Canelés De Bordeaux - French Rum and Vanilla Cakes

By Jo Cooksey

Here’s a bake for the weekend. I found these delicious, little French cakes a couple of years ago. I’d never heard of them before and at first sight they looked burnt because the outside of them was caramelized to a very dark brown colour. However, once you first bite in to the glossy, crispy outer shell and taste the soft, sweet middle you are hooked.

Traditionally, these treats are baked in little, fluted copper tins but as those are as rare as hen’s teeth, I found some perfect substitute silicon moulds in my local Ikea. Thinking about it, it may have been finding the moulds that prompted the search for a recipe to fill them in the first place. I digress. If you can’t find the Ikea ones then muffin tins or dariol moulds will do just as well.

I found the recipe below on food.com and with the moulds I have it makes about 12 cakes.


500ml full fat milk
2 large eggs
+ 2 egg yolks, beaten
1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract
50ml rum
120g plain flour
180g light brown sugar
240g butter
Butter for greasing
Sugar for sprinkling


1. The day before you bake the canelés: boil the milk with the vanilla and butter.

2. Take off the heat, allow to cool VERY slightly.

3. Mix the flour and sugar together, then add the eggs and egg yolks, pour this mixture in the hot milk.

4. Gently mix in order to obtain a fluid and smooth mixture, like a pancake batter, let it cool, then add the rum.

5. Place it in the refrigerator for 12 hours to 24 hours. It is very important to let the batter rest.

6. When you are ready to bake the canelés: preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7.

7. Butter the moulds liberally and then sprinkle some sugar in to the moulds.

8. Pour the batter in to the buttered and sugared canelés moulds, they should be 3/4 full - NO more

9. Place the moulds on a baking sheet, and cook on high for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and continue cooking for 1 hour at least. (It depends on your oven, it can take up to 1 and a quarter hours!) The tops will have a brown crust when they are ready and they should still be moist inside.

10. Carefully unmould them whilst they are still hot. Allow them to cool.

11. Serve with tea or coffee for breakfast, or with a glass of wine or cognac in the late afternoon or evening.

Photos: © Taste Today