We put a lot of thought into the desserts we bake… From our very beginning in my home kitchen, I cultivated my passion for creating and sharing the finest desserts around. A commitment to exceptional flavor and craft has led me to seek out the highest quality ingredients I could find. While the number of cheesecakes we bake has grown, our core mission has never changed, to bake the finest cheesecake money can buy. So please enjoy!
I grew up in rural Manawa Wisconsin, population 1300, the thirteenth of fifteen children. My father Ted was a door-to-door salesman and my mom stayed home to raise their children. Our family wasn’t well off so there wasn’t a lot of store-bought bakery to be found on our dinner table. Instead my mom Mary baked all her own breads, cookies, pies and cakes (in a wood stove no less) to stretch the family’s budget. So now you know why for me there is this sense of warmth and pride attached to the art of scratch baking. But I know for my mom baking was probably one of her only creative outlets.
By 1983 I had a family of my own — five children and working husband. Like my mom, I found myself housebound looking for creative ways to pass the time, so I too started to bake. Because my husband Mark ran one of Milwaukee’s top restaurants we traveled whenever we could seeking new menu ideas. In 1982 one such trip took us to Napa Valley in search of new wines for the restaurant’s expanding California wine list. In these years Napa Valley was still very much ‘off the beaten path’ for vacations, unless you traveled up for the day from San Francisco. Mark and I found the ‘wine country’ to be a Mecca for innovative food ideas. And it was purely by chance one evening that we came across a small restaurant in St. Helena. It was one of those small cafes where there are just a few tables and the waiter wears a tablecloth for an apron tied around his waist. After a wonderful dinner we ordered dessert, a Chocolate Cheesecake. It was the waiter’s description that intrigued us because, at this time, cheesecake was white, plain and always baked on a graham cracker crust. When it arrived the cheesecake was unlike anything either of us had ever tasted. It was gloriously rich with semi-sweet chocolate, creamy beyond belief, baked on a buttered crust of crushed chocolate cookie wafers. Mark, always working, asked if I thought I could bake something like it for the restaurant. I knew I could. So this flavor, with a touch of Amaretto added, became my very first cheesecake. Since then has been followed by dozens of others. Soon the restaurant’s cheesecakes — my cheesecakes — became so popular that dinner customers began ordering whole cakes for carry out. That’s when I decided I needed to open my own store.
My first store had just one oven, one refrigerator and 250 square feet for baking and sales. On our first full day of work my niece and I managed to bake a whopping 8 cheesecakes, traveling across the street to the store several times for more ingredients. But every one of them sold by the next afternoon. Twenty-three years later, today, you will find my cheesecakes and desserts sold in the finest grocery stores across America. And while the number of cheesecakes we bake every day has increased significantly, the early memories of my mom’s scratch baking has bound me to the philosophy of using only the finest, freshest ingredients I can find.
Today there are dozens of commercially produced cheesecakes available, but I believe mine is still the best for the simple reason that I’ve never scrimped on quality to achieve quantity.
Suzy’s Cream Cheesecakes & Distinctive Desserts