Appreciating a slice of cheesecake from Carol’s Cheesecakes & More is easy, but categorizing its style of baking takes a little more finesse. At first sight, cheesecake lovers will describe the cake with no topping as classic New York. But take a taste, and the luscious texture (ah, sour cream!) heads straight for Chicago.
Developed 10 years ago by owner Carol Minneci, the recipe is a hybrid, the result of her determination to find a no-bath cheesecake recipe with a creamy texture. “I messed with 10 or 12 recipes until I finally pieced one together from all of them,” she says.
A week or two later, Carol made a second cake with Baileys Irish Cream and pulled her husband, Andrew Minneci, into the kitchen. “Her recipe was awesome,” Andrew recalls. “So I ran with it and came up with all the different flavors.”
For the next six or seven years, the couple kept baking, turning out cakes for gifts, church bazaars, and special orders. Their business grew by word of mouth, as did the menu, directed by customer requests. “Someone would say, ‘Hey, can you make a Neapolitan cheesecake?’” Andrew explains. “So I would go home and make one, using chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla just like the ice cream.”
A truck driver for 30 years, Andrew was anxious to come home and stay put, so a fulltime cheesecake business eventually made sense. The couple opened their bakery just north of Broad Avenue on Hollywood Street in October 2014, growing their cheesecake menu to three dozen different flavors and adding rum balls, graham cracker brittle, and housemade soups when the weather is cold. Distribution also grew with placement in local stores, including Miss Cordelia’s on Mud Island, High Point Grocery in East Memphis, and Isabella’s Pizza in Bartlett.
“We don’t sell toppings, we sell cheesecake,” Carol says, pointing out a popular flavor called cinnamon roll and a pretty pastel slice of lemonberry. “If it’s good, you don’t need to dress it up.”
482 N. Hollywood St. (901-323-2217)