Anatomy of a Cheesecake with Beth Goldwater of Bertha's Cafe

Categories: The Baker's Lab

anatomy-of-a-cheesecake.jpg
Mabel Suen
Anatomy of a slice of banana cream cheesecake from Bertha's Cafe.
See also: Asparagus and Havarti Panini from Bertha's Cafe

When you're cooking, it's all about a dash of this and a splash of that. But baking is another matter, an exact science. In this series, we're going behind the bakery case and into the kitchens of some of Phoenix's finest purveyors of sweets (and some savories). Fresh out of culinary school, Chow Bella contributor Mabel Suen will work with local chefs to learn their tricks for making perfect pastries, baked goods, and desserts. Stay tuned for findings once the flour settles.

The Baked Good: The Cheesecake
The Chef: Beth Goldwater
The Place: Bertha's Cafe

bertha's-cafe-collage.jpg
Mabel Suen
Bertha's Cafe cheesecakes come in flavors like blueberry, s'mores, peanut butter chocolate, and cookie dough.
Bertha's Cafe is one of those awesome "secret" spots that everyone knows about, which explains the packed lunch crowd still going strong well past one o'clock on a weekday.

Sure, it's lunchtime and all, but we bet that many patrons simply use lunch as an excuse to go for a slice of one of owner Beth Goldwater's signature cheesecakes. Flavors rotate on a regular basis -- many inspired by other classic desserts -- and include baklava, tiramisu, white chocolate raspberry, banana cream and Kahlua brownie, to name a few.

The bakery case in the modest storefront contains all kinds of homey delights -- the kind that immediately dance across the mind when someone mentions the phrase "from scratch." Think cookies, cupcakes and luscious dessert bars loaded with heavy doses of chocolate chunks, caramel, toffee, or coconut.

Set on the bottom row (perhaps a marketing technique to steer customers' eyes toward other goods first), only a few pieces fan favorite fluffy banana cream cheesecake remain for the day. Walking around her shop with a brand new bouncing baby in tow to the delight of many of her regular customers, petite Goldwater epitomizes sweetness in her quaint little cafe.

To Goldwater, the perfect cheesecake is a bit light and fluffy as opposed to the super dense and heavy dessert that most people are accustomed to. The body of the cake is primarily off white in color with a creamy texture, the top is a light golden brown and edges of the crust are a slightly darker. Additional flavorings should be subtle, not overpowering, and each cake comes topped with a layer of whipped cream.


Location Info

Bertha's Cafe

3134 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General


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