by Mabel Suen
Welcome to Sugar High, a series devoted solely to spotlighting the best ways to sate a sweet tooth in St. Louis. We'll sample the best the city has to offer at restaurants, bakeries and holes-in-the-wall, and provide some insight on how these confections are made along the way.
"If I lined up each strawberry-mousseline cake we've made over the years end to end, they'd probably stretch all the way around the world!" says chef-owner Olivier Leguet in a charming French accent. Since 1981, Leguet has crafted this delicate yet decadent dessert in the kitchen at La Bonne Bouchée (12344 Olive Boulevard; 314-576-6606) -- French for "the good bite" -- and the demand never lets up. With a staff of 40, he creates a brimming pastry case every day in his Parisian patisserie, using at least 800 pounds of strawberries every week to fill and top his trademark cake.
The base is a classic genoise -- a sponge cake with melted butter incorporated into the batter -- layered with mousse made up of fresh whipped cream and custard cream mixed together and studded with sliced strawberries. A coat of vanilla buttercream and sliced almonds encases it all, but it's the veritable fruit basket on top that's most memorable.
Decades ago, the cake originally came with a simple garnish of whipped cream and strawberries. A customer requested an arrangement of fresh fruit on top -- "So we kept making them and now we don't make them fast enough!" says Leguet.
The cake comes in every size imaginable, from individual slices and petite cakes for eight to a full-sheet size big enough to feed 100 mouths. Besides the dreamy strawberry-mousseline dessert, visitors can look forward to temptation from a variety of other treats to choose from including crème brûlée, cheesecake, and 45 flavors of French macarons.
"The desserts we serve are more European -- not as sweet, just wonderful and light. We use a lot of fresh fruit and fresh ingredients and not so much sugar," says Leguet. "We've always done it this way and we always will."
Previously on Sugar High: - Pie Oh My's Pumpkin-Maple Pecan Pie - Annie Moons' Banana-Split Muffins - Cyrano's Carrot Cake - Whitebox Eatery's Cheese Pastry - Comet Coffee's Mousse Cakes - Whisk's Apple-Cinnamon "Pop Tartlets" - The London Tea Room's Blueberry-Lemon Cake - Corner 17's Fluffy Ice - The Fountain on Locust's "Banana Bourbon" Sundae - Vinnie's Pinwheel Baklava - Red Fox Baking & Catering's Lemon Tart - Sugarfire Smokehouse's Crack Pie - Russell on Macklind's Coconut Cake - The Kitchen Sink's Sweet Potato Fries - Giovanni's Kitchen's Panna Cotta Trio - Crepes Etc.'s Crepe Cake - Cafe Ventana's Beignets - Frida's Raspberry-Chocolate Avocado Mousse - India Palace's Gulab Jamun - Melt's "Violet Beauregarde" Waffle - Brevan's Patisserie's "Brendan" - Winslow's Home's Chocolate Cake with Espresso Meringue - La Patisserie Chouquette's Eclair - Black Bear Bakery's Raspberry Oat Bar - Gelateria's London Fog Gelato - 4 Seasons Bakery's German Cheesecake - Libertine's "Candy Bar" - Cleveland-Heath's Old Fashioned Cherry Pie - Schlafly Tap Room and Bottleworks' Sticky Toffee Pudding
We're always looking for some sweet ideas. E-mail the author at email@example.com.