The Cheesecake Factory
UPDATE 3.23.2012: Thank you to reader Lilly, I’ve gotten more information about this cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory itself. While recently dining at The Cheesecake Factory, she was told this by the manager: I “The cocoa powder that is dusted on top of the cheesecake has wheat mixture in it, AND Godiva chocolate itself has gluten.” Thank you, Lilly, for sharing your experience. I try to be transparent on this blog about my less vigilant approach to eating gluten-free since I can get away with eating a little and being fine, however, I encourage all of my readers to listen to their bodies, be careful and always err on the side of caution. I know how unpleasant a reaction can be.
I did my own homework on one of my favorite social media channels, Twitter, and reached out to The Cheesecake Factory to see what they had to say on the issue. The verdict? It’s not looking good, folks:
I sat down with my dessert with the intention of writing about the gluten-free muffins I tried the weekend before last from the breakfast bar in my kitchen, just as I said I would in my City Feed post. But as I began eating my leftover Flourless Godiva Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, it became quite clear to me that my mind and palette were not thinking about muffins. Nope. They were all about the rich, smooth, delicious cheesecake.
As I’ve mentioned before, my allergy isn’t so severe. So a piece of chocolately, flourless cake on a special occasion (the Cheesecake Factory is my family’s good old birthday dinner standby, though this particular instance happened to be my cousin’s graduation from grad school…congrats!) is good enough for my sister, my mother and me. So to write this post, I did a little bit of research to see if this flourless cake is gluten-free and suitable for others, too.
My research first revealed that the Cheesecake Factory website is quite interesting–it is set up to look just like a Cheesecake Factory, pre-recorded waitstaff included. Freaky. The folks on the message boards at celiac.com proved a bit more helpful. There I was able to find the ingredients of this cake, taken from an email a poster received from the Cheesecake Factory:
INGREDIENTS: Cream (Cream, Mono & Diglycerides, Polysorbate 80, Carrageenan), Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Cream Culture, Salt, Xanthan and/or Carob Bean and/or Guar Gums), Semisweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate Processed with Alkali, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa, Butter Oil, Soy Lecithin, Milk, Vanillin an artificial flavor, Natural Flavor), Eggs, Sugar, Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Milk, Butter Oil, Soy Lecithin, Vanillin – an Artificial Flavor, Natural Flavor), Cultured Sour Cream (Cultured Grade A Pasteurized Sour Cream, Non Fat Milk, Enzyme), Chocolate Liquor, Butter, Water, Chocolate Snow Powder (Dextrose, Cocoa Powder, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Gelatin, Vanillin (Artificial Flavor).
No gluten from what I can see! However, the posters bring up an excellent point: cross contamination. In a restaurant as busy and bustling as the Cheesecake Factories around here tend to be, I can’t imagine that they would ever be truly able to prepare food on a completely gluten-free surface. Another poster made a point that the company does not make the cheesecakes on location, but rather ships them in from a facility. That facility does also produce the other glutenus cheesecakes.
Does this cheesecake belong on a gluten-free blog? Perhaps not. It depends on your condition, your history, and the risks you are willing to take. This post may be a bit insensitive to those with severe allergies, and for that I apologize. Please skip the next paragraph.
This cheesecake is out of this world. It is so delicious and smooth and chocolately and rich — it is divine. It tastes as if it is likely one of the most unhealthy, ridiculous desserts you could possibly eat in the best, most delicious way possible. It is so rich that I find it difficult to finish it in one, sometimes two sittings; every bite is flavorful and satisfying. If you are a chocolate lover, gluten-free or not, you need to try this cheesecake, it is possibly the most indulgent cake out there.
Well, my leftover cake is finished, and I’ve said what I had to say. What a lovely little dessert-time. Nothing like a little chocolate after a long day. Or in this case, a whole lot of chocolate… To those who cannot enjoy this treat, I am sorry. My next post will most certainly apply to you. Onto the muffins (for real this time)!