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How to make cannelés in silicone molds

Caneles made in a Mastrad mold brushed with melted butter on eatlivetravelwrite.comSO, um, canelés.  Or should it be cannelés? (Those little cakes with a crunchy caramelized exterior and a custardy interior). No matter how you spell them, I’ve made them before, right? A couple of times…  I will also admit to eating a LOT of canelés over the summer of 2014 in France (my favourite ones came from Bernard Meysan in Saint-Emilion) – until last fall, I’ve been meaning to make them for years, ever since I read all Pim’s posts about making canelés (and her success using the silicone molds), as opposed to the copper ones which cost an arm and a leg!).  My early attempts were perhaps beginner’s luck…  Laughing as I write this post to read that back in October I said:

I’m keen to keep trying these as the recipe is dead easy.

LOL big time. The recipe itself might be “dead easy” (it honestly takes 15 minutes to prepare the batter) but getting the technique right has been a labour of love over the past 4 months.  they have become what macarons were to me in 2010.  So when Redpath’s Acts of Sweetness team contacted me to ask if I would like to be a part of #projectcannelé, I jumped at the chance. They sent me some silicone molds to try out and it turned out these were the ones I had previously had inconsistent results with so I was even more keen to “get it right”.

Back in the fall when I was first starting to experiment with these, I bought a number of different sized silicone molds to try out (and I had a lengthy email exchange with Dorie and her assistant about which size, which brand etc…) and the ones I liked then were not quite “mini” size – too small and they are simply too small to get a decent custard/ crust ratio and the larger ones are too big (unless they are taking the place of a meal. Ahem.).

Turns out that things change and over what must be 30 half-batches, I’ve discovered there are a number of factors in play which contribute to the success (or otherwise) of cannelés and the molds are a huge part of this, so whilst I really liked the size of the molds I had used last year, they aren’t the ones I’ll be using from now on..

But wait… what’s this about the random different spelling of the name of these treats?  Well, according to Paula Wolfert, the little cakes were not so popular until the mid 1980s when :

In 1985, stunned by this surge in popularity, 88 Bordeaux patissiers formed a confrérie, or brotherhood, to protect the integrity of their canelés. They staged a “linguistic coup d’etat” by removing one of the n’s from the old spelling (cannelé) to differentiate their cake, with its secret method of preparation, from bastardized versions. Today, canelé de Bordeaux is the official cake of the city, while cannelé bordelais is a generic name used [around the world].

So, since we’re making these outside Bordeaux, we’ll go with cannelé

Et hop. On y va with the months-long experiment. I’ve drastically condensed the information in this post to what I consider the bare minimum from what I have learned (lest anyone else tell me “life’s short, move on” as one helpful commenter did on a recent Instagram post… I say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…..”) but “bon courage” – there’s still a lot to read.

Cannelé trial and error: a summary

For each of these trials (except the very last round) I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from Baking Chez Moi which you can find hereAs I said, I probably have made over 30 half-batches in the past four months so I’m going to sum up my findings under some distinct categories according to the techniques I used.

1. Silicone molds coated in beeswax and butter.

This is the traditional coating for a cannelé mold and it’s how the little cakes get their rich colour on the outside.  Chez Pim, amongst others, offers a lengthy explanation on how to work with beeswax and butter to coat the molds and I happened to get my hands on some food-grade wax from a bee-keeping friend…

I found the wax hard to work with using the silicone molds – it hardens almost immediately it touches the molds and it is NOT fun to remove from your brushes or other kitchen utensils. For me, using these molds with beeswax/butter produced uneven rising and “wonky” looking cannelés.  Food-grade beeswax, it turns out, is not so easy to get your hands on so I might not be promoting this method for the average home-baker.

