W ith a decadent, dense, creamy body and a crunchy graham cracker base, cheesecake is a festival of texture and flavour in the mouth, a veritable classic. With a variety of flavours and variations, from lemon to blueberry and chocolate to mango flavoured cheesecake, everyone has their own particular taste and preference when it comes to this dessert.

It’s made using ingredients like graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and butter for the crust, cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, eggs, sour cream, and heavy cream for the filling, and sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract for a sour cream topping. Some recipes don't even require baking, simply freeze and the cake is ready.

This dessert, a favourite of many the world over, originated in ancient Greece, around the 5th-Century. Their plakous or flat mass consisted of fresh cheese patties being pounded smooth with flour and honey and cooked on a griddle. Medieval Europe also made a tart with a pastry base. The 1390 English cookbook The Forme of Cury, compiled by King Richard II’s cooks, talks about two cheese tarts: sambocade, which used curd cheese, egg whites, rosewater, and elder flowers; and Tart de Bry using ruayn (cow’s cheese), egg yolks, and ginger. Cheesecake continues to appear in other English cookbooks over the centuries.

Travelling with colonisers, the dessert also reached the Americas and in 1730, Philadelphia had a Cheesecake House tavern. Recipes for cheesecake soon start showing up in American cookbooks as well. By the 19th century, lemon and/or vanilla start to replace rosewater and by the 1930s, American cheesecake starts using cream cheese instead of curd cheese, dramatically changing its taste, being much closer to the cheesecake as we understand it today.

Today, experimentation continues with this customisable dish, with different flavours, base options, and cheese types, and to commemorate this delectable dessert, 30 July is celebrated as National Cheesecake Day in the US.