The Bordeaux Canelé cake is a small fluted cake flavoured with rum and vanilla that belongs to the wide range of fine French pastries. To fully enjoy this speciality of the South-West of France, widely named Cannelé, it is common to accompany it with a glass of Bordeaux wine to end off your meal on a high note, or simply with a cup of coffee at tea time in a lovely Salon de the in Bordeaux.
The origin of this little fluted Bordeaux cake can be found in many tales about the South-West regions of France. One of the oldest ones refers to a convent in Bordeaux where, before the French Revolution, the nuns prepared cakes called Canalize made with donated egg yolks from Bordeaux winemakers, who used only the whites to clarify their wines.
Other tales deal with sympathetic inhabitants of Bordeaux living along the docks who took unused spilled low-protein flour from the loading areas to make sweets for poor children. Whatever the traditional Cannelé recalls, this regional simple cake has become one of the culinary jewels of this region of France.
In fact, the Bordeaux pâtisserie is known as a little fluted cake that you can hold in your hand, made of a crunchy caramelized shell and a smooth rich filling flavoured with vanilla and rum. A long baking time gives the Cannelé a mouth-watering dark brown colour and a crusty shell. Furthermore, when it reappeared in the early 20th century, this French pastry started to be baked in copper moulds which promoted caramelization - for the pleasure of the gourmets!
If you have the choice between a Cannelé and a Canelé, do taste the second one! "Canelé" is indeed the very local name of the Bordeaux speciality, given at the end of the 20th century by the original pâtissiers gathered in a brotherhood to protect the traditional recipe of their Canelés.
South-West bakers actually removed one of the n's from the old spelling to make the difference between their renowned French pastry, with its secret method of preparation, and common Cannelé versions that you can now find in Paris, New York and even Osaka!