Mid baking Caneles made with silicone moulds with butter and beeswax on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Caneles made with silicone moulds with butter and beeswax on eatlivetravelwrite.com

they look great on the top but…

Sideways view of Caneles made with silicone moulds with butter and beeswax on eatlivetravelwrite.comWonky, right?  To get them the right colour on the outside, I feel like I nearly had to overbake them – the interior was quite dry.  They also “fell” quite a bit as they cooled, meaning the custardy interior wasn’t quite right…

Interior view of Caneles made with silicone moulds with butter and beeswax on eatlivetravelwrite.com

2. Silicone molds coated in melted butter.

I feel this method is more like what most people will use. For this batch, I coated the molds in melted butter then froze them for about 30 minutes before baking them in the hot oven. I was fairly happy with the results and should have possibly left well enough alone at that point…

Caneles made in silicone moulds with butter coating on eatlivetravelwrite.com Side view of Caneles made in silicone moulds with butter coating on eatlivetravelwrite.comI wasn’t super happy with the insides of these ones – again, I felt like to get the exterior the colour I wanted, they were *nearly* overbaked on the insides… More cake than custard.

Interior view of Caneles made in silicone moulds with butter coating on eatlivetravelwrite.com

3. Silicone molds – uncoated, coated with beeswax/ butter and coated with melted butter only

Because I am a glutton for punishment, and because I had read so many places how you DIDN’T need to coat the silicone molds with anything , I decided to do a side-by side experiment in the same tray. I left one row of molds uncoated, coated one row with beeswax and butter (you can see below how hard it is to get a very light coating) and coated one row with melted butter.

Canele moulds with no coating butter and beeswax and butter on eatlivetravelwrite.comWatching them in the oven was fascinating (if you are into that sort of thing)… But you can definitely see how differently the molds operate with different (or no) coating.

Inside oven Canele moulds with no coating butter and beeswax and butter on eatlivetravelwrite.com Post baking Canele moulds with no coating butter and beeswax and butter on eatlivetravelwrite.comIn the end, I decided that the UNCOATED molds were the ones which worked best…

From top: uncoated, coated with melted butter, coated in beeswax/butter:

Butter nothing beeswax coating on canele moulds on eatlivetravelwrite.comAs you can see, the beeswax/butter coated molds behaved oddly this time, producing “creases” in the cannelés.  The butter coated molds produced wonky cannelés which didn’t stand up straight while the uncoated molds produced straight, uncreased cannelés.

And the interiors?

Interior Butter nothing beeswax coating on canele moulds on eatlivetravelwrite.comAgain, the uncoated molds produced the best interiors (although I feel like these were slightly overbaked and a little dry too…

4. Thicker silicone molds uncoated, coated in melted butter, coated in room temperature butter.

(at this point in my experiments,  I took a little break, heading to France for a couple of weeks where I, ahem, ate a lot of cannelés for, you know, research, and bought some gorgeous copper molds to test once I have mastered the silicone…)

I found myself in Australia unexpectedly at this point in my research and sans my cannelé molds (though I did take them to France… as you do!). I spent a few days hunting down the molds (they mostly go by the name of “Bordelais” in Australia from what I understand and they are NOT easy to find…). In the end I happened across these Mastrad molds which are slightly bigger and a much thicker quality silicone and, since beggars can’t be choosers, I snapped them up. I liked that they have a rigid edge so they are easier to handle:

Mastrad Bordelais mold on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis time, I coated the molds in melted butter, room temperature butter (I applied with my fingers a thin coat) and left a few uncoated (as per the instruction on the package).  I baked these for 30 minutes at 450˚F and 30 minutes at 400˚F per Dorie’s instructions, however they needed a little extra time to get the colour right on the outside – so they stayed an extra 10 minutes in the oven.

