I’ve always wondered if anyone has ever been brave enough to try sampling every flavor of The Cheesecake Factory’s namesake menu item. I assumed the restaurant chain would keep its cheesecake roster tight and well-curated, with perhaps a dozen flavors at any given time. But oh, no. I was wrong. Very wrong. Turns out there are over 30 flavors to choose from, a fact that makes sense when you consider the restaurant’s menu is thicker than the collected works of Shakespeare.
Writer Vince Mancini and his wife tackled this quest for UPROXX, and I would just like to say how proud I am of these two. Mancini’s wife is nine months pregnant, which presented its own set of challenges; nevertheless, she eventually made it through 19 varieties of cheesecake, while Mancini conquered 35.
Sampling entire menus is a slog. As a food writer I totally appreciate the opportunity to try new things frequently—it can be a downright luxury sometimes—but there’s a point at which you simply start to feel sick during a marathon tasting, especially if it centers on the same dish over and over again. And cheesecake? Are you kidding? Even one whole slice, depending on its size, can feel like a rock in your stomach.
These fearless UPROXX tasters hit up a location in Fresno, California, where the management hooked them up with a table large enough to accommodate every single slice of cheesecake at once. There’s a photo of the extra-long table full of dessert, and it’ll stop you in your tracks.
Mancini prefaces his rankings with a note that he’s not a huge chocolate person, which is why most chocolate slices ended up toward the bottom of the list. If you are, in fact, a chocolate fan, it’s likely that you’ll like them better than he did. This is why his very bottom pick, at number 36, was the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, but to be honest, that sounds a bit too rich in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of people ranked it low, even chocolate enthusiasts.
Surprisingly, a Cheesecake Factory classic, Caramel Pecan Turtle, ended up at 30, because (according to Mancini) the heavy fudge in the slice weighed down the whole thing with too much richness. Fair. The middle of the pack included fruity flavors like mango and pineapple upside-down cake.
What came out on top? The Dulce De Leche Caramel Cheesecake. Interesting pick. Mancini’s tasting notes say, “Nice texture, caramel-y. Yum. Candied almonds… A++.” But because he ate this one early on, it might be more favorably placed in the rankings simply because he wasn’t sick of seeing cheesecake yet.
Rankings are fun to read, aren’t they? It’s always entertaining to see if your opinions line up with the list. There’s bound to be arguments about which items are underrepresented or overvalued. But hey, someone else wrote the list—you didn’t. Cheesecake Factory fans (or cheesecake fans in general), do you agree with Mancini’s list? What would you argue is the best flavor of cheesecake?