Iconic Canelé of Bordeaux

Many stories in one…

Six hundred patisseries in Bordelais, fabricating fifteen million each year, for gourmands across country and town.

The Iconic Canelé, a gateaux with perfumed soft centre, of rum and vanilla, encrusted in golden caramel.


Truth in its legend, of eighteenth century, the Sisters of The Annunciation Convent, blended waste flour from docked ships, with egg yolks from wine makers*, a blessed bread created, and fed to hungry poor.

“Les Petites Sœurs”(The Little Sisters) were chased from Bordeaux, during revolutionary years, and hidden their recipe remained, until a pastry chef of Bordeaux rediscovered, and recreated a confectionary delight, adding vanilla and rum from the Virgin Isles.


This little chapter brings us to 1985, the establishment of Confrérie (Brotherhood) de Canelé, Bordeaux, consecrating forever the Canelé speciality of Bordelais.

The original canelé.

The Little Sisters were fabricating candied walnuts and sticks which they sold for their income and aid work. With the opportunity of donated egg yolk and white flour from the docks, which they gathered themselves from spilled flour in ship holds, they invented a little cake with  flour, egg yolk, sugar and milk, mixed into  a dough that they wrapped around a stick, possibly a sugar cane stick, which they then plunged  into hot pig fat to cook. They called these cakes ‘canalize’.


At that time winemakers used stiffened egg white to filter their wine in a process called ‘collage’. The egg white was sold to them by the Cartier de Chartron in Bordeaux who farmed hens especially for this purpose. The waste yolks were then donated to the nuns.

Canelés today.

Canelés have been made in the form of a fluted (cannelé) bell shape since the early twentieth  century, using bronze then copper molds. The flutted lines represent the canestick originally used by the nuns. They are sold in packets of eight or sixteen and eaten at breakfast, or as a dessert, with tea or champagne.


N.B. I have gathered ingredients from various sites across the internet and blended to concoct my story. Never the less most facts are true!

4 thoughts on “Iconic Canelé of Bordeaux

  1. This is the first time I have heard of these and the story of their creation. I shared it with my firends as I know they will like reading about them, too. Thanks for your visit and comment. I look forward to following your blog.


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