From top: room temperature butter coated molds, melted butter coated molds and uncoated molds:

Room temperature butter to coat Mastrad molds for canneles on eatlivetravelwrite.com Melted butter to coat Mastrad molds for canneles on eatlivetravelwrite.com Uncoated Mastrad molds for canneles on eatlivetravelwrite.comYou can see that while the room temperature and melted butter coated molds produced gorgeous custardy interiors and straight-sided cannelés, the uncoated molds produced odd humps on the bottoms meaning they don’t stand up straight. So, not a disaster but not ideal either… the thicker molds definitely seemed to produce a much more even heat colouring (but the butter definitely helped there too).

5. Thicker silicone molds uncoated and coated in melted butter using a tweaked recipe.

For my final round of experimenting, I tweaked the recipe a bit. I was really happy with the results of the previous iteration of the cannelés but wanted to try a couple more times to double check that this was, indeed the mold I would recommend.  I had just received my friend Jill Colonna’s new book Teatime in Paris and checked out her recipe for cannelés. It’s a bit different from Dorie’s in both quantity of ingredients and the way the dry ingredients are incorporated in the batter (see more on this below) so I tweaked Dorie’s recipe with some of Jill’s suggestions.

Results:

Mastrad silicone molds uncoated, coated in melted butter on eatlivetravelwrite.com Again, our uncoated molds produced weird shapes – rising a lot out of the molds and not settling properly meaning they don’t stand up properly. The molds coated in a tiny amount of melted butter fared best. The interiors, however, were prefect:

Interior Mastrad silicone molds uncoated, coated in melted butter on eatlivetravelwrite.comI had enough batter leftover for 3 more so I tried again with just melted butter, tweaking the technique I’d been using and the ingredient quantities. Result?

Top view of Caneles made in a Mastrad mold brushed with melted butter on eatlivetravelwrite.comBy jove, I think I have it!

So without further ado –

10 tips for making canelés/ cannelés in silicone moulds

1. Air is not your friend. Too much air in the batter will cause them to puff up too much in the oven…….

2. Use the best quality silicone molds (read: thicker, not flimsy) that you can afford. The thin ones will get too hot too fast and produce inconsistent results no matter what you do and you’ll find yourself having to say “I don’t know” when people ask you if you can bring 60 of them to their party. Because you get different results every time.

3. Don’t fuss too much over the batter. In fact, treat it like you couldn’t care less if it works out or not and it might just cooperate 😉 My most successful “tweak” in technique was borrowed from Jill Colonna, author of the just-released Teatime in Paris whereby you make a paste from the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and flour and them gently whisk in the hot milk/ butter mix. This seemed to help with a less airy batter – when I tried adding the dry ingredients to the hot liquid I always had to whisk much more which led to more bubbles and air (see #1).

4. Rest your batter at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours overnight. Gently stir it (with the back of a knife – you don’t want to whisk too much now it’s all settled).

5. Let your batter come to room temperature before you use it in silicone molds.

6. As you are heating the oven, melt some butter and lightly (ever so lightly, mind) brush the molds with the butter.  Make sure it doesn’t pool in the bottom of the molds by turning the molds upside down on a cooling rack set over paper towel to drain excess butter out.

7. Contrary to popular belief, I have had much more success with room temperature molds (another tip from Jill).  Maybe they don’t like to be cold then incredibly hot (I mean, I wouldn’t!) like they are if you freeze them (many recipes tell you to use cold molds) before you bake. Room temperature batter and room temperature molds produced the best looking (and best interiors) of all the batches – and the most consistent, even shapes…

8. As the cannelé are baking, you might want to keep an eye on them as they might rise slightly over the top of the molds. If need be, take a toothpick and gently coax the shapes down back into the molds but if your batter is the right consistency and your molds are cooperating you might not need to.

9. About 5 minutes before the cannelé are finished baking (maybe 10), pull the tray out and, with the aid of a toothpick, remove the cannelé from their molds and pop them back in the molds right side up. This will help the tops brown a little more (evenly). Be careful – the oven will be hot and so will the molds.

10. Let your cannelé rest in the molds (still right side up) for about 10 minutes before you take them out and place them on a wire cooling rack. They are best eaten at room temperature – I like them after an hour or so. They are best the same day you make them.

