Swedish Dammsugare – vacuum cleaner cake!

Vacuum Cleaner Cake??? It’s a very strange name for a cake – but it does exist.  A “dammsugare” is not a cake shaped like a vacuum cleaner, though they do look a little like those 1950s cyclinder cleaners. It name derives from the tradition of how it was first made…

Swedish vacuum cleaner cake (Dammsugare) is also known as Punschrulle (Punch Roll) and Arraksrulle (Arrack Roll). The names it has been given are in reference to its flavour and appearance – the outside is made out of green marzipan, the ends of which are dipped in chocolate. Inside there is a mix of cookie crumbs, punch liqueur, butter and cocoa powder.

The tale is that confectioners years ago used to gather cookie crumbs from the floor (which is where the “vacuum” part comes from) then mix them with punch liqueur to disguise the taste of the old crumbs. The name Dammsugare (Swedish for vacuum cleaner, literally “dust sucker”) therefore refers to the gathering of the crumbs to put inside the pastry. Punch/Arrack Roll refers to the liqueur taste of the pastry (arrack is an ingredient in punch liqueur).

The origin of the pastry however is a bit unclear. Several different confectioners claim they invented it, which makes it very difficult to pinpoint a year or country of origin. But Vacuum Cleaner (Dammsugare) is extremely widely known as a Swedish pastry and can be traced back to the early 1900s.

Today the Swedes regard it as one of their most loved coffee cakes – they eat millions each year!  Obviously, it’s not made in quite the same way now but is still as yummy.

Look out for Dammsugare when you’re next at IKEA – you’ll normally find a packet in the Swedish Food Department – or when on your next holiday in Sweden!


If you’d like to try making your own, see here for a great recipe for dammsugare.

Best regards

The Nature Travels Team

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