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The great cheesecake guide

We owe a great debt of gratitude to whoever thought of combining two of our favourite things: cake and cheese. The creamy and comforting dessert is perfection in its simplest form, or whipped up with indulgent flavours like Bar One, Oreo, salted caramel, brownie and blueberry. Whether you prefer a fridge version or oven-baked, there’s no doubt that this dessert satisfies any sweet tooth. Here’s where to find creamy cheesecakes around the country.

Johannesburg

The Big Mouth (Nelson Mandela Square)

Treat yourself to a yummy peanut-butter cheesecake for R68.

Café del Sol Botanico (Bryanston)

This award-winning Italian spot serves gorgeous baked cheesecake topped with blueberries and gooseberries for R68. The cake flavours and toppings of the day vary according to seasons.

Craft (Parkhurst)

Spoil yourself with a slice of salted-caramel cheesecake at Craft, if you don’t fall prey to one of the many tempting desserts like freakshakes and loaded hot chocolates.

A salted caramel cheesecake at Craft. Photo supplied.

A salted caramel cheesecake at Craft. Photo supplied.

Dolci (Craighall Park)

This friendly patisserie offers, amongst other treats, plain traditional cheesecakes, and those with fruit toppings, brownie bases, chocolate ganache layers, crumbled Oreo layers, Rolos and peanut butter. Dolci make all their items fresh,  so it’s best to pre-order to avoid disappointment. Prices range from R45 for a slice of the plain baked cheesecake to R75 for a slice of the brownie based, Oreo fridge cake with chocolate ganache and cherry compote. Full-size cheesecakes cost between R400 and R600.

DW Eleven-13 (Dunkeld West)

Push out of the boat with a pumpkin cheesecake at this highly regarded nominee for the 2016 Top 10. The price is on request, and you will be handsomely rewarded in experience.

Gemelli (Bryanston)

This family-friendly Italian spot offers indulgence in the form of almond-nougat baked cheesecake with cranberries, meringue and marzipan gelato for R75 per slice.

The nougat cheesecake at Gemelli. Photo supplied.

The nougat cheesecake at Gemelli. Photo supplied.

Roast Café (Melrose Arch)

Treat yourself to a slice of Oreo cheesecake for R59 or order a full cake for R650.

Salvationcafé (Milpark)

Find a spot in a sunbeam at this bustling café and indulge in a less-is-moreish slice of baked cheesecake with a berry coulis for R46.

The baked cheesecake at Salvationcafé. Photo supplied.

The baked cheesecake at Salvationcafé. Photo supplied.

The Whippet (Linden)

The New-York-style baked cheesecakes come with a sour-cream topping for R35. Presented as small, individual cakes, these are a standard feature on the menu.

Inside at The Whippet. Photo supplied.

Inside at The Whippet. Photo supplied.

Motherland (Dunkeld, Parktown North, Rosebank)

Delight your tastebuds with a slice of one of the mothers of all traditional baked cheesecakes for R38.

Pretoria

Afro-boer (Die Wilgers)

Chef-patron Michelle Cronje has concoted a baked banting cheesecake that’s rich with full-fat cream cheese, good organic eggs, layers of roughly chopped roasted cashews and an almond crust. ThIt’s sweetened with xylitol to give low-carb and sugar-free comfort. It’s served naked with grated lemon peel at R35 per slice. During the week of 14 February, Afro-boer offers a Valentine’s-inspired cheesecake with raspberries, goat’s cheese filling, and hazelnut-and-pistachio crust, paired with a glass of Cederberg rosé at R35 per slice.

Black Bamboo (Menlyn)

Executive chef Pellie Grobler’s modern interpretation of cheesecake is totally in line with the ethos of this fine-dining restaurant. The elegant lemon-and-lime cheesecake (R75) comes served with candied lemon and lime segments, lemon gel, aerated white chocolate, orange dust, lime curd, shortbread crumble and lemon-lime ice cream. The entire extravaganza is garnished with nasturtium petals and leaves for colour and a peppery break from the sweetness.

The lime cheesecake at Black Bamboo. Photo supplied.

The lime cheesecake at Black Bamboo. Photo supplied.

