In these halcyon days of chichi food-speak — "artisan" this and
"organic" that — Victor Harris offers a refreshingly
unpretentious dessert: the homemade cheesecake. The origins of his
baking ambitions are likewise simple. Looking for something to do one
night, the Oakland resident found a recipe online, ran out to buy cream
cheese, and soon pulled his first cake out of the oven. That was in
2003. What began as boredom-induced pastry-making has since grown into
a part-time business, Reuschelle's Cheesecakes. The menu is as eclectic
as the autodidact baker, who is also a DJ and car enthusiast. Customers
can now choose from nearly fifty varieties of cakes, from the
mainstream (strawberry) to the delightfully unexpected (peach amaretto)
and the WTF (chocolate cayenne). The most popular cheesecake, the
mousse-style caramel apple, has fresh fruit in every bite, a natural
balance to the sweet caramel topping. Marketing is purely grassroots.
Harris will arrive at parties and events with a cake in hand, ready to
win over new fans (214 Facebook friends and counting). Also,
Reuschelle's Cheesecakes may soon be appearing at a local farmers'
market. And for orders within a forty-mile radius of San Francisco, the
baker will deliver the cheesecake himself.