Who can resist cute little cakes with a great name? If you’re a marzipan lover and fancy an easy delicious cake project, you’ll adore these. This classic Swedish teatime treat is called Dammsugare, vacuum cleaner, because it’s shaped like a 1920s hoover and ‘sucks up’ leftover cake or cookie crumbs for the filling. They’re also called punschrulle (punsch rolls) or arrak rolls after the Swedish alcohol traditionally added to the filling. Not everyone has this punsch readily available but apparently it’s quite strong, with touches of spice and citrus. So some of my little cakes combined hazelnut liqueur and dark rum (enough to pack the required punch) with a glutenfree almond and orange sponge found hibernating in my freezer. You can use any alcohol or liqueur (or juice/milk) and sponge or cookies! In my second batch I used homemade refined sugarfree custard cookies and shop-bought glutenfree sponge fingers. I didn’t add sugar to the filling and my homemade marzipan is a little healthier, with a higher ratio of ground almonds; ground birch xylitol can partially replace the reduced amount of icing and caster sugar.
So these little cakes are light, delicious and not too sweet! They’re also no-bake and super easy – fun to make with kids. Mash up cake or cookie crumbs, butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, a little jam and liqueur to make a delicious moist filling; then cover with a thin layer of marzipan, optionally shop-bought. Tada! All ready for fika! 🙂 Swedish teatime here we come…
The batch in the photo above are made with the custard cookies and sponge fingers. The filling was like a chocolate truffle and delicious.
The first batch (below) was made with moist cake crumbs and had a lighter, softer texture…
Yes, these first prototypes were greener – bright but fun. They got darker and shinier in the fridge but when frozen reverted to a relatively pale and matt state. The frozen filling also becomes a little chewy – they’re very tasty almost straight out of the freezer!
Anyway, if you’re tempted, gather up some leftover crumbs and give them a go!
My dammsugare are adapted from the Scandikitchen recipe. The quantities and alcohol used differ from the original recipe and I improvised the cookie version. You can adapt as you wish and also make them pale pink or plain marzipan-coloured. I was using leftover homemade marzipan from my Swedish Princess cake, so pale green it was.
Marzipan (almond paste)
- 100 to 120g/around 4oz marzipan, shop-bought or homemade
Homemade: I used this homemade lower-sugar marzipan (recipe here) but you can also follow my egg-free and sugar-free birch xylitol marzipan recipe here.
Crumb filling – adapt quantities according to the cake or cookie crumbs you’re using
- 100g/1 cup cake or cookie crumbs (I used cake crumb from my optionally gf moist almond and orange sponge – recipe here)
- 15g/1 tbsp softened unsalted butter
- 5g/2 tsp pure unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp apricot or (traditionally) raspberry jam – optional
- 9g/2 tsp hazelnut liqueur or some other liqueur
- 5g/1 tsp dark or white rum
(you could replace the alcohol with orange juice, milk or cream)
Cookie crumb adaptation: 30g fine custard biscuit crumbs + 70g fine sponge finger cookie crumbs (1 cup of crumbs in total); 30g/2tbsp butter; 5g/2tsp cocoa powder; 1 tsp apricot jam; 10g/2 tsp dark rum; 5g/1tsp Grand Marnier orange liqueur; 1/2 tsp anis liqueur; 1 tsp whipping cream. There was more butter in this version, plus cream, to help moisten and bring the filling together.
- A little icing sugar for rolling
- 100g/1/2 cup dark chocolate drops if using a small container (150g/3/4 cup for a wider bowl) – there will be chocolate left over.
Printable illustrated recipe (pdf here)
I finally made 4 shorter logs (each 9.5cm long and easier to handle) instead of 2 longer ones. For the cookie version (which was less moist) it was easier to shape a sausage by pressing it together instead of rolling it out under my hands.
Seal then trim. You don’t need to temper the chocolate – it sets immediately on the pre-chilled cakes and stays firm when stored in the fridge or freezer. Yay!
It helps to wipe your hands regularly as you go along but they’re still a bit messy. Still, no need for perfection – they’re yummy!
Eating and storing
Store in airtight tupperware up to 4 days in the fridge and serve chilled or bring to room temperature 20 minutes or so. They can be stored up to a few months in the freezer and eaten almost immediately or after defrosting a while.
A little history
It’s difficult to trace early vacuum cleaner cakes. Apparently there’s a knowledgeable punsch rolls expert called Mats Karlsson who suggests the earliest versions were developed in the 1920s and 1930s (see the Swedish Spoon website for more information on this, and on dammsugare in general). By the way, wouldn’t you love to be a famous cake expert?
Anyway, connoisseurs usually mention that dammsugare were born out of the Swedish bakers’ desire to reduce waste by using up leftover cake or cookie crumbs. Which is a great idea! Having said that, these little cakes are so tasty and pretty, I’d be tempted to bake a fresh sponge cake just to make some!
No need to get them from IKEA when you can easily make your own better version. Do please help yourself to a little piece of heaven – a mini dammsugare, vacuum cleaner cake.
Thanks for dropping by for another virtual teatime, dear reader. Wishing you a lovely week with all the sweet or savoury treats you need. Happy baking, no-baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x