National Cheesecake Day is one of the creamiest days of the year! It’s a day to indulge in the decadence of this dessert, and sample some of the tastiest flavors. From the humble plain baked to the tangy key lime or maybe a chocolate one would hit the spot. Whatever grabs that sweet tooth it is certain that today is the day for some cheesecake!
History of National Cheesecake Day
Although the original National Cheesecake Day was conceived and first celebrated in 1985, it didn’t really take off until 2001 when the power of the internet helped its cause. It then gained traction and became a sensation that is now celebrated all over the world!
Dating back to its invention by the Ancient Greeks, probably around 200 A.D., cheesecake was believed to have been one of the first “sweet” desserts in the world. Or at least, it was one of the first to be written down! In its earlier time, this dish was originally made from a soft cheese but was probably very different from what we now know as cheesecake.
Over the centuries, cheesecake moved around the world and popped up as different expressions in different regions. For instance, cheesecake in Italy is traditionally made with their favorite, ricotta cheese. Cheesecakes in Germany and Poland are often made with a special kind of soft cheese called “quark”. And, of course, American cheesecake uses its own home invention: cream cheese.
But no matter the variation, cheesecake is a tasty invention that has developed and evolved over time into something that almost everyone in the world loves to eat!
How to Celebrate National Cheesecake Day
Celebrating National Cheesecake Day is super easy! Just eat, bake and enjoy cheesecake of any variety. Try these ideas for getting creative with celebrating the day:
Eat Some Cheesecake
The most obvious way to celebrate is to grab a piece to-go, pick up a whole cheesecake at a bakery and take it to the office to share, or even get a boxed mix and make an easy refrigerator cheesecake at home. No matter how it’s done the most important thing on this day is to somehow, some way, get cheesecake into that belly!
Make a Cheesecake
Depending on the recipe chosen, making cheesecake can either be simple or a little bit fussy. A true cheesecake recipe will be made from ingredients such as cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs, then baked in the oven for about an hour or more. It is important to bake it slowly on a low temperature to keep it from cracking. This is the way cheesecake is made at a bakery or at a specially themed restaurant such as The Cheesecake Factory.
Some simpler versions of cheesecake recipes are no-bake, which instead use the refrigerator to get cream cheese, whipping cream or other ingredients to set up into a dessert. These recipes typically do not include eggs as the cake is not baked. But they are still deliciously tasty!
Get Creative with Cheesecake Recipes
A slice of classic, New York style cheesecake is nothing to complain about! But some people like to mix things up a bit and get more creative with the way they make their cheesecakes. Try these unique styles of cheesecake for fun, or make up your own:
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake. Enjoy the fun of this classic American cookie alongside the beauty of a delectable cheesecake! It includes actual chocolate chip cookie dough in the batter, and is topped with actual chocolate chip cookies.
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake. A tasty strawberry flavored cheesecake is poured into a graham cracker crust, then finished off with a chocolate ganache topping reminiscent of chocolate covered strawberries. It’s a dessert-lover’s dream.
- Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Cheesecake. Another American favorite, peanut butter and Nutter Butter cookies are included in this recipe that is baked and then topped with a yummy peanut butter sauce and then garnished with peanut butter cookies.
- Cannoli Cheesecake. Channel that inner Italian baker with this yummy recipe that embraces ricotta and mascarpone cheeses on a graham cracker crust and is topped with mini chocolate chips.
Host a Cheesecake Gathering
While friends, family and neighbors can be invited, the guest of honor at this particular event must be the venerable Cheesecake! Get a bunch of folks together for this day and have a few different people bring a plain cheesecake each. Ask some others to bring along some toppings for a toppings bar, and then get to eating!
For a cheesecake toppings bar, include different fruit, candy or sauce options that people with different preferences might like to try. Canned pie fillings make easy and tasty toppings in cherry, strawberry or blueberry. Fresh strawberries or mandarin oranges are also a great idea.
Sauces for the cheesecake toppings bar can include chocolate, caramel or peanut butter. Add some dishes filled with nuts such as pecans, peanuts or slivered almonds. Some toasted coconut would also make a lovely addition.
And don’t forget candies such as chocolate chunks, ice cream sprinkles, pieces of snickers bars or even gummy bears. The options are basically endless!
Head to New York for Some Cheesecake
Maybe it’s not the actual place of origin for cheesecake, but New Yorkers would argue that it’s the only place to get a real slice of the good stuff! This style of pure cheesecake, with no fancy ingredients, became popular in New York in the early 1900s and the recipes really have not changed much since then.
In order to get access to the best cheesecakes in New York, it will likely be necessary to visit a few different bakeries or restaurants, including:
- Veniero’s Paticceria and Cafe. An authentic Italian Bakery located in the East Village since 1894, this bakery does the New York cheesecake just perfectly.
- Junior’s Restaurant. Since 1950, Junior’s Restaurant has been making cheesecakes at the same family owned location in Brooklyn. It’s now a chain with storefronts in a few other locations throughout the NYC area.
- Eileen’s Special Cheesecake. In business for more than 45 years, this bakery began with a recipe that was passed down by Eileen’s mom. Her Nolita location offers at least 20 flavors but, of course, the classic New York style is always on offer.
- La Cheesecake Bake Shop. Aptly named, this takeout counter in Queens has been offering “light as air” cheesecakes, along with other delicious baked goods, since 1985.