Ari’s Pick: Pumpkin Cheesecake Takes the Cake

An amazing autumn release

In the hubbub of the news, you might have missed that October 21st was National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! If you did miss it like I did, don’t worry, there’s still time to celebrate. The Bakehouse will be making the super-tasty Pumpkin Cheesecake every day through November. There’s still time to enjoy it!

a pumpkin cheesecake on a black surface with one slice in front

The History of Cheesecake

The history of cheesecake in general seems, in rudimentary form, to date back to England in the 15th century. A closer-to-what-we’re-now-used-to form, is likely 18th century in its origins. Its American advancement happened in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. American cream cheese was invented in 1872 (three years after Gandhi and Emma Goldman were born) in the town of Chester, New York by one William Lawrence. One hundred and twenty years later, we started making similar, artisan cream cheese at the Creamery, which then, in turn, went on to become the base of the Bakehouse’s incredible cheesecake.

The creaminess of the cream cheese, the earthiness of the pumpkin, and the spicy zip of the ginger cookies in the crust make for some marvelous eating! The pumpkin cheesecake is a study in contrasts: sweet and slightly savory from the cheese, light and substantial at the same time, creamy filling set against the crumbly cookie crust. Once you taste it, it’s hard to stop eating it.

What Makes Our Pumpkin Cheesecake Special

While it often goes unnoticed, I’ve come to believe over the last few years the Pumpkin Cheesecake just might be one of the best baked goods we make! What makes it so good? Each ingredient! The “custard” is made from the Creamery’s handmade, artisan cream cheese and pumpkin purée. It’s baked onto a crust that’s made out of one of my favorite Bakehouse cookies—ground up bits of the amazing Ginger Jump-Ups. If you want to embellish the “natural” excellence of the Pumpkin Cheesecake, you can do something of a deconstructed pumpkin latte, by sprinkling some finely ground espresso over top. (It’s truly tasty!) Similarly, dark chocolate shavings are a super addition. And in the spirit of the medieval affection for spices, I think it’s also terrific with a little freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper sprinkled on top.

Over the years, the pumpkin cheesecake has quietly and rightfully won an ever-larger legion of loyal fans. It is terrific! As Brad Hedeman, long-time marketer at Mail Order, writes, “The result is redolent with the rich spices of fall, yet light and fluffy like the classic cheesecakes we love. It’s so good, once you taste it you may not even want a pie on your Thanksgiving table.”


  • Sign up for Ari’s Top 5 enewsletter to hear more from Ari every week!
  • You can order the Pumpkin Cheesecake by the slice today to eat after dinner tomorrow. Or, buy a whole cake (or three) to serve at the holidays! Give us a call to reserve yours: 734-761-2095
  • Not in town? Our partner business, Zingerman’s Mail Order, would be happy to ship you a Pumpkin Cheesecake.
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Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's | + posts

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

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