Samantha Strange has based her career around one sweet specialty: cheesecake! After graduating college with a culinary focus and anointing herself The Cheesecake Girl, she’s developed a local brand that you should definitely get to know. You can pick up Sam’s cheesecakes in regular or mini sizes at Smidge and Pinch or The Hills Market, plus you can order treats directly from her online in varieties like jelly donut, Girl Scout cookie, or puppy chow. She also participates in pairing events all over town, where she pairs cheesecake flavors with everything from beer to coffee flights. Read on to learn more about the “girl” in The Cheesecake Girl:
What motivated you to start a cheesecake business? Why cheesecake instead of another dessert?
I really just love cheesecake! So when I decided to minor in culinary in college, I started experimenting and letting friends try out the cheesecake creations. When I moved back to Ohio after college I kept baking for fun, family parties, my parents’ friends’ events and stuff like that. Then it just spiraled out of control into where I’m at today! I couldn’t be more happy with it. We are actually working on adding more desserts to the menu so it won’t be just cheesecake for long!
How did you transition into baking full-time?
It was hard to take the leap. I finally realized it was time when I had to turn orders down. I hated the feeling of telling people I didn’t have time for their orders. So I started looking at The Cheesecake Girl as a full time possibility. I re-launched the website, re-branded everything & went for it!
You bake so many tasty flavors! Where is your favorite place to find inspiration?
Honestly, Pinterest. I love to sit and scroll and see what everyone else is inspired by. I usually find flavor ideas through other recipes. For example, I love Boston Cream Pie, but I’m not The Pie Girl. So I decided to take all my favorite desserts and turn them into cheesecake flavors!
What is (in your opinion) the best variety you’ve ever made?
That’s a tough one because there are so many! One of my go-to flavors is German Chocolate Cheesecake, or Monster Cookie Cheesecake!
How many total cheesecakes do you make a day? I’ve seen your Instagram – those dishes must pile up!
Each day is different! On average I would say we bake around 6 full cheesecakes a day + 8-12 dozen mini cheesecakes a day!
Can you tell us about your worst kitchen disaster?
Our worst kitchen disaster actually wasn’t my fault (surprisingly) – I had just pulled out 4 dozen mini snickerdoodle cheesecakes from the oven. It was the last order of the day. I put them down on our cooling rack and went to start cleaning up when I heard the crash! An employee in the kitchen I bake out of was rushing by the racks and bumped all 4 dozen upside down on the ground. I literally couldn’t say anything I just stood there trying not to cry. We cleaned everything up and got back to work, that employee brought me a gift card and an apology letter the next day so all is forgiven!
Which local restaurant do you frequent more than any other?
I basically live at the Sunny Street Cafe in Upper Arlington. That’s the kitchen I bake out of and the owners are good friends! You’d think I would get sick of eating there…but I still eat breakfast & lunch there almost every day!
What is your favorite Columbus-based product?
There are so many fantastic local products! I love Ridiculously Good Salsa though, you can tell how fresh the ingredients are and it’s a great snack!
What is your adult beverage of choice?
Summer Sangria from Powell Village Winery has my heart. But I also would never turn down a Moscow Mule.
Can you share your go-to recipe to cook at home?
With the hours I work I rarely have time to cook at home! I do have a recipe I make every now and then when my friends & family get sick of cheesecake! I went to a Zac Brown Band concert (one of the 10 I’ve been to!) and they do an Eat & Greet instead of a Meet & Greet. The band serves you their favorite foods made by their tour chef and you get to chat with them. It’s really neat. Well they served a bread pudding that actually made me like bread pudding!
Do you have any fun hobbies or talents, other than making wonderful desserts?
Any free time I get is spent on friends, family & being outside with my dog Bo! I collect records as well & love going to concerts!
Do you have a charity that fans should know about and support?
I’m actually working with Easterseals this year for their Romancing The Grape event! Other than that I usually give leftover cheesecake to fire stations & police departments!
You recently started selling your creations at the Smidge and Pinch storefront in Powell. Can you tell us more about that and what else is coming up for The Cheesecake Girl?
Yes! The store owner, Angie, is fantastic and I have loved being business partners with her! There is always cheesecake available inside her store along with every baking supply & cookie cutter needed. Up next for The Cheesecake Girl is hopefully another storefront! We’ve been working on it but it’s about good timing!
Take a peek at Sam’s website to see a small taste of the flavors she creates: https://www.thecheesecakegirl.com/. You can custom order your own culinary creation with creative crusts, toppings, and fillings. If you’ve tried The Cheesecake Girl, let me know your favorite find in the comments below!
*All photos courtesy of The Cheesecake Girl