Cake master Jennifer Akina will bring her sugar-based skills to the Source later this month as she and restaurateur Bryan Dayton open Melted, a new build-your-own dessert shop located next door to Acorn in the former Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe space.
Akina, the artist and pastry chef behind beloved Azucar Bakery on South Broadway (and executive producer of the Chef or Death podcast), will spoil Melted’s guests with two kinds of freshly-baked cookies (which rotate weekly) and four types of soft-serve ice cream (which rotate monthly), the latter of which can be enjoyed in a cup, cone, or as the filling in a “Thai-style ice cream sandwich.” Sporting similarities to both classic Sicilian “brioche con gelato” and Thailand’s roll-based treats, Dayton’s and Akina’s translation will layer your choice of ice cream (or a twist of two flavors) inside a warm brioche bun from neighboring Reunion Bread Co, the whole drizzled with rich condensed milk, sprinkled with raw sugar, and finished with a variety of toppings, from sprinkles and coconut shavings to candied pig ears and gold flakes.
Most often inspired by the diversity of flavors found within her Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiian ancestry, Akina credits Dayton for the decision to focus on Thai-style treats. “Bryan has been [to Thailand] and loved the desserts and flavors,” she says. “Some of my favorite Thai restaurants in all of metro Denver don’t have it. It’s more of a street vendor thing. Bryan mentioned it and I kept going with it.”
Akina is excited to include her favorite chai tea-infused ice cream in Melted’s rotating lineup, and potentially bring in Palisade peach and Earl Grey flavors too. “The flavors possibilities are never-ending. We’ll try [one] out for a month and if it goes well, we’ll get a little more funky,” Akina says. “We don’t want to be boring, but we also want to be welcoming.”
About those candied pig ears? Akina promises the topping will taste more like “bacon-flavored candy” than dried swine. “It’s that daredevil ingredient for the person who’s willing to think outside the box,” Akina says. “I think you should always be willing to try something new.”
Melted is scheduled to open in mid- to late September at the Source, 3350 Brighton Blvd.; 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily.