What makes it tropical, according to Hill, is a medley of ingredients, from the coconut and almond crust, to a lemon filling, and a topping of melted apricot preserves. Around the sides one finds toasted coconut, and finally the proverbial cherry on top is instead kiwi fruit, and pineapple.
“I actually took two cheesecakes to the contest,” Hill said. “One was the tropical, and the other was triple chocolate. The tropical was the first runner up, but what’s interesting was that after the judging, we had a social hour, and the chocolate was all gone, I had half the tropical left,” she mused fondly about the event. “I guess the judges liked the tropical more.”
Quizzed about the type of cheesecake, she scoffed at the notion that she would make an instant “ice-box” cake, with cream cheese. “I don’t do instant things. I just love baking cheesecakes, though.”
Though untrained professionally in culinary arts, Hill cites her experience as a mother as her formal training. At one point, she cooked for 8 children at home, describing the experience as “Thanksgiving Dinner every day.”
She began her cheesecake odyssey one Christmas when she came across a recipe in a magazine, and told her son they needed something fancy for the holiday. Upon completion, she found it was quite popular, and began to experiment to create her own combinations of flavors. “There are a zillion different kinds that can be made,” she said.
Hill said she had never cooked professionally or in a restaurant, but that some of her cheesecakes had been used as raffle prizes. One in particular had been used for the Johnson Controls Relay for Life team, and another was sold by Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.