 I recommend these silicone molds.

Mastrad Bordelais mold on eatlivetravelwrite.com

 

Mastrad silicone canelé molds on Amazon
Mastrad silicone canelé molds on Amazon Canada

 

 

And my recipe? It’s a mish mash of Dorie and Jill’s ingredients, recipe and techniques. With much gratitude to both for answering my constant questions and giving me so much advice…

Cannelé in silicone molds

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 70 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins

Cannelés are mini cakes with crunchy caramely exteriors and custardy interiors.

Serves 24     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 500mls whole milk
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 140g all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Melted unsalted butter, for the molds

Instructions

  1. One day before baking:
  2. Bring the milk and the butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, stirring occasionally to release some of the heat.
  3. Place the sugar, flour, eggs and egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk gently until you have a soft paste-like consistency.
  4. Pour in the milk/ butter and continue to whisk gently until you have a smooth liquid.
  5. Add the vanilla and rum and give it one last stir (you don't want to whisk air into this batter).
  6. Use a wire strainer, strain the batter over a glass jug, cover the jug with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
  7. About an hour or two before baking:
  8. Remove the batter from the fridge, give it a gentle stir and allow to come to room temperature (or at least, not chilled).
  9. Prepare the silicone molds by brushing with a little melted butter. Coat the molds sparingly and in necessary, turn the molds upside down over a wire rack placed over paper towels to drain excess butter from inside molds. Set aside (at room temperature)
  10. Pre-heat oven to 450˚F.
  11. When the batter is room temperature, give the batter one final stir and pour into the molds about ¾ full.
  12. Place the silicone molds on a wire cooling rack on a baking tray and bake at 450˚F for 30 minutes.
  13. Reduce heat to 400˚F and bake for a further 30 minutes.
  14. After 30 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and, with the aid of a toothpick, carefully remove the cannelé from the molds and place them immediately back in the molds right side up.
  15. Bake for 10 more minutes.
  16. Remove molds from oven and place on a wire cooling rack for about 10 minutes before you unmold them and allow to come to room temperature on a wire cooling rack.
  17. Best eaten the day they are made (after about 2 hours at room temperature).

by

 

Mastrad silicone molds coated in melted butter on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Disclosure: I received a baking kit including silicone molds and sugar from Redpath Acts of Sweetness. I was not further compensated for writing this post.

___________

Please note: The product links from Amazon and Amazon.ca  are affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase the product I have linked to or any other product, I will receive a small percentage of the sale price which helps keep the eat. live. travel. write. household in ingredients to continue experimenting with cannelés.

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36 Responses to How to make cannelés in silicone molds

  1. Jill May 13, 2015 at 09:33 #

    Wow, Mardi! You are a super-trooper and likes are gonna find you around cannelé moulds… shining like the sun. That #projectcannelé was some project and bravo for finding your own method that you like best. I’m very honoured that you mentioned me in the same company as Dorie.
    Perhaps you want a break from them just now but next time in Paris, let’s go on a canelé walk 🙂

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 21:04 #

      Thanks Jill! You and Dorie are constant inspirations for me!

  2. Janice @Kitchen Heals Soul May 13, 2015 at 10:34 #

    There is so, so much practical/useful info here! I want to pin this post a million times and share it everywhere (and I will, slowly but surely!).
    I completely agree about the quality of the molds and the thickness of the silicone. And I love that you opted for silicone and not copper (because for us to invest in a set of copper molds would take years, lol!).
    I need to read this again, and then buy molds and make cannelés!

    Are you bored of them yet?

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 21:04 #

      Not bored of them – and I still have the copper molds to figure out too!

  3. Charlie May 13, 2015 at 13:40 #

    Thank you for all this experimentation and insightful knowledge.