Carlton Café Delicious (Menlo Park)

Rachel Botes of Carlton Café Delicious never fails to impress. This shop offers no less than six different types of cheesecake, ranging from fridge style to Oreo-topped baked cheesecake and even a banting version. They can be ordered as whole large cakes (R350 for 26cm), mini cakes (between R45 and R55 for 10cm), or slices (R35). For a special celebratory experience, you can also order lemon cheesecake piled high with caramel profiteroles. The berry-swirl cheesecake is made with a gluten-free coconut crust and organic cream cheese, while the banting version is made with macadamia butter and xylitol.

The profiterole cheesecake at Carlton Café Delicious. Photo supplied.

The profiterole cheesecake at Carlton Café Delicious. Photo supplied.

Cocovanilla (Pretoria North)

Fearless baker Lorraine Swanepoel makes two cheesecakes to order. The decadent Oreo and Nutella baked cheesecake is made with an Oreo crust and a filling of cream cheese, melted dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa, then drizzled with Nutella and topped with Oreo crumble. The Turkish Delight fridge cheesecake features a short cookie-dough crust, a light pink rosewater cream-cheese filling, and a topping of cubes of Turkish Delight. Lorriane also makes savoury cheesecakes, such as the version with biltong, chives and feta, and the one made with bacon and caramelised onion and topped with bacon jam. R500 for a cake of 16 ample slices.

Fine Feast

Darling of the Pretoria fine-dining scene Leanne Roberts produces signature desserts as part of her home-catering service and made to order. Her dark-chocolate-and-espresso cheesecake with a gingerbread crust is served with white chocolate and ginger ice cream or mandarin sorbet, a gingerbread tuile and caramelised orange segments.

Ginger and Fig (Brooklyn)

Owner/chef Zane Figueiredo serves a crustless liquid popcorn cheesecake with caramel popcorn and salted caramel at R40 a slice. A steady stream of customers at this highly rated eatery throughout the day is testament to Zane’s creativity and culinary expertise.

The popcorn cheesecake at Ginger & Fig. Photo supplied.

The popcorn cheesecake at Ginger & Fig. Photo supplied.

Kream (Brooklyn)

The maddest (but certainly the most fun) cheesecake in Pretoria has to be Kream’s signature rainbow cheesecake called Candy Crush (R69), which looks like it could be a direct descendent of My Little Pony. If you are unconvinced that something that colourful can be tasty, fear not, it is utterly delicious. Added to the rainbow layers are all sorts of interesting bits including pink candyfloss, blue candied popcorn, crushed candy cane, gin-and-tonic jelly cubes and bright turquoise bubblegum ice cream. This dessert is sure to lift the spirits of young and old alike.

The rainbow cheesecake at Kream. Photo supplied.

The rainbow cheesecake at Kream. Photo supplied.

WhiskAway

This honourary mention goes to a cheesecake ice-cream cake. The mastermind behind this decadent reinterpretation is Karien van Emmenes, whose ice-cream business was born in her parents’ garage in 2011 and has grown to the extent that she now provides ice creams to restaurants and hotels. It’s all done the old fashioned way, with a custard base and real ingredients. Her delicious passionfruit cheesecake ice-cream cake is set on a sugarcone base, and decorated with coconut and fresh fruit.

Durban and surrounds

9th Avenue Bistro (Morningside)

End off your meal beautifully with chef Charlie Lakin’s take on cheesecake. The elegant blueberry version is served with homemade ice cream with granola and a toasted white chocolate sauce.

Blueberry Café (Nottingham Road)

This laid-back eatery offers stunning views, whether on sunny or misty winter days. The restaurant boasts large windows with vistas of the fields while your tuck into the farm-style fare. Breakfasts are a popular choice for meanderers, but it’s the signature blueberry cheesecake that keeps people coming back for more. This ultra-creamy treat is oven baked and served with a tart, purple-hued blueberry gloss over the top. A fluffy side of whipped cream is on stand-by for more decadence.

The Boiler Room Café (Morningside)

When it comes to sweet, coffee-pairing treats, this trendy spot has got it down. The cheesecake here comes in a jar, layered with ever-changing options like Nutella or in a double-decker version of white chocolate and dark chocolate, topped with whipped cream and shaved almonds. The winner, however, is the citrus cheesecake milkshake: an entire slice of cheesecake blitzed with ice cream to create the ultimate drink.

