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The Cheesecake Lady

By Staff | Dec 31, 2010

Renae Grogain-Hulsebus said was 8 years old when she learned to bake cheesecakes from her great-grandmother. She's enjoyed baking them ever since.

By KRISS NELSON

Farm News staff writer

FORT DODGE – Her name is Renae Grogain-Hulsebus, but has been most recently referred to as the “Cheesecake Lady.”

Grogain-Hulsebus owns and operates her own business, “The Cheesecake Lady,” from her Webster County home, which she started up just a little over a year ago to help with extra expenses incurred over Christmas time.

“I started the business last year to help with Christmas and was only going to do it for the holiday, but I kept going and the business just took off,” said Grogain-Hulsebus.

A few favorites in the Renae Grogain-Hulsebus household: chocolate fluff cheesecake and a cheesecake bite.

Grogain-Hulsebus offers around 75 different flavors of cheesecake that can be either picked up at her home or she also offers delivery in Fort Dodge. Some of the most popular flavors she said have been caramel apple, caramel pecan, white chocolate raspberry and tin roof.

Currently, she offers only her cheesecakes, but as time would allow her she would like to add other categories of desserts soon such as cookies, bars, brownies, cakes, candy and pastries.

Grogain-Hulsebus’ love for baking cheesecakes started when she was a small child spending summers in South Dakota with her great grandmother.

“When I was 8 years old, she sat me down and pointed to her ring finger and said ‘the way to get a man wrapped around your finger is the perfect cheesecake,’ and I’ve been baking them ever since.”

When it comes to making that “perfect cheesecake,” Grogain-Hulsebus offered a few tips.

“I started the business last year to help with Christmas ... but I kept going and the business just took off.” —Renae Grogain-Hulsebus title

She said several things can cause cracking on the cheesecake with one of them being cooling the cheesecake too fast.

When Grogain-Hulsebus cools a cheesecake it is a several-hour process. After the cheesecake is done baking, she turns the oven off and opens the door and leaves the cheesecake in the oven for a few hours; then puts the cheesecake on the counter to cool for a few more hours; on to the fridge for a couple more hours before it goes into the freezer.

If your cheesecake does crack, Grogain-Hulsebus says not to worry, as some of the best parts of the cheesecake are the topping that will help hide that crack.

Many times a cheesecake will come out of the oven with brown spots. Grogain-Hulsebus said this is due to air bubbles in the batter and sometimes those air bubbles can also be a cause for cracking.

To avoid bubbles, after filling the pan, she advises filling the pan slowly and evenly then giving it a few good taps on the counter.

“Anybody can make a cheesecake, many just don’t have faith,” said Grogain-Hulsebus.

Grogain-Hulsebus’ children seem to be following in their mother’s footsteps as each of them has something they like about being in the kitchen.

Her so, Caleb gets creative when it comes to baking things such as brownies, while daughter Caron thinks she’s the cheesecake lady, too; daughter Caitlin likes to make candy and her other daughter Chrissa likes to help with the crust on the family’s cheesecakes.

It should be no surprise that Grogain-Hulsebus’ children enjoy baking as the four generations before them all enjoy baking as well.

Grogain-Hulsebus said it was her great grandmother that fed the employees or her cab company fresh baked goodies every single day.

Her grandmother made extra money by selling her baked goods to co-workers and her mother has been supplying small events with her cookies for as long as Grogain-Hulsebus can remember.

The Cheesecake Lady is open for orders to be picked up from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and delivery from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

All cheesecakes are made to order by calling (515) 576-0025 or by visiting www.fortdodgecheesecakelady.com.

Grogain-Hulsebus said she can usually have a cheesecake ready for you in a day if notified by noon.

The most commonly known cheesecake is the New York cheesecake. Grogain-Hulsebus passed along a few recipes for other types of cheesecakes.

French cheesecake

Crust

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, separated

1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl. Form a well in the center. Beat egg yolk slightly. Add egg yolk and butter to the well. Mix with dry ingredients thoroughly.

Shape the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Place crust into a 9-inch pan.

Covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Prick the crust several times with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Filling

1 pound cream cheese

1/2 pound soft double-creme French cheese

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 large eggs, separated

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Mix cream cheese and double-creme. Then add the sugar and cornstarch.

Stir in the egg yolks, sour cream and vanilla. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy, then gradually add the sugar and beat until they form stiff peaks.

Fold the whites into the cheese mixture.

Pour the mixture into a prepared crust and bake for 45 minutes, or until center is firm. Cool to room temperature and then chill.

German cheesecake

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Cut in the butter and mix well.

Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Place crust into a 9-inch pan. Covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Chill until ready to use.

3 cups cottage cheese

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Press the cottage cheese through a sieve. Combine the cornstarch and baking soda and set aside.

Combine cottage cheese with sugar, eggs, lemon rind and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add the dry mixture to the cheese and blend.

Stir in the sour cream and raisins. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared crust and bake for one hour. Allow cake to cool at room temperature, and then chill.

Italian cheesecake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon Amaretto Liqueur

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Mix the flour, sugar and grated lemon rind in a large mixing bowl.

Form a well in the center. Beat egg yolk slightly. Add egg yolk, butter and liqueur to the well. Mix with dry ingredients thoroughly.

Shape the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Place crust into a 9-inch pan. Covering the bottom and sides of the pan. Prick the curst several times with a fork. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

3 1/4 cups Ricotta cheese

4 large eggs

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup Amaretto Liqueur

3 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon orange rind, finely chopped

1 tablespoon lemon ride, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press the Ricotta cheese through a sieve. Mix together the drained cheese, eggs, sugar and cornstarch.

Stir in the liqueur, raisins and fruits. Pour the mixture into a prepared crust and bake for one hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool to room temperature, then chill.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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