French recipes

Cannelés, a sweetness from the south west of France


Are you familiar with “mignardises”? These treats are small cakes that are usually served at the end of a meal with coffee or liquors. They can also be served with tea in the afternoon.

As tasty as they are beautiful, these little cakes are all as appetizing as each other : macaroons, choux, financiers, madeleines, cannelés, tarts… a joy for food lovers.

To begin this series on the mignardises I propose you the recipe of « cannelés bordelais ».


I discovered cannelés about fifteen years ago. At that time this cake was not particularly fashionable and on top of that, it is not a speciality of the region where I live. Since then, it has come back to the forefront and I understand why. The cannelé is characterized by its unique fluted shape, and by its texture. Soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Flavored with rum and vanilla, it makes us want to travel.

The origin of the cannelés is rather mysterious. What is certain is that their history is closely linked to that of the city of Bordeaux. Bordeaux used to be an important commercial port where ships from the West Indies were loaded with rum and vanilla. Bordeaux is also known for its vineyards and the famous Bordeaux wines. An important step in the winemaking process, called « collage », consisted of filtering the wine in a vat with egg whites beaten to stiff peaks.

Legend tells that the cannelé was invented in the 18th century by nuns from Bordeaux. The nuns used to go to the port to collect the flour that had fallen from the holds of the boats. They also collected the egg yolks that were not used by the vineyards during the wine-making process. With this, they made small cakes that were distributed to the poor, or sold for their benefit. However, in 1790 the nuns were expelled from their convent, and could no longer make their cakes. The recipe was lost for some time until the people of Bordeaux reappropriated it and improved it to make the version we know today.


There are an infinite number of recipes for cannelés. Some use only the yolks, others the whole eggs, the quantity of flour can vary as well as the resting time. I have tried many recipes to find the one I like best.

Traditionally, cannelés are baked in copper molds. Nowadays, silicone molds are available for cannelés. Having tried both, I find that the copper pan gives the crust more crispness and caramelization when baked, which is a real plus. However, the silicone mold is easier to find and to use.


All seasons
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 12


  • milk 500 ml
  • butter 50 g
  • egg 1
  • egg yolks 2
  • dark rum according to your taste 30 to 50 g
  • vanilla pod 1
  • sugar 250 g
  • flour 125 g
  • salt 1 pinch


  • Heat the milk.
  • Open the vanilla pod in two. Remove the seeds and put them and the scraped pods in the milk. Leave to infuse for 1 hour over low heat.
  • Quickly beat the eggs and sugar. Add the softened butter and mix. Then add the flour.
  • Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and when it has cooled down a little, add it little by little to the preparation without stopping to mix. Add the rum.
  • Pour the preparation into a bottle with the vanilla pod. Let rest between 12 and 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  • After the rest, take the preparation out of the refrigerator and let it come back up to room temperature.
  • If using copper molds, grease them with butter and sprinkle sugar in the inside.
  • Mix the mixture before pouring it into the fluted moulds about 1cm from the edge.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 250° for 10min, and then lower the oven to 180° and bake for another 50min to 1h.
  • Take them immediately
eating Cannelés

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