Many thanks to Éric and Cathy for generously agreeing to share their recipe.
Note: The amounts given for the syrup have been edited to reflect the quantity actually needed for the recipe (although it doesn’t hurt to make more as it keeps beautifully in the fridge and can be used on babas and other cakes).
Makes 5 individual cakes (100g each)
1. Rhum syrup
- 74g water
- 100g sugar
- 174g strong dark rhum (110 proof if possible) (PBC uses rhum ambré 54°)
Duration: 15 minutes
- Add water and sugar to a pot and bring to a boil
- Let mixture cool, then add the rhum
- Reserve in a cool spot
2. Cake batter
- 130g sucre
- 105 g butter
- 85g white almond flour
- 35g pastry flour
- 130g eggs
- 3g fine salt
- 30g strong dark rhum
Duration: 25 minutes
- The day before: take the butter out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature overnight so that it is soft and creamy
- On the day of the baking: mix it (either by hand or on first speed in a mixer) with sugar and almond flour
- Slowly add the eggs
- Mix well, but do not whip
- Sift the flour and add it all at once to the mixture
- Add rhum at the end. Mix well
- Oil five cake pans (10 cm x 2 cm) (foil is fine) with melted butter, using a brush
- Using a pastry bag or a spoon, pour 100 g of batter into each pan
- Pre-heat oven to 350-375°F (180-190°C)
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes till the cakes turn slightly golden
- Test with a sharp knife (the blade must come out clean)
- Take the cakes out and pour on each 1 or 2 teaspoons of rhum syrup (according to taste)
- Let cool thoroughly before unmolding.
- 20g dark rhum
- 40 g hot (122°F/50°C) water
- 360g icing sugar
Duration: 5 minutes
- Sift icing sugar
- Add hot water and rhum to sugar
- Mix well with a spoon
Duration: 10 minutes
To facilitate glazing, it is highly recommended to first refrigerate the cakes for one to two hours. They will be less brittle and much easier to unmold and glaze.
- Unmold the cakes and put them upside down (smaller diameter surface down)
- Using a tablespoon, put up to two spoonfuls of glaze on the cakes
- Using a small spatula, smooth out the glaze (making concentric circles from the center towards the edges). Don’t strive for perfection, some irregularities should disappear as the sugar firms up
- Put the cakes back in the fridge, glazing facing up
- Take them out one or two hours before serving.
- Gâteau nantais is best after resting for one or two days. Plan accordingly if making it for a special occasion
- If making it in a bakery setting, don’t unmold the cakes as they would dry out too fast. Glaze them in their pans making sure to cover any and all space between pan and cake (see picture below) so that the flavor of the rhum doesn’t escape (that last tip was contributed by Cathy and, boy, does she know what she is talking about!)
Graham Jose says
This looks really good. Does it have an Anglicized name? I think I will give it a go thank you.
Hi Graham, I don't know about that. It is a regional cake, so most likely not…
Les Nightingill says
Nantais means it's from the town of Nantes, and gateau is cake. So "Nantes cake" n'est ce pas?
Karin Anderson says
What an interesting cake! Rum and almond flavors are a tempting combination.