The Evolution of the Cheesecake (And Your Chance to Win Cheesecakes by Guy!)March 8, 2019
Who doesn’t love cheesecake? It takes a truly heartless man (or woman) to turn down a slice, especially if it’s free. What’s the best one you’ve tried? Did it have Pumpkin Spice? Was it Red Velvet? Maybe classic Chicago-style? Careful, don’t get drool on your keyboard.
The very idea of cheesecakes may seem modern and new, but it has, in fact, been in existence (in one form or another) for millennia. The versions we enjoy today are merely the delicious descendants of these ancient desserts.
1. Cheesecakes originated in Greece.
Cheesecakes first originated in Greece. Archeologists have unearthed physical evidence that prove cheesecakes have been in existence as early as 2000 BC. Among the artifacts they’ve recovered are the cheese molds used to make the cake.
These ancient cheesecakes (basic wheat flour pastries baked with cheese and honey) were considered to be a great source of energy. There is evidence that it was actually served to athletes during the first Olympic games and as wedding cakes (which makes sense as both sports and post-wedding celebrations are notorious for tiring a guy out).
The oldest surviving complete Greek cheesecake recipe dates back to 230 AD, written by a man named Athenaeus. His method involved pounding some cheese until it was smooth and pasty, mixing that in with honey and wheat flour in a brass pan, and heating that pan on an open flame until the cheesecake was perfectly cooked. The cakes were then allowed to cool before they were served to guests.
2. Romans improved the Greek recipe by adding crushed cheese to the mix.
When Rome took over Greece, they modified the cheesecake recipe by adding crushed cheese and eggs to the mix. As the legions sought to expand the Roman Empire, they brought their cheesecakes with them, thereby introducing the dish to England and Eastern Europe.
3. In 1545, the first cookbook was printed with Henry VIII’s chef’s cheesecake recipe.
It wasn’t until 1545 when the first cookbook was printed. Henry VIII’s favorite cheesecake, made by his personal chef, had its recipe included in the volume. It involved small cheese pieces that were soaked in milk for three hours. The cheese was strained and then mixed with eggs, butter, and sugar to make the cake.
4. In 1873, the Americans added Cream Cheese to the recipe.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the cheesecake started to take the shape we’re all familiar with today, dense, creamy, and with a graham cracker crust . In 1873, the Americans added cream cheese to the standard cheesecake recipe. This innovation resulted in a much creamier texture, becoming an instant hit all over New York.
5. Today, almost every country has its own unique cheesecake variation.
All over the globe, people started adding their own unique twist to the cheesecake. Chicago Cheesecake, for instance, uses sour cream, while the St. Louis Cheesecake uses a moist butter cake base with an additional layer of cake on top of the cheesecake filling. The Italian version, on the other hand, contains ricotta cheese, while the Greeks use mizithra or feta. Germans prefer using cottage cheese, while the Japanese use a combination of egg whites and cornstarch. Other specialty cheesecakes soon started appearing on the market, made with unusual ingredients such as blue cheese, seafood, caviar, chilies, and even tofu.
Did reading about the history of cheesecakes make you crave for a slice yourself? You’re in luck! We’re giving away 3 Caviar Cheesecake tasters and 3 Cheesecake tasters from Cheesecakes by Guy. All you have to do is click the image above, follow him on Twitter, and he’ll decide who’s been naughty or nice.