Every day is different at Fika as Annika juggles between baking bread for wholesale customers and keeping up with demand from her food market customers, whilst sorting out the accounts, ordering, answering messages and making posts on various social media platforms “It’s an early rise pretty much every day between Monday to Saturday followed by prep, bake, or bake, prep, clean and repeat. Some days deliveries, markets and meetings added to that.” Not forgetting the amount of planning and research which fills Annika's thoughts when drifting off to sleep after a jam-packed day “It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing before I go to bed”.


Fitting a few gym visits in during the week might seem like an escape from the micro bakery but Annika is quick to point out that handling 25kg bags of flour and working the amounts of dough that go through “Fika” each week is very physically demanding “Lifting heavy weights regularly at the gym is definitely coming in handy here, ha!”


Clockwise from the top - Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Vanilla bun


Baking everyday apart from Sunday, Annika is often up at 3am to start baking (2am in the winter).

Despite the lack of sleep and the unsociable hours Annika derives a lot of her passion through keeping her wonderful customers happy, and they are very good at communicating just how happy they are “It’s so rewarding to get such appreciation for the things I love making, have carefully handcrafted and care so much about. It’s the best feeling.”


When asked about other bakers that have inspired her, Annika replied “There are several bakers who have inspired me over the years, one is Annie Hesselstad who is a top head pastry chef at Artipelag in Sweden (she even created the dessert at last year’s Nobel prize banquet). The other baker is Sebastian Boudet, he’s French and lives in Sweden. He’s inspiring on so many levels, not just as a baker but also what he stands for as it’s close to my own heart. He started a bread revolution in Sweden back in 2000 and strongly believes good bread shouldn’t be a class problem, it should be accessible to everyone. He used to run a very successful bakery in Stockholm but closed it down a few years ago to travel all around Sweden, and still is, to educate people on how to bake sourdough bread and other baked goods using non-commodity wheat, instead organic Swedish stoneground heritage flour supporting local farmers and millers. He’s an advocate in environmental issues and wants to make people aware, to make the right choices, to make them eat more clean organic food that won’t have an impact on our climate and destroy our soil and planet.”


The sought after "Fika" sourdough

Swedish buns, Princess cake and Fika Sourdough are some of the most popular items on the menu at “Fika” although the cardamom bun is one of Annika’s personal favourites, but we would also recommend trying the Rye Raspberry biscuits or the ‘Dammsugare’ (a boozy little chocolate cake covered in green marzipan).


When asked what makes “Fika” different? Annika replied “I specialise in authentic Swedish buns and pastries. I carefully source the ingredients and as locally as I possibly can. My flour, dairy and eggs come from nearby millers and farms. I use organic unrefined sugars, stoneground UK grains over imported commodity wheat. I’m a perfectionist for my sins, ha! and so I take a lot of care and pay attention to every detail with each and every bake to make sure it’s as good and consistent as it can be.”


Having made over 15,000 Swedish buns since starting “Fika” Annika is quite adept at turning out consistently high-quality goodies, but pushing her own boundaries is something that Annika can’t resist and the challenge of fulfilling orders that would be more suited to a larger bakery, are some of the reasons that “Fika” has survived and flourished. “Careful planning and good workflow are imperative and especially when your business is a one woman show”.


It is safe to say that “Fika” would not be where it is today without the use of social media, as Annika points out using the myriad social media platforms was a great way to find new customers.

If you are thinking of starting your own micro-bakery Annika says that planning, sourcing quality products and creating your own niche all help with getting established.

Selling to wholesale customers and attending local food markets will help to grow your business but be sure to use time to calculate your costs so as not to cut yourself short.  


Another tip shared for the budding micro-baker is to find a bakery or baker that you like and ask to spend the day helping them out to get a taste of what it’s like and gaining valuable experience.


Princess cake.

The best way to find and support Annika and her “Fika” micro bakery is to follow her on social media to find out where the next pop up is.

On Facebook, Twitter (X), Instagram and on Google search for "Fikaexeter".

Look out for her website hopefully up and running in late Autumn this year.




Annika has shared her Swedish scone recipe which is well-worth a go!