Chocolate cheesecake milkshake at Boiler Room Café. Photo supplied.

Chocolate cheesecake milkshake at Boiler Room Café. Photo supplied.

Circle Café (Durban Central)

According to some this is the best cheesecake in the city. The tranquil café, located at the Holocaust museum near the beachfront, offers delicious, freshly baked cheesecake daily. Chef Judy Druck creates this popular bake with love on the premises and simply serves it with fresh fruit. It’s creamy, moreish and worth the calories. Plus, all proceeds from the café and the gift shop go towards the educational programs of the Durban Holocaust Centre.

Delish Sisters (Salt Rock)

While the harvest table keeps lunchers happy, the daily cheesecake selection is the perfect ending at this sunny café. Expect to see fresh bakes in flavours like caramel, chocolate brownie, poached pear and meringue, berry and white chocolate, pecan and dark chocolate, or Turkish delight and pistachio brittle.

The pistachio nut brittle cheesecake at Delish Sisters. Photo supplied.

The pistachio nut brittle cheesecake at Delish Sisters. Photo supplied.

Sprigs (Kloof)

Order yourself a perfect cheesecake to take home after your lunch at this popular deli and restaurant. Options might include plain baked cheesecake, or one topped with the likes of caramel-and-nut praline, chocolate ganache, or nuts and berries.

The cheesecake at Sprigs. Photo supplied.

The cheesecake at Sprigs. Photo supplied by Sprigs.

Waterberry Coffee Shop (Ballito)

This beautiful café and deli is situated amongst Ballito’s tropical vegetation, offering visitors a taste of homely bistro eats and baked goodies. There’s a range of baked cheesecakes and creamy fridge cheesecakes from which to choose. On the baked side, choose from slices like nougat with creamy white chocolate, honey nut with chopped pecans, and rocky road with chocolate brownie bits. The fridge options include double toffee, summer berry, and granadilla cheesecake.

Cape Town

Burger & Lobster (City Bowl)

If you have room for afters here, the Nutella-Oreo cheesecake is recommended. This ultra-rich slice comes layered with Nutella and a dreamy caramel-chocolate ganache and Oreo biscuit on top.

The Nutella and Oreo cheesecake at Burger & Lobster. Photo supplied.

The Nutella and Oreo cheesecake at Burger & Lobster. Photo supplied.

Chardonnay Deli (Constantia)

While the cheesecake flavours change constantly at this farm-style deli, the lemon-and-poppyseed and plain baked versions are long-time favourites. Order a slice simply served with a side of Truth Coffee and you’ll be in heaven.

A chocolate-covered cheesecake at Chardonnay Deli. Photo supplied.

A chocolate-covered cheesecake at Chardonnay Deli. Photo supplied.

Dear Me (City Bowl)

Settle in here for a healthy bowl or glorious eggs Benedict before perusing the dessert menu. Cheesecake lovers will heed the call of the Japanese version on this exciting menu. This baked beauty is decadently topped off with a miso caramel for that salty-sweet finish.

The Food Barn Deli & Tapas (Noordhoek)

After taking the pooches for a run on Noordhoek beach, head to this buzzing village for a coffee pit stop and a sneaky slice of cheesecake. The deli’s range changes daily, but the plain baked cheesecake is a popular stalwart. Order a slice served with vibrant seasonal fruit and whipped cream.

Mini fruit cheesecakes at The Food Barn Deli. Photo supplied.

Mini fruit cheesecakes at The Food Barn Deli. Photo supplied.

Four & Twenty Café & Pantry (Wynberg)

Whether you’re here for breakfast, brunch or lunch, don’t leave without ordering a slice of freshly-baked cheesecake. Choose between the baked cheesecake topped with caramel sauce and toasted macadamia nuts or the red-velvet cheesecake with a chocolate biscuit base and topping of fresh raspberries.

The roasted macadamia nut cheesecake slice at Four & Twenty. Photo supplied.

The roasted macadamia nut cheesecake slice at Four & Twenty. Photo supplied.

