when I was young I didn't know what cheesecake was a cake made from cheese? how odd.

When I was very young, mum often made cakes and puddings for afternoon teas and for sweets after dinner.
We were on a tight budget, so these cheap treats were a good way to fill small tummies when the breadwinner got the largest portion of the main meals. Often enough, sweets,(dessert) was a slice of bread and butter sprinkled with brown sugar, or jam and cream.

Half of our backyard was a giant veggie patch too. I remember planting radish seeds along with carrots because the radishes would be ready first and as we pulled them we'd be making room for the carrots to mature.

The puddings were often a chocolate custard with sprinkles, or a semolina made thick enough to set, with sprinkles.  Lemon sago pudding with custard was a favourite too and I still like it.
Or canned fruit with custard.

Most often would be cake.

Mum would make a basic butter cake mixture, pour it into a slab tin, top it with sliced apples or plums, sprinkle the whole thing with sugar and bake it.
There were sandwich cakes, sandwiched together with plum jam, or chocolate cakes.
Apple strudels with whipped cream.

None of these options ever contained cheese.
We had never heard of cheesecake.
Not fruitcake either, to us, fruitcake was that heavy stuff English people ate at Christmas. 

When I was thirteen, my best friend E had an older sister who was engaged to be married, so their mum was teaching her to cook. Releasing all the hints and tips that made recipes better.

On the way to school one day, riding our bikes, E mentioned that S had made her very first cheesecake.
I immediately said I didn't like cheesecake...it was so...cheesy. 
E had no idea, and I didn't enlighten her, that I had no idea what a cheesecake was.

A cake with cheese? That's odd. Why would anyone want to eat such a thing?

In our house, cheese was that mild flavoured yellow wedge bought weekly at the corner store where the shopkeeper would slice the wheel with a giant knife. Three shillings worth of cheese was enough for a week. Or there was quark, the "cream cheese" that mum made. Which hung to drip in its muslin bag on the back porch. Awful stuff which I refused to eat.  Later there was Kraft cream cheese in jars. Still awful.

No more mention was made of the cheesecake and I forgot about it.
My own children were raised without cheesecake, I don't recall ever seeing it in the shops when buying groceries. Possibly because it never occurred to me to look for it. I was on a tight budget....

Now, of course, I know what cheesecake is and buy it way too often.
I've even made a few myself.
From packet mixes, the recipe on the back of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese packet, and recently my younger daughter made a baked cheesecake.
Which was very nice. And lemon flavoured. I do like lemon.
And I buy frozen cheesecakes.

I still don't remember how or when I first came across this delicious treat. A cake, made from cheese.
I think it may have been when my older daughter made one after her mother-in-law showed her how.
Possibly it was sooner, but I have no memory of having it before then.
Of course I also know about cream cheese frosting now too.


  1. It is amazing how many adults do not know that cheese cake contains creasm cheese and that cream cheese is actually dairy......I am dairy intolerant and when I say "no thank you, I'm allergic to dairy" people just stare at me like I just grew two heads. "It's not dairy," they say....."It's just cake." I get them to run through the ingredient list and watch as the penny drops.

  2. Laura, the 11 year old, came with some fast held notions about food. One was, cheese cake is made with cheese. She Would Not Eat Cheesecake.

    And did not, for almost a year. Finally one tiny bite passed her teeth, and guess what. It's good. She decided she had been misled by siblings who wanted more cheesecake. As she may have been.

  3. I was at least a late teenager before I heard of and ate cheese cake. I am surprised that people don't think that there is cheese in cheesecake. Maybe they are conditioned to be sceptical by products such as one we recently heard about, banana and honey muesli that does not contain banana or honey.

  4. I LOVE New York style creamy cheesecake & of, course cream cheese on bagels!!

  5. Your childhood sounds like mine, our backyard was also full of vegies maybe thats why we played in the street or visited friends so much.
    Cheesecake was something I didn't taste until I was married as my mum never made it and shop cake was a rare treat, now to taste home made cake is rare, funny how things change.

  6. My mum was English so fairly plain foods were always the order of the day but she made the most delicious chocolate fudge cake (always a favourite with my boyfriends) and puddings were usually bread and butter or rice variety. She also made wonderful pastry (using lard) so jam tarts, apple pies and jam turnovers. Her custard was always perfect made with custard power and Suhshine powdered milk.
    I'd not had cheesecake when young and when I was about 37 my daughter decided she would make us one (she was 14). All went well until she took it out of the fridge when the bottom dropped out of the springform tin along with the cheesecake. When I got home from work and asked her how it went she said the dog had enjoyed it thank you very much. I think from then on we always bought any cheesecake we may have had.

  7. Delores; I'm surprised that people don't know that cheesecake has cheese. I have a dairy intolerance too, not too bad, but I do need to be careful of how much I have. straight milk is the worst, can't drink it at all, cooked in a custard seems to be fine. Flavoured in a milkshake is alright too, but not everyday. I probably eat one cheesecake per summer.

    Joanne; poor Laura, being deprived of deliciousness by the others.

    Andrew; I don't like those Mueslis, I've read the packets and the banana and honey are usually just flavouring.

    fishducky; cream cheese on bagels...I tried that once and discovered I don't like bagels. Love the New York Style cheesecakes though.

    Merlesworld; we played in the front half of the backyard, near the verandah, the front yard was for show not for playing. We did sit on the front porch in the evenings sometimes, but any real playing and visiting was done in the backyard. We still have homemade cake much more than shop bought. I find the shop bought ones all taste the same, sugar and flavouring.

    Mimsie; I've never got the hang of chocolate fudge cake. I keep trying though. I love rice puddings, but mum never made them, coming from Germany she always used sago like her mum before her. So sad about your daughter's cheesecake going to the dog, did she never try again? My daughter has a brand new springform tin for hers, the old tin I'd left her was found to be rusty.

  8. Sounds like my childhood too. Now I wonder what year cheesecake came into style. I remember making it a few times when my kids were young but I never did acquire a taste for it. Still don't like it.
    I like what you ate when you were young. Bread still had the good nutrition and it tasted sooooo heavenly.

  9. Manzanita; we ate brown bread, vastly different from the wholemeal pale brown stuff available today with all its added this and that. It wasn't rye bread, that's entirely different and we had that too, but the brown bread was so yummy, soft too. It may have been malt bread, but I'll never know. I've found I prefer the continental style cheesecake over the heavier baked styles.

  10. That sounds a lot like the way we were brought up too. No cheesecake. Ever. And I think I was an adult before I tried it.
    Rice pudding was my favourite of the cheap desserts we were given. I might have to make one...

  11. My mum made cheese cake a lot, a fav dessert in our house and I often got the job of crushing the packet of biscuits for the base. I have to admit though it's been years since Ive had any..

  12. Cream cheese frosting is wonderful!

    I have never heard of quark...

    I grew up without cheesecake, also being a bit on the poorer side, but we now make a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving that no one can get enough of.

    The lemon stuff isn't bad, either. :-)


  13. Elephant's Child; I want a rice pudding now too, I'll make one on the weekend.

    Kymbo; I didn't taste cheesecake until I was an adult, then it was years before I dared to try making one.

    Weekend-Windup; welcome to drifting and thank you.

    Pearl; I eat cream cheese frosting by the spoonful, which is why I rarely make any.
    Quark is a home made cottage cheese, I think, Mum brought the method with her from Germany where they always made it that way.
    I've never had pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake, perhaps you could post a recipe? I love lemon cheesecake.


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