SJU Dessert Fan Earns Unofficial On-Campus Title: Cheesecake Lady Ambassador

Venessa Jackson who is the Cheesecake Lady
Image via ABC Localish at YouTube.
Vanessa Jackson, whose SJU fan may easily be called the Cheesecake Lady Ambassador for her enthusiasm about Jackson's baking skills.

Saint Joseph’s University senior Asia Whittenberger is such a fan of the Cheesecake Lady’s Elkins Park bakery that she’s not above shanghaiing novices to go to the shop for an inaugural taste. Based on that endorsement, Gabby Smalls — reporter for the campus newspaper The Hawk — agreed to join a Whittenberger excursion.

“Going to The Cheesecake Lady is good quality time with my friends,” Whittenberger said of her chauffeured trip with Smalls. “I know that this is going to be the best cheesecake they’ve ever had.”

Before setting out, Smalls needed some convincing. She admitted to not really being a fan, especially of the cheesecakes mass-produced by chain restaurants.

But after a bite or two of the Elkins Park variety, she was hooked.

“I don’t know what they do to it,” she assessed. “But it’s very light and fluffy. And it’s not too overwhelming. When you take one bite, you want to keep eating more of it.”

Vanessa Jackson, the namesake Cheesecake Lady, fell in love with the dessert in the late 1990s. She experimented with recipes until she devised one she knew would succeed.

“I pretty much dream cheesecake, believe it or not,” Jackson said. “Somebody might mention a flavor to me, [and] I try to figure out how [to] come up with a creative way to draw on our interpretation of it.”

More on the SJU Cheesecake Lady Ambassador and the baker that inspired the label is at The Hawk.


This video from ABC Localish profiles owner-operator Vanessa Jackson, known by her shop name and reputation as Elkins Park’s The Cheesecake Lady.

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