The General Store (City Bowl)

If you’ve tried Colette Robert’s brownies you’ll know you’re in for a treat when it comes to any of The General Store’s bakes. The cheesecake, which makes an appearance sporadically, is miraculous and has become somewhat famous on Bree Street. The creamy creation can always be seen from the window and is never without its fudgy chocolate-brownie base. Toppings might include the likes of salted caramel, blueberries, or raspberry ripple.

The baked cheesecake at The General Store. Photo supplied.

The baked cheesecake at The General Store. Photo supplied.

Homespun Restaurant (Table View)

The menu at this Tableview bistro almost always features a cheesecake dessert. Expect to find the likes of vanilla-and-honey cheesecake with homemade red-wine gelato and an almond-and-fudge crumb; coconut-blossom cheesecake with white chocolate and walnut gelato; or a cardamom-and-white-chocolate infused cheesecake with rum and elderflower.

A fruity cheesecake at Homespun. Photo supplied.

A fruity cheesecake at Homespun. Photo supplied.

Inside & You’re Out (City Bowl)

After you’ve pigged out on cheese-stuffed burgers, loaded fries, chicken wings or toasties, satisfy your sweet tooth with IYO’s popular baked cheesecake and Bootlegger coffee combo. The glorious treat is either made with Oreos, organic cacao nibs, Nutella and white chocolate, or plain with a drizzle of butterscotch.

The Nutella cheesecake at IYO. Photo supplied.

The Nutella cheesecake at IYO. Photo supplied.

Kleinsky’s (Sea Point)

At this hip bagel bar you can find the classic New-York-style cheesecake. While this baked treat is made with the usual vanilla notes, it gives an unexpected twist with a tart sour-cream frosting and rich chocolate-mint-chip crust. Be sure to get your order in early as it gets gobbled up fast.

Kloof Street House (Gardens)

After a boozy Sunday lunch with jazz filling the air, opt for the ever-popular cheesecake dish for dessert. The completely indulgent pud comes baked with a sticky gloss of salted caramel and crunchy caramel-coated popcorn ice cream. It’s a thing of beauty.

The cheesecake at Kloof Street House. Photo supplied.

The cheesecake at Kloof Street House. Photo supplied.

New York Bagel (City Bowl)

You can’t have a cheesecake list without including these guys. Famous for bagels, this deli is also quite the king of cheesecake. Simply baked in the classic New-York-style way, the creamy vanilla slice is perfect with a flat white. There’s nothing fussy about it and it’s delicious.

Olami and Sababa (City Bowl & Sea Point)

Falafels and shakshuka are not the only things that this deli does well. The dessert selection includes all the favourites, but their cheesecake is the definite highlight of the sweet buffet. It’s made with pure vanilla and is topped with slivers of almonds.

SMAK Delicatessen

Bree Street deli SMAK is known for fresh pasta and tasty lunches (including some great tacos) but it is also home to some talented bakers. Their baked cheesecake is a gloriously creamy vanilla version with a thick and luscious salted butter-caramel topping.

The cheesecake at SMAK. Photo supplied.

The cheesecake at SMAK. Photo supplied.

Winelands

Café des Arts (Franschhoek)

The salty-caramel cheesecake at this quaint country-style restaurant gets rave reviews. It’s butterscotch in colour with a cocoa-fudgy base and is satisfyingly rich with its accompanying quenelle of cream.

Chelsea Café (Somerset West)

Order a cup of Nigiro tea or an ice chai latte and spoon your way through this charming cafe’s cheesecake offering. The creamy dessert is baked and made in the traditional New York style. Alternatively, go for the gluten- and sugar-free granadilla cheesecake.

Hussar Grill (Stellenbosch)

A retro grillhouse menu would not be complete without retro cheesecake. The Hussar Grill’s offering includes the classic smooth baked version with a traditional butter-biscuit crust. It’s then served with a dollop of cream or vanilla ice cream. Alternatively, order the delicious cherry fridge cheesecake made with a biscuit-crumble base and a rich seasonal berry coulis.

The cheesecake at Hussar Grill. Photo supplied.

The cheesecake at Hussar Grill. Photo supplied.

Postcard Café (Stellenbosch)

Stunning views, lovely wine and laid-back food is what you’ll find here. End off with the popular baked cheesecake, which is gloriously golden on the outside and light, fluffy and creamy on the inside.

Have we missed your favourite cheesecake? Share the love in the comments below and we’ll investigate.

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