That’s usually the reaction we get when people taste their first Canelé de Bordeaux… To be honest, we’re always a bit jealous: we wish we had never bitten in one yet just to have that pleasant surprise of that first bite again! But even after all these years, we still think it’s a pretty amazing cake that deserves to be famous worldwide, not just in Bordeaux…
They’re very hard to find outside of Bordeaux or Paris (or Saltspring Island!) but, lucky yous, we bake traditional canelés right here in Vancouver! We get up in the middle of the night before every market, mix only the best natural ingredients (organic eggs, milk and flour, rum, vanilla beans) and patiently wait an hour while the canelés bake in the oven in specific moulds that give the cake its texture and shape (fun fact: canelé means fluted and has nothing to do with cannelle/cinnamon).
OK, but WHAT IS IT???
First, it is pronounced CAN-AL-EH (shouldn’t be too hard to say for a Canadian, eh?)
It’s hard to describe but let’s say the inside is kind of like flan or bread pudding, very soft, light, moist and flavourful while the outside is caramelized (almost burnt sometimes from baking for an hour at a very high temperature). The crust varies from soft and golden yellow to thick and dark brown. There’s a canelé for every taste and every age (kids usually love the softer ones)!
If you resist eating them all on your way home, you can serve them plain with coffee or a tea or as a dessert with custard, ice-cream and/or fruits on the side. The wider part of the canelé is the base (as shown on the picture above).
They’re best when eaten the same day after they come out of the oven. They will still be good the next day if you keep them in an air-tight container but they become softer and the flavours won’t be as strong.
We usually sell out at the markets so make sure to come early. Whether you want to enjoy it by yourself or make an impression on your dinner guests, you can’t go wrong with the canelé but be careful, it’s highly addictive! 🙂