How to make Canelé de Bordeaux cakes

Written by on May 26, 2019 in Desserts

Golden coloured, rum flavoured, Canele cakes of Bordeaux

The origins of the little French cakes known as canelés remains a mystery, but one of the most plausible theories is that they were invented by the nuns of the L’Annonciade monastery in Sainte-Eulalie, in Bordeaux.

When basking them, some people use a silicone mold. But I always recommend using traditional copper molds. Granted, copper is expensive and sometimes hard to find. In that case, then you should get them at a good baker and not attempt to make them yourself. And beeswax on silicone is not going to solve much either as some people claim. In fact, I don’t think you need beeswax at all. Butter, copper and high heat for the right amount of time is all you need to achieve the ultimate crust. Here’s how to make canelé de Bordeaux cakes at home…

Ingredients for making 12 Canelés

500ml milk
40g butter (plus extra, for brushing the molds)
Vanilla pod, split down the middle and seeds scraped out
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
100g all-purpose flour
200g sugar
Fat pinch fleur de sel
65ml dark rum

Don’t forget to use copper canelé molds


Simmer milk, butter, vanilla pod and seeds for three minutes.

Set aside to cool, and in a small bowl, gently stir the eggs and egg yolks with a fork. Don’t whisk, as you don’t want any air in the mixture!

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add the eggs and cooled milk mixture to the flour and stir gently, breaking up the biggest lumps with the back of a spoon. Once again, don’t stir too much we want to avoid too much air in the batter.

Stir in the rum and gently continue to break up the tiny lumps. At this point, your batter should not be smooth.

Strain the batter into a clean bowl and stir out the remaining tiny lumps.

Now your batter should be smooth.

Place a lid on the bowl or cover tightly with cling film and leave to rest for at least 24 hours and up to three days.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 225°C. Brush the inside of your copper molds with melted butter and place on a baking sheet covered with aluminium foil.

Remove the batter from the fridge, give it a gentle stir and pour it into the molds, almost to the top.

Bake the canelés at this temperature for 20 minutes. This will give them that perfect caramelly exterior.  Then, reduce the heat to 190°C and bake for an 45-50 minutes.

Check the canelés halfway through the cooking time. If the tops are too dark (dark brown is great, black is not), cover with foil.

Once done, unmold, place on a rack and let them cool completely before eating which is best done on the day they’re made.

Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel journalist. For more of her recipes, visit, and her YouTube channel, LaDouceVieFood

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