    I myself have never made cannelles (on my to do list). However I’m going to jump in here with a

    suggestion or two.

    Try melting the wax enough to make it more workable, or melt it all the way, cool enough so it won’t

    melt the butter and mix together. And then again you might melt both of them, mix, coat moulds,

    and stick in freezer to firm up quickly.

    Since I am inexperienced in this, I can’t guarantee it will work, but it might be worth some more

    experiments.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D
    Charlie

    • Mardi Michels May 13, 2015 at 13:45 #

      Thanks for your input. I did. indeed work extensively with the wax and did like you suggested but it is still very hard to work with – the wax hardens pretty immediately on the silicone. And quite frankly, not that easy for most people to get their hands on so it’s why I am recommending the butter route.

      • Charlie May 13, 2015 at 14:21 #

        Thanks for replying Mardi!

  4. Coco in the Kitchen May 13, 2015 at 13:46 #

    These look like buttery heaven.
    I want them NOW!

  5. Paula May 13, 2015 at 14:19 #

    I have been following your progress with these on your Twitter/Instagram and I am so impressed with your determination and “never give-up” attitude. You have learned a lot and that you took all this time to share your findings in this post is lovely. I doubt I will every try to bake caneles but for those who do, this should be there “go-to” place before they even start to measure out their ingredients and prepare their pans. Congratulations on your success with caneles.

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 21:03 #

      Thanks Paula, it’s been a much more complicated journey than I thought it would be!

  6. Cakelaw May 13, 2015 at 23:46 #

    Wow – that is a comprehensive analysis of making caneles. You are way more patient than me.

  7. Isabelle @ Crumb May 14, 2015 at 09:22 #

    Amazing how such a simple, straightforward recipe can be anything but simple OR straightforward, no? I’m still struggling to find the perfect combination, but I think I’m pretty much almost there. Which is good, because my waistline cannot handle any more cannelés at this point! 🙂

    • Mardi Michels May 17, 2015 at 21:02 #

      Right- and the problem is that they need to be eaten on the same day they are made which makes giving them away problematic!

  8. Mr. Neil May 14, 2015 at 09:36 #

    Mardi and I were at a talk last night with Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 fame (after a screening of the delectable French film Delicatessen), and he spoke of the fun he has experimenting in the kitchen – and how no one should be afraid of making mistakes. All part of the learning, understanding how things work,….

    Well, watching the whole cannel sessions, which in and of themselves are reminiscent of watching the macaron sessions circa 2011, reminded me of that.

    Baking really is science with a dollop of art, and I’ve been fascinated (if not obsessed) watching it unfold.

    However, I would be lying if I did not say I am delighted that I now have a secure source of cannelle, as I do macarons, chez nous. 🙂

    Come to think of it, haven’t had any macaron in quite some time…. 😉

  9. Yolène - Crème de Citron May 18, 2015 at 06:16 #

    Loved reading your adventure with cannelés baking! I was in London recently styling and photographing canelés for a new little French company and ended up eating a whole lot of them. They are such wonderful sweet treats, I have serious cravings for them, I must really get my hands on silicon moulds to satisfy that!

  10. J.C April 7, 2016 at 13:55 #

    Great post Mardi, I love your blog!

    I figured I could add something regarding the use of beeswax. I just recently started using it when I came across it by chance in an organic grocery store.

    Alright, so beeswax is a pain as it sets super fast. It will end up exactly like Mardi’s picture. I then remembered there was a canelé recipe In Dominique Ansel’s book (the guy that created the Cronut). He tells us to heat the molds (he uses copper of course) for 15 minutes before using the beeswax and pouring in the batter. It helps to achieve a nice crunchy exterior. I figured it would work for silicone also. It does!

    I heat my mold for about 5min before brushing in the beeswax. These molds get so hot that you have ample time to coat them and pour in your mixture before the wax can set. I recommend turning your mold over on some parchment paper as you can easily reuse any wax that dripped on it.

