Monday 23 November 2020


These Swedish punsch bars or "vacuum cleaner cakes" (Dammsugare) are one of my ultimate favourite cakes and I was more than impressed with my homemade version! 

Their slightly strange nickname is in reference to their 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 sponge cake, punch liqueur, butter and cocoa powder.

Legend has it that many years ago trainee bakers used to gather leftover cake 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 be put inside the pastry. Arrack, a sort of Swedish high percentage spiced liquor, is usually used to give the bars their extra kick but I used Kraken rum which worked a real treat,  I actually even preferred it in terms of taste compared to the traditional version.

I managed to buy a ready-made and coloured sheet of marzipan from my go-to store for all things Scandi, the Scandinavian Kitchen, but you can as easily make your own with some marzipan, food colouring and elbow grease.

Yes, these little cakes may sound and look a bit odd but they are one of the most famous Swedish cakes for a reason, trust me! You'll be a committed hoover cake fan in no time!

Be warned, they are a little fiddly to make but once you get the hang of it they are fairly easy to rustle up!


  • 75 g (⅓ cup) butter or margarine, softened
  • 5 tbsp icing sugar 
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 250 g (1¼ cups) cake (fairy cakes, muffins or any leftover cake)
  • 4 tbsp Swedish punsch (or 2 tbsp of rum, I used Kraken rum )
  • 350 g marzipan
  • 1 tsp green food colouring 
  • OR
  • 1 sheet of coloured marzipan (you can order it here at the Scandinavian Kitchen)
  • 75 g dark chocolate

  • Put the butter, sugars and cocoa powder in a food processor.
  • Whizz briefly until evenly mixed.
  • Add the cake and rum and whizz until evenly mixed.
  • Cut two pieces of greaseproof about 37½ cm x 10 cm each.
  • Divide the mixture between the two sheets and roll into two long sausages, trying to ensure that each sausage is an even diameter, something that is easier said than done!
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (a crucial step to make assembly easy)
  • Unroll your green marzipan sheet on a clean work surface OR in a bowl gradually add green food colouring to the marzipan, mixing until it is the desired shade and evenly coloured and roll out until you get a thin sheet.
  • Cut it into 6 cm wide strips.
  • Cut the cake filling into equal sized pieces
  • Roll each one up with marzipan.
  • Chill them for at least 30 minutes.
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and then carefully melt it in a microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Dip one end of each roll into the chocolate mixture and then transfer it to some greaseproof paper until the chocolate sets.
  • Repeat with the other end of each roll. (I found that if I tried to do both ends at once the chocolate sometimes run down the marzipan.)
  • Transfer to a tray lined with greaseproof paper and refrigerate until required. (Don't take them out too early or they will lose their shape.)

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