What is it about cake? Cakes are baked. Frosted. Decorated with sprinkles. Things like fruit and ice cream go well with them.

Cakes can be an impressive dessert – on the menu at baby and wedding showers. Graduation and retirement parties.  

Birthday cakes when you’re growing up – those are the best. It’s when candles are placed on the cake, and someone has to find a lighter while everyone gathers around the dining room table.

When we’re a child, sitting still while listening to the “Happy Birthday” song is an easy thing to do. Seems there’s not any awkwardness. We hear our name right in the song. Then we’re given permission to blow air all over the cake. Everyone watches until there are no longer any flaming candles. Then the clapping and smiling happens.     

Like most families, my mother baked a birthday cake whenever someone was having a birthday. She probably used whatever cake mix was in her cupboard unless one of us had a favorite flavor. There was always a book of matches on a high shelf in her kitchen. She delegated the cake-cutting and ice cream-scooping to Grandpa Imm or one of the older children.

The person cutting the cake pays attention to who wants a piece with a lot of frosting. Or just a little.  Same thing with the scoop of ice cream – a big scoop or a small one?

You’d think the wedding day cakes would be the most memorable, but the informal survey I conducted tells me I’m wrong. The bride can usually recall the color of the flowers on the cake and who baked and decorated it but maybe not what kind of cake was served. Probably white and chocolate. The groom typically doesn’t remember much about the cake. The conversation makes them pull out pictures from their wedding day.  

A friend of mine, Marcia, is the mother of eight adult children who continues to prepare homemade meals on a daily basis. She’s one of those creative cooks who changes recipes quite a bit.

I was recently in Marcia’s home when her grandson was celebrating his seventh birthday. She had baked a Clementine cake. Raspberries were adorning it. Chocolate was piped upon it. You could look at the cake and know it was going to be good. I took a picture of it.

Clementine cake was new to me, so I asked her for the recipe. Marcia told me she had used parts of three different online recipes and tweaked them to her liking. She’s going to share the recipe after she has some time to recall it.   

Last summer I was searching for a simple cheesecake recipe. I planned to put fresh fruit on it. Marcia pulled out a few good cookbooks. The recipe that caught my eye included the word “crustless” right in its name. It looked like a winner to me, and it became a keeper recipe worth sharing.

Crustless Cheesecake Pie

Mix the following five ingredients and pour into a greased 9” pie pan.  Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Pinch salt

Mix the next four ingredients and pour over cooled pie:

1 cup sour cream

4 Tablespoons sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Pinch salt

Bake at 325 for 20 minutes – do not overbake!

When cool, top with fruit. Any combination of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries will work. I made a berry sauce to spread on the cake before placing the fruit on the cake.  But anything works – even canned pie filling.

Crustless Cheesecake Pie
My cousin Alan Kimpel has been known to bring a cheesecake or two to family gatherings.

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