The Cakemaker and the history of Home Slice cheesecake.
Home Slice is well known for our pizza, but our desserts are made with just as much love and care. If you’ve ever had our cheesecake, you know how wild people go for it. I’ve heard so many people say, “I don’t even like cheesecake normally, but this is unbelievable!” There’s a lot of lore surrounding our cheesecake so I recently sat down with Phil, our kitchen manager, to get the real story behind all the mystery.
Let’s take this journey all the way back to 2005, when Home Slice was being born. The owners really wanted to serve NY style cheesecake, but without a viable recipe and someone to make it, they were considering shipping it in from NYC. Ultimately they wanted to serve things freshly made, so back to square one they went. One day, Phil brings in a homemade cheesecake and Eureka! As it so fortuitously turns out, baking is Phil’s passion, among other things. In fact, Phil once employed a drill, duct tape and a 2 dollar whisk to make a cheesecake in the dormitory kitchen of a women’s college to impress a girl. The man does not take dessert making lightly.
Our NY style cheesecake recipe came to Phil via Chicago via Houston. Phil, as a 12 year old boy and a son of New Yorkers, asked a family friend, Nicole Baker, to show him how to make her NY style cheesecake. She treated him with the accountability of an adult and held his cakes, even at that tender and awkward age, up to the standard of her own. And thus the cakemaker was made.
As any true cakemaker will with a recipe, Phil sweated and toiled and whipped and baked and tweaked and zested and made the cake his own. When the cake became a part of Home Slice, the crust was changed from a graham cracker crust to a ricotta cookie dough. It took a lot of trial and error to bake our cake in a pizza oven and now the cake has really come into its own. It’s light and complex on the tongue with flavors of vanilla, cream, and lemon zest. Phil recognizes that food is sentimental, the smells and flavors that remind us of a love or a place or a time in our lives can be a powerful force and he treats his cakemaking with that reverence.
And it get’s better! It was discovered after we started serving our cheesecake that, as impossible to believe that it could be improved upon, the pairing of the cake with our Moscato Di Asti is about as heavenly a dessert experience as you can get. Save room, you will not be disappointed, and you just may be transported to the 7th level of bliss. To Phil, food is entirely sentimental and this cake is meant to be shared.
P.S. If you see Phil in the restaurant, chat him up. He loves to tell stories.
The cakemaker early in his career (above left), Unloading cakes from the pizza oven (above right)