Baker makes Swedish Lucia buns using her own breast milk

Breast milk is not usually an ingredient in Swedish Lucia saffron buns. But one food blogger has gone viral after she made and ate the traditional pastries using her own milk.

Baker makes Swedish Lucia buns using her own breast milk
Jennifer Barmer and the Lucia buns before they went into the oven. The white cream is butter icing. Photo: Private

“It was my husband who had the idea,” Jennifer Barmer, who runs the vegan food blog Living Green together with him, told The Local. “He has several friends who have baked using breast milk.”

Swedes gorge on saffron buns – called lussekatter or lussebullar – every year on and around December 13th, the day the saint Lucia is celebrated across the Nordic country.

So Barmer spent a few days collecting the spare milk left over from breastfeeding her young baby before she baked a batch of the buns a couple of days ahead of Lucia.

“They turned out great. If I hadn't known it was breast milk I would just have thought they were ordinary Lucia buns with a bit more sugar than usual,” she said.

READ ALSO: Six things not to tell a Swede on Lucia day

While Sweden has a reputation for being tolerant and family friendly, the subject of breastfeeding has been hotly debated in recent years. Add to the equation that breast milk Lucia buns are not particularly common, and Barmer's twist on the recipe quickly went viral.

The former contestant of TV baking competition Hela Sverige Bakar (based on The Great British Bake Off) said the reactions have been both positive and negative.

“Many women have said that they've also used breast milk to make for example pancakes, but have not dared to say anything. Sometimes someone has to be the first one to say it for others to dare admit it too. It shows how shameful breast milk is still considered to be.”

“Others have said things like 'yuck', 'disgusting', 'breast milk is for babies'. And these are people who drink a different kind of breast milk, from the cow, on a daily basis,” she added.

If you want to make breast milk-based Lucia buns yourself, Barmer suggests using the same amount of milk as normal, but slightly less sugar than the recipe states – unless you prefer sweeter buns.

For the less brave among you, here's a recipe for cow's milk-based Lucia buns.

READ ALSO: Swedish racer defends eating her own horse

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Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden

Do you know your biskvi from your bakelse? Your chokladboll from your kanelbulle? Here's a guide guaranteed to get your mouth watering.

Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden


The most famous of all Swedish cakes outside Sweden, the classic kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) is the symbol of Sweden abroad, no doubt helped by the fact that Swedish furniture giants IKEA stock frozen buns in their food stores for customers to bake off at home.

Forget American tear-apart cinnamon rolls baked in a pan and slathered with cream cheese frosting: a classic Swedish cinnamon bun is baked individually using a yeasted dough spread with cinnamon sugar and butter. The dough is then rolled up, sliced into strips which are then stretched out and knotted into buns, baked, glazed with sugar syrup and sprinkled with pearl sugar.

Home-made varieties skip the stretching and knotting step, rolling the cinnamon-sprinkled dough into a spiral instead which, although less traditional, tastes just as good.

Kanelbullar in Sweden often include a small amount of Sweden’s favourite spice: cardamom. If you’re a fan of cardamom, try ordering the kanelbulle‘s even more Swedish cousin, the kardemummabulle or cardamom bun, which skips the cinnamon entirely and goes all-out on cardamom instead.

Sweden celebrates cinnamon bun day (kanelbullens dag) on October 4th.

Photo: Lieselotte van der Meijs/


A great option if you want a smaller cake for your fika, the chokladboll or ‘chocolate ball’ is a perfect accompaniment to coffee – some recipes even call for mixing cold coffee into the batter.

They aren’t baked and are relatively easy to make, meaning they are a popular choice for parents (or grandparents) wanting to involve children in the cake-making process.

Chokladbollar are a simple mix of sugar, oats, melted butter and cocoa powder, with the optional addition of vanilla or coffee, or occasionally rum extract. They are rolled into balls which are then rolled in desiccated coconut (or occasionally pearl sugar), and placed in the fridge to become more solid.

Some bakeries or cafés also offer dadelbollar or rawbollar/råbollar (date or raw balls), a vegan alternative made from dried dates and nuts blended together with cocoa powder.

Chocolate ball day (chokladbollens dag) falls on May 11th.

Photo: Magnus Carlsson/


The lime-green prinsesstårta or ‘princess cake’ may look like a modern invention with it’s brightly-coloured marzipan covering, but it has been around since the beginning of the 1900s, and is named after three Swedish princesses, Margareta, Märta and Astrid, who were supposedly especially fond of the cake.

The cake consists of a sponge bottom spread with jam, crème pâtissière and a dome of whipped cream, covered in green marzipan and some sort of decoration, often a marzipan rose.

Prinsesstårtor can also be served in individual portions, small slices of a log which are then referred to as a prinsessbakelse.

Although the cakes are popular all year round, in the Swedish region of Småland, prinsesstårta is eaten on the first Thursday in March, due to this being the unofficial national day of the Småland region (as the phrase första torsdagen i mars is pronounced fössta tossdan i mass in the Småland dialect).

Since 2004, the Association of Swedish Bakers and Confectioners has designated the last week of September as prinsesstårtans vecka (Princess cake day).

Photo: Sinikka Halme, Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.


Belonging to the more traditional cakes, a Budapestbakelse or “Budapest slice” is a type of rulltårta or “roll cake” similar to a Swiss roll, consisting of a light and crispy cake made from whipped egg whites, sugar and hazelnut, filled with whipped cream and fruit, often chopped conserved peaches, nectarines or mandarines, and rolled into a log.

The log is then sliced into individual portions and drizzled with chocolate, then often topped with whipped cream and a slice of fruit. 

Despite its name, the Budapest slice has nothing to do with the city of Budapest – it was supposedly invented by baker Ingvar Strid in 1926 and received the name due to Strid’s love for the Hungarian capital.

Of course, the Budapestbakelse also has its own day – May 1st.

Kanelbullar (left), chokladbollar (centre) and biskvier (right). Photo: Tuukka Ervasti/


Another smaller cake, a biskvi (pronounced like the French biscuit), consists of an almond biscuit base, covered in buttercream (usually chocolate flavoured), and dark chocolate.

Different variants of biskvier exist, such as a Sarah Bernhardt, named after the French actress of the same name, which has chocolate truffle instead of buttercream.

You might also spot biskvier with white chocolate, often with a hallon (raspberry) or citron (lemon) filling, or even saffransbiskvier around Christmastime.

Chokladbiskviens dag is celebrated on November 11th.