Dammsugare. It’s Swedish for “vacuum cleaner”.

Really, over in Sweden, in old Stockholm town, they really do have a cake named after a household appliance.

Unsurprisingly, there are a couple of theories about how these things came to have such a curious name. The first (and probably more likely to be right) is that these cakes resemble the cylinders of old vacuum cleaners. The alternative is to do with what actually goes into them – no, not dust, but you do use cake crumbs. So…the story goes that these little fellows were created as a way of using up cake crumbs at the end of the day – they “vacuumed” them up, in a manner of speaking.

Origins aside, these are a real Swedish classic.

The “crumb” filling is a mixture of plain cake mixed with softened butter, cocoa and punsch. That’s punsch, not punch. It’s a Swedish liqueur made from Batavia arrack, which is sweet and flavoured with spices. If you can find it, use it, but otherwise, a glug of rum or spiced rum would do the trick. I am sure that the filling is probably sweeter if you use punsch rather than just rum, but the next stage will make that consideration one for purists only. For the filling is then wrapped in marzipan, and each end dipped in chocolate. Even the most ardent marzipan lover would have to admit that the stuff is darned sweet, so you’re not really going to be missing a little sweetness that you would have had from punsch rather than Caribbean dark rum.

What is great about these treats is that there is no baking required – if you’ve got to make them in a hurry, you can be done within the hour. It’s also good fun to make with kids, who will adore the mixing, the mess and the lurid green of the marzipan, although you might want to skip the booze.

And as for the green colour – I quite like them to be a lurid shade of green. I skipped the usual natural food colourings that I tend to favour and went for bright green. I don’t think they would have the same retro charm is they were a muted shade of delicate pistachio. These were shocking minty-green and all the better for it.

So there you go – you can make them in less than an hour, no real baking needed, and they look pretty. Great to enjoy with coffee as part of a morning fika…and for those sniggering, fika is the Swedish term for morning coffee. Perfectly innocent after all, eh?

To make dammsugare (makes around 10):

For the filling:

• 250g cake crumbs (e.g. vanilla sponge)
• 75g unsalted butter, softened
• 20g unsweetened cocoa powder
• 40ml punsch or rum

To decorate:

• 300g marzipan
• few drops green food colouring
• 200g dark chocolate

To make the filling:

Put everything into a bowl and mix well until you have a soft dough. It will be a little sticky and slightly crumbly. Form into 10-12 rolls.

To decorate:

Add some food colouring to the marzipan and knead well until evenly coloured. Sprinkle a worktop with icing sugar, and roll the marzipan into a long strip 2-3mm thick (you might find this easier in two or three batches).

Use the marzipan to cover the portions of dough – get a good seal on the underside, and pinch the end closed. Roll the marzipan-coated dough on the worktop to get a smooth finish. Keep going until all the dough pieces are covered.

Next, melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, and dip the ends of each dammsugare into the chocolate. If you want them to look professional with glossy chocolate, you can either temper the chocolate, or take the easy option – skip the tempering, and put the dipped dammsugare on a plate in the fridge to harden.

Worth making? Yes, they are quick, easy, fun and charmingly retro. Give ’em a try!


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

15 responses to “Dammsugare

  1. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been tempted to make these but thought they might be too fussy. I am now inspired to give them a try!

    • Yes, do try making them! Of course, you can just make a couple to test the recipe if you want to, and go with the fridge trick to do the chocolate. Let me know how they turn out!

  2. peasepudding

    How gorgeous are they? Chocolate, marzipan and a bit of booze, what more could one ask for in a cake.

  3. Oh, a few glugs of rum never hurt the kiddies! 😉

    These look really yummy–I have to admit liking marzipan in almost all forms, but I really like the dark brown + mint green color combination of these.

  4. I’ve had these, they are fantastic. We have something similar in Danmark only they are called Træstammer (wooden logs). This post made me smile, thanks for sharing it.

  5. Pingback: תסמונת שטוקהולם » טאק סא מיקט!*

  6. petit4chocolatier

    So delicious looking!

  7. Emma R

    In London you can get Punsch from TotallySwedish http://www.totallyswedish.com and they also sell ready to roll out green marzipan 🙂

  8. Jeff

    It’s so disapointing that you only could get them in “Old Stockholm Town”. I was hoping that I could find them in every café or supermarket in Sweden..

    • Of course you’re right! But starting a post with “When you walk into a branch of ICA in Alby, guess what you can buy pre-packaged?” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

  9. Rachel

    I LOVE these and am so excited I can make them for friends and family here in the states!! Thank you for this recipe!! Do you think I could use imitation rum flavoring for preparing these for someone who had an allergy to alcoholic rum?? Would the flavor be similar enough? I think the rum flavor really makes it and I hate to leave it out!

    • Hi Rachel – I think you probably could use rum flavouring, but I would just be very careful about how much you add as they can be very strong. Start with less, and add a few drops until it tastes just right. I had a bad experience when I confused rose water with rose extract. Needless to say, the resulting cakes did not have a delicate rose flavour, but tasted like perfume!

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