Sunshine Semlor

This is recipe for an authentic Swedish semla made by my friend Louise Vernerstrom from Falun, Sweden. Semlor are pastries that were originally exclusively eaten on Fat Tuesday. However, they are so good that that tradition has changed drastically. Many serve it all year round.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
14 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 4 mins
20 semlor



  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ½ cups almond milk (heated to 82 degrees F (28 degrees C))

  • cup butter, melted

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Almond Paste Filling:

  • ½ cup milk

  • 5 ounces almond paste, grated


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, or to taste


  1. Mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

  2. Combine warm milk and melted butter in a bowl. Add yeast and stir until completely dissolved. Mix in eggs and cardamom. Stir in flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 1 hour.

  3. Punch dough down gently and divide into 20 pieces; shape into balls. Arrange balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  5. Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 20 minutes.

  6. Cut 1/2 inch off the top of each bun to make a 'lid.' Scoop out the core of the bun gently with a fork. Repeat with remaining buns, setting tops aside and placing cores in a large bowl.

  7. Pour some milk over the cores to moisten. Mix in almond paste until smooth. Continue adding small amounts of milk until filling resembles a thick pudding. Spoon almond paste filling into the center of the buns.

  8. Combine heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

  9. Top buns generously with whipped cream and place 'lids' on top. Use a sifter to dust tops with confectioners' sugar.

Cook's Notes:

Use cream to moisten the bread center for a richer almond paste filling.

If almond paste is not available in your area, marzipan works just as well although a little sweeter with less almond taste.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

327 Calories
18g Fat
36g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 20
Calories 327
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Sodium 231mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 115mg 9%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 114mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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