Cafe Society

Sugar High: Gateaux Bakery

"Sweet enough for you?" asks Kathleen Kenny Davia, co-owner of Gateaux, the French bakery at 1160 Speer Boulevard. She was referring specifically to the white chocolate peach torte, which she identified as one of the sweeter selections from their pastry case.

Honestly? We found the sweetness level for all of the beaked goods we tried to be just about perfect.

It would be easy to assume Gateaux's cookies and cakes would be sugar-saturated, but in truth, the cakes and cookies are subtly flavored, with the sweetness coming primarily from the icings and fillings. The shortbread-like tea cookies, which come in an array of colors and shapes to match the season, are crisp and buttery. Part of each cookie is left naked, while the remainder is coated with vibrant icing, the consistency of white chocolate. Unfortunately, attempts at finding out more about the cookie recipe were declined. When asked about specific ingredients, Kenny Davia deadpanned, "You'd have to kill me first."

Less mysterious, but no less tasty, was the white chocolate peach torte, a beautifully crafted cake. Grand Marnier spikes the filling, which consists of white chocolate mousse and chunks of peaches. Between the smooth white chocolate ganache coating, tender cake, lush peaches, and brittle sprinkling of chocolate, the torte is a wonderland of flavors and textures. It's the perfect size for one hungry person, or for two to share after a meal.

All the flavors in the small tortes are also available in the full-sized cakes, so sampling a couple is a good way to choose a flavor combination for a custom cake. No matter what you choose, it's hard to go wrong. That could be because Kenny Davia hires only culinary school graduates and insists on baking everything from scratch. And that's nothing to sniff at, since apparently some local bakeries, at least according to Kenny Davia, use boxed cake mix. Say it ain't so!

Finishing off our sugar escapade, we couldn't resist these tiny homemade Oreos resting on a cake stand on top of the pastry case. While they nailed the filling, the cookie part was a little too airy and dry to be a true doppelgänger of America's favorite cookie. But given that they're a fairly new addition, they may just need a little more time to reach perfection.

Oreos aside, Gateaux is an elegant meeting ground between lofty design and refined taste, making it a great bakery to pick up a treat that backs up its fancy looks.

Tea cookie $1.20 White chocolate peach torte $4.75 Oreos $.75