These classic french custardy cakes, caneles, are wonderful for breakfast, tea, or dessert. It is rare to find a canele outside of France. So, unless you have a source for caneles in your neighborhood, you may want to try this simple recipe and bake these scrumptious cakes. I discovered the humble canele at Stohrer, the oldest bakery, patisserie, in Paris since 1730, during one of my many sojourns to this magical city.
Nicolas Stohrer invented the rum baba. The modern day Stohrer has also perfected the canele, which was born in Bordeaux. The perfect canele is a simple cake with a crunchy deeply caramelized exterior and a delicious delicate custard like interior. An authentic canele is baked in a fluted copper mold. These molds are a bit pricey so I have adapted my recipe to work in a non stick canele pan. There are also silicone molds that you can experiment with unless you wish to buy the copper molds.
The batter is thin and made from eggs, milk, flour, butter, sugar, rum and vanilla. After the batter is mixed, it is allowed to rest for up to 24 hours to allow the gluten to develop. The fluted molds are lined with butter or a butter and beeswax combination mixture and cooked at high heat initially to get the butter to brown and caramelize with the sugar in the batter.
I have tried these both ways. Once with just butter to glaze the molds and once with a butter and beeswax mixture. Although both were amazing, I felt like the addition of the beeswax with the butter provided greater caramelization and crunch to the exterior of the cakes. I think that you will be satisfied with either technique. And, the inside will always be that perfect balance of a little soft but not too dense or heavy. The most important recommendation is to eat them immediately upon removing the caneles from the oven. This is the moment when they are at their best. Canele are best when eaten the day that they are baked. You can try reheating them but they will never be as good as when they have just been removed from the pan. Bon appétit!
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