Chocolate a favorite at Irish-themed cheesecake contest

SHARE Chocolate a favorite at Irish-themed cheesecake contest

Chocolate drizzled. Scone crusted. Jameson soaked.

A mere sampling of the culinary creativity that went into second “Cheese Cake with an Irish Twist Contest” held Sunday at O’Briens Restaurant in Old Town.

The winner: an Irish Coffee inspired, oatmeal encrusted, chocolate and caramel drizzled labor of love presented by Rebekah Baer.

Baer, 24, a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago who works as a fitness instructor and bartender, won the contest by a single point awarded to her by a panel of five judges.

Baer is of Irish, Swedish and German descent.

Second place went to Carole Brown, who encrusted her cheesecake with homemade scones and baked whiskey-soaked (Jameson) raisins inside it. And she put candied bacon on top of it!

“I love to bake for friends and family, and my baking is really just an extension of myself,” said Brown, 35, an ensemble member of a local theater company. Her heritage is Irish and Scottish.

Members of the judging panel included Lauren Corry, queen of the this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade; Laurel Boger, executive pastry chef for Eli’s Cheesecake, which sponsored the event; and the Rev. Scott Donahue, president and CEO of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.

The