It’s an equation that defies dessert comprehension and expectation.
Yogurt cheesecake. In the hierarchy of all things sweet, it’s a concept that shouldn’t work. At least not in theory. Cheesecake is one of the most hallowed of desserts, an exercise in purity and flavor restraint and a symbol of flagrant disregard for dietary virtuousness. Then there’s yogurt. Whether it be the slime that slithers out of the container or sits there like sublime sludge (aka Greek-style yogurt), it’s an emblem of health and healthy stomach bacteria.
“And never the twain shall meet,” goes the famous quote. So to have a yogurt cheesecake, never mind that it’s frozen yogurt — well, is this a dessert travesty or not?
Apparently, the good people at White Hat don’t think so. Penny Tan, boss girl for product development tells me, “Cheesecake is one of our stores’ most popular toppings [and] customers have even asked about buying our bars of cheesecake. So we thought of making yogurt cheesecakes as a way to give customers what they want but healthier.”
The challenge was to develop a cheesecake that combined the best qualities of yogurt and cheesecake – creaminess and tang – without having to resort to additives, etc., to achieve that proper mouth feel. Of the eight flavors available (see list below), I’m partial to the Banana Caramel Walnut (above). I feel that it strikes a balance between virtue and indulgence, and its accompaniments of bananas and walnuts (fruit and nuts) are what I normally pair with yogurt anyway so it feels like a natural extension of “having my yogurt (cake) and eating it too.” As I mention earlier, I’m still wrapping my head around this yogurt cheesecake concept.
Make no mistake about it, this cake is a brick once it’s removed from the freezer so it must be allowed to thaw. I almost bend my cleaver trying to wrestle off a slice so I’m thinking that either my freezer is too cold or I need to change my knife set. Whatever it is, give this yogurt cheesecake at least 15-30 minutes to mellow at room temp. The condensation on the cake’s exterior also disappears during this “chillax” time making for a prettier, more evenly textured cake.
Once the cake is more malleable, it slices like a cheesecake, the knife gliding through with some resistance. It’s a beauty this one: white cream held aloft on a cracker crumb. My eyes scan its voluptuous curves, shapes of walnuts outlined almost in silhouette, and a slice yields the same, but this time of bananas, beauty frozen in a creamy dream. To cap it off, the cake carries a sheen of caramel, it is luminous in its amber glow topped with walnuts strategically positioned for portioning.
A bite chills the tongue, briefly. Then aggressive tang: yogurt. “I get here first,” it seems to say, and just as quickly, the caress of cream cheese, stroking, soothing. Sweet now and ooh, banana – soft-hard-crunch: there goes a walnut! All suspended in a combination of cream cheese and yogurt. Now that they’ve gotten used to each other, they commune and converse, a symphony of cream and synergy.
Maybe a yogurt cheesecake isn’t so difficult to love after all.
Yogurt Cheesecakes by The White Hat Italian Frozen Yogurt
1. Vanilla – unadorned cheesecake
2. Banana Caramel Walnut – with roasted bananas and walnuts
3. Blueberry – the popular vanilla cheesecake topped with blueberry
4. Strawberry – flavored with Italian strawberry
5. Oreo – with chocolate cookie base and Oreo topping
6. Red Velvet – with chocolate cookie base, red velvet cheesecake and cream cheese topping
7. Cookie Dough – with balls of cookie dough (another of our popular topping) inside the cheesecake
8. Mocha – coffee flavored with a layer of chocolate ganache inside
Whole Cake – Php1075.00 (12 slices) for all the cakes except Vanilla which is Php975.00
Slice – Php100 per slice for all the cakes except Vanilla is Php90.00
Whole cakes can be ordered and picked up at all Metro Manila stores. Allow lead time of 3 days.