Tuesday, January 6, 2015

La Bonne Bouchée's Strawberry-Mousseline Cake: A Fruit-Filled Local Favorite

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 10:00 AM

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.

La Bonne Bouchee's strawberry-mousseline cake. | Photos by Mabel Suen
  • La Bonne Bouchee's strawberry-mousseline cake. | Photos by Mabel Suen

"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.

Owner and pastry chef Olivier Leguet.
  • Owner and pastry chef Olivier Leguet.

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.

Available by the slice alongside many more goodies.
  • Available by the slice alongside many more goodies.

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 mabel.suen@riverfronttimes.com.

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