San Clemente Shop Sells Cheesecake — With A Twist

By Fred Swegles The Orange County Register.

When you're ready to treat yourself to something special, stop by Tina Cahill's new San Clemente shop, Abby's Cheesecakes.

She calls her invention the "single-serving gourmet cheesecake."

"I've innovated the old-fashioned cheesecake," she said.

How so? We asked her about it:

Q. Why do a different cheesecake?

A. During this recession it was very difficult to find work, so I started researching, "How did people make it during the Great Depression?" I found out some amazing things ... some of the foods we all love today were created from hardship, such as macaroni and cheese, Toll House cookies and pigs in a blanket.

I also read that today, women in their 40s and 50s that had great careers were out of work, just like me and also couldn't find work, and they started to bake their favorite desserts using others' commercial kitchens. They started some amazing businesses.

Q. So what about this cheesecake?

A. The No. 1 preferred dessert in the world is something hot, cold and crunchy ... like the hot fudge sundae or a hot brownie with ice cream ... it's what people prefer on their palate. And I knew my favorite dessert, cheesecake, never comes with a hot topping. So I started experimenting. I came up with this amazing Hot Apple Caramel.

Then one day someone asked me to help them and we had a meeting with McCormick Spice company. I had to make lunch for them and at the last minute I thought, "Oh, no. I forgot dessert." So I quickly made some cheesecake. The next day, an executive and the executive chef called and said they were the most amazing cheesecakes they ever had and I should do something with them. I was shocked to hear such a great compliment. I thought this is what could change my life, so I continued to develop.

Q. What makes Abby's different?

A. First, Abby's created the perfect personal-size cheesecakes everyone can afford, even on a tight budget. You no longer have to buy an entire cheesecake for $30 and then have to eat all quickly so you don't waste it or your money. Finally, for the first time ever, you can get a hot or cold topping of your choice.

Q. What are your flavors?

A. Hot Apple Caramel, Hot Peach Bourbon with a Caramel Swirl, Hot Cherry Amaretto with a Chocolate Swirl, Strawberry Lemonade and A Blend of Fruits with a Honey Swirl.

Q. So customers buy three components, then what do they do?

A. You can buy the cheesecakes for $4.95, which includes your choice of topping and a swirl. To heat the toppings, you just heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds, place on cheesecake and then swirl away; design your plate like you are eating at a fancy restaurant.

You will look like a top chef when you serve them to friends. You can also buy a half-dozen or a dozen and get a discount. They come frozen or ready to serve.

Q. Is there anything comparable?

A. After I came up with idea so I could make a living, I wanted to see if anyone else packaged their cheesecake like I do and no one does.

Abby's Cheesecakes is the first in the nation, so I had to perfect it so the world would love to start eating cheesecake like they never had before. I created the name Abby because I want to be first on all directory listings. It took me a long time to come up with the perfect name.

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