Cheesecake — that classic, rich, comfort food dessert has been fancied up and tweaked, although plain cheesecake is still very much available. (I’m defining “plain cheesecake” as unadorned New York style cheesecake, rich with cream cheese and usually also heavy cream or sour cream.)
Cheesecake purists have a lot of company. Ralph Bencivenga, of Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe in Westfield, New Jersey, said that his New York Cheesecake is his best-selling cheesecake and Pure Cheesecakes in Los Angeles indicates that its Original Cheesecake is one of the top 10 flavors that get ordered equally on a regular basis.
But how has cheesecake been livened up? Interesting flavors, to start. Ralph of Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe has been noticing that his Red Velvet Cheesecake is becoming more popular. Red Velvet Cheesecake is also on Pure Cheesecakes’ Top 10 Flavors list. Other unusual flavors on this list: Caramelized Pear; Pistachio; Chocolate Truffle; S’mores; and Pumpkin. Strawberry Balsamic Cheesecake — an elevated version of a traditional flavor — is Brooklyn-based Biteme Cheesecake’s best-selling flavor.
And interesting sizes and shapes. To prevent their customers from suffering from massive guilt after wolfing down too much cheesecake (I can identify with this!), and also because they’re cute and festive, some cheesecake purveyors are offering mini-cheesecakes. In fact, Biteme Cheesecakes are only available in mini sizes. While Pure Cheesecakes offers cheesecakes in full sizes, this bakery specializes in small cheesecakes. Pure Cheesecakes also sells Cheesecake Pops and Cheesecake Bars. When I asked about these Cheesecake Pops, Patricia of Pure Cheesecakes said: “Our Pops have been very popular for the last five years…especially for parties and events.”
Unlike delicate pastries, cheesecakes can be frozen so they can be shipped long distances, opening up interesting sales opportunities. If you don’t live near a Cheesecake Factory, fear not. You can order a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake from Harry & David. And earlier this year, The New York Times described a monastic order in upstate New York that supports itself from sales of its cheesecakes, which are shipped direct to consumers. These New Skete Cheesecakes are available in 13 different flavors.
I’m dreaming of cheesecake!