Boreal Gateau is making a name for itself with artistic creations you can eat after admiring.
The kid inside all of us may want to go elbow deep in ice-cream cake, but we're adults now. Though delicious, the primary colours and juvenile designs from Baskin Robbins and Dairy Queen won't cut it for a dinner party.
Boreal Gateau allows us to graduate to more refined options made at a higher caliber while still appeasing our inner child.
Owner Daisy Ng handcrafts artisanal ice cream and uses it as the canvas for her edible art. She uses a stunning technique called mirror glaze to achieve the elegant and ultra-shiny appearance of her ice cream cakes.
The glaze needs to be heated to a precise temperature - warm enough to achieve the ideal viscosity for pouring, but cool enough to preserve the cake’s shape without melting it. It only takes 30 seconds to glaze a cake and Ng has decorated thousands.
With 11 years of experience as a pastry chef, Ng previously worked at popular Toronto restaurants and bakeries like The Rolling Pin, Ladurée, Patria, and DaanGo Cake Lab.
The Northern lights serve as the inspiration for many of the cake designs - hence the name "Boreal Gateau."
To create the galactic-inspired aesthetic, Ng blends three colours using one of five application techniques: splash, web, stripe, tornado, and swirl.
The base of the mirror glaze is gelatin, white chocolate, condensed milk, and sugar. Boreal Gateau also offers a vegan glaze.
The cafe's ice cream is a hybrid between frozen custard and gelato.
The use of eggs is similar to custard, and the higher proportion of milk to cream parallels gelato. The lower butterfat content allows the ice cream base to showcase a more pronounced flavour.
Each cake option includes one or two ice cream flavours with complementary ingredients.
Ng experiments with more unique ingredients and has crafted more than 50 flavours since opening the creamery last year.
Some of the more approachable flavours include roasted corn, smoked bourbon, spicy Mayan chocolate, lavender, Horlicks, sour cream, and sweet potato.
Sorbet options include strawberry balsamic, mulled wine, Ribena, yuzu, lemon ginger, and hibiscus. Ng is currently testing recipes for coconut-based, dairy-free ice cream to expand the vegan menu.
Stand-out flavours like salted egg yolk and durian are popular but appeal to acquired tastes. Durian is considered to be one of the most offensive-smelling fruits, but durian lovers go wild for it.
The texture and flavour are described as custardy and sweet with hints of vanilla and onion. Ng says it is a heavily requested flavour and is available in take-home pints because it is such a hit.
The salted egg ice cream uses duck eggs because they are characteristically richer than any other egg. This creation is sweet, creamy, chewy, and savory.
Ng also makes a unique campfire-smoke flavour with Asian lapsang souchong tea leaves to reveal a deep hickory and earthy profile.
Boreal Gateau focuses on high-quality ingredients sourced from its origin country; the pistachios and hazelnuts are grown in Italy and the black sesame is delivered from Japan.
Customized cakes must be ordered 24 hours in advance, and clients can select their colour scheme, glaze design, and personalized message.
The ice cream cakes are available in three sizes - miniature cakes are $8.50 and the shareable cakes range from $42 to $60.
Boreal Gateau also offers an expansive tea and coffee bar menu that features childhood favourites like ice cream floats.
House-made candy, pastries, and high-end desserts like creme brulee croissants, lava cookies, pavlova, truffles, and profiteroles are available daily.
The business is located at 205 Main St. in Unionville and is open every day during the spring and summer.
Chelsea Shim Sharma and Boreal Gateau