There is no better chocolate cake.
I don’t care what you say about Awfully Chocolate, because like all the times that I’ve commented on how they aren’t awfully-chocolatey enough (except maybe for the Super Stack Cake), I’ll say it again – they can’t hold a candle to Canelé’s Le Royale.
Of course you’ve got the main contenders: Rive Gauche’s Guanaja and Sheraton Tower’s Crunchy Chocolate Praline Cake.
But neither of those have the depth and bitter-sweet fullness, courtesy of a crackling bottom layer of hazelnut feullitine, a thick 66% chocolate mousse center layer, almond success (I don’t know what that is, but since I like it, I suppose it’s a success anyway), and a chocolate genoise tier soaked with rum. You can see it, can you? That thick, obscene layer of mousse? And what I would do to get my hands on the recipe for that crusty base.
I must have some kind of complexity in my cakes. They can’t all be soft. I mean, what is that?! Something can’t all be taste and no texture! But of course sometimes I find myself bending my rules a little, like for Dino’s Strawberry Delight and Royal Chocolate cake. Needless to say, I felt terribly conflicted after a couple of forkfuls of Canelé’s Macha since it has a gorgeous almond biscuit base but is maddeningly (in a good way) soft everywhere else with mildly flavoured green tea mousse and a center of chestnut cream. It’s an excellent contrast to the Le Royale – very delicate, yet with a bit of an edge with that sexy almond bottom.
The Black Forest came recommended by the Canelé sales girl, my mom said. But I couldn’t tell why. It was pretty weak, or maybe I was just expecting a POW! of alcohol from the kirsch that’s in there. Not quite enough. I did get a good socking from the humble-looking cherry atop the cake that you see in the picture though. Now that’s what I call alcohol. Other than that, it was unremarkable overall, even though the pastel violet kirsch chantilly core fascinated me for a bit, long enough to realise that there wasn’t anything else notable about the cake.
I’d liken the Opera to the Tiramisu like how Venom is to Spiderman (Did she just compare a couple of confectionaries to Marvel comic characters? I think she did). Ok, perhaps this isn’t the best of metaphors to use, but it becomes a good one after you remove ‘web-slinging’ and ‘icky black goo’ from equation. Give me a chance to explain myself.
Now, the Opera is exactly like what it looks – chocolate-based. On top of being something fundamentally fantastic already, the thin layers of sponge in between are completely soaked in what I’d think to be Kahlua, or some other coffee liquor that makes you think immediately of Tiramisu. And in comparison to the Tiramisu that Canelé offers (which I think to be rather feeble on the flavour scale), for the Opera, it’s the chocolate that makes all the difference. This is the jazzed up, bad-ass version that I happen to like very much.
It’s no surprise though, that I find the lack of anything crunchy to be quite a bummer. But can you imagine? Alcohol, coffee, chocolate and crunchy?! If someone creates something like that after reading this, I’d appreciate it very much if I get some royalties.
I’m only joking. Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself.
Well Canelé has plenty of other cakes and pastries that sit prettily in their glass display counters for all the world to be seduced by, and I really must try to remind myself that there are so many to try, so I must stop having the Le Royale all the time.
But it’s perfect, and perfection is a little hard to beat you know?
Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolatarie
11 Unity Street, Robertson Walk, #01-09
#01-01A Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road
#B1-25 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road
Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Road, #B1-46/47
Tel: 6738 8145