    Now the end result is pretty amazing. The beeswax gives the canelés an amazingly shiny and crunchy exterior. I recommend letting the canelés rest in their molds over a wire rack for 30 minutes when using beeswax. In this case I do not use your nice trick of unmolding and remolding towards the end. The exterior needs to set and harden in the mold for a beautiful result.

    Hope it works for anyone who tries it.

    • Mardi Michels April 7, 2016 at 19:15 #

      Great tips! I will definitely try this next time I go with the copper!

      • J.C April 8, 2016 at 09:30 #

        Sorry if I didn’t explain it well, I use this trick for the silicon mold. I do not own any copper ones as the price tag is prohibitive.

  11. Ofelia July 2, 2016 at 23:01 #

    Wonderful work.Thank you. I do have a question: do you sugar coat the molds after you butter?
    How do they get the slightly crunchy exterior?

    • Mardi Michels July 3, 2016 at 12:20 #

      They get crunchy from the heat, I don’t coat with sugar.

  12. Jason September 9, 2016 at 19:03 #

    Hi Mardi,

    Thanks for your wonderful post on caneles. I have been trying to perfect them too. My current issue is that they keep “poofing” up beyond the molds and eventually flopping over. I’ve tried lowering the temperature, and also tried opening the door to cool them down when they puff too much. But so far neither has worked – either it still happens, or if I cool them, they overall don’t cook properly. Do you happen to have any tips?

    Thanks,
    Jason

    • Mardi Michels September 10, 2016 at 08:53 #

      Have you tried filling the molds with less batter?

  13. Nazima Pathan October 18, 2016 at 15:40 #

    What a superb tutorial Mardi
    I have been wanting to make these for ages and I have just got the thick silicone mould and this is definitely on my baking list. Have you tried doing different flavours in them or chocolate coating them? is this the done thing?!! Or am I being a heathen

  14. Meryl November 22, 2016 at 05:31 #

    I still like paula-wolfert’s recipe best after testing many. She claims it is the original, with egg yolks only. The mixture cooks to a thin custard before you put it in the fridge for 24-48 hours. I have found a white oil mixture of mostly vegetable oil with a little bit of bees wax melted in it is best. Brush the silicone moulds but then tip them upside down to drain. There should be very little oil left on the moulds. Fill the molds almost full. They rise a bit but the mixture has no air in it so it rises only a little. The result is a very silky custard with no air bubbles on the inside and a very crunchy outside. I too experimented for months and this is as good as it gets, very easy. Use bake without any fan too. Silicone moulds are fine.

    • Mardi Michels November 22, 2016 at 06:21 #

      Thanks for all of this info. As you can see I did a fair bit of experimenting myself as well. I have not tried Wolfert’s recipe but am intrigued. Though authentic canelés do have air bubbles in the inside…

  15. Dan December 4, 2016 at 20:21 #

    I just tried these at home and ended up burning the tops a tad, so second round I took it easier and paid more attention and they came out great! I love the dark rum flavor (not sure if that is standard for these or not as it’s also my first time making them).

    • Mardi Michels December 5, 2016 at 05:22 #

      Yes the rum is a standard addition 🙂 Glad you enjoyed and keep practising – as you can see, it was a lot of trial and error for me to get these right!

  16. cakespy February 16, 2017 at 10:37 #

    What a handy post, both the recipe and the anecdotal reader comments. I have been meaning to try these and feel like I have a good starting point!

  17. Bella March 25, 2017 at 06:43 #

    Hi Mardi,

    Do you have to include rum in this recipe? Is there something else I could substitute it for?

    Thanks!

    • Mardi Michels March 25, 2017 at 08:21 #

      Feel free to leave the rum out or use artificial extract…

      • Bella March 25, 2017 at 11:31 #

        Thanks for replying so quickly – I’m going to try them now! Have read lots of recipes online but yours definitely seems the most tried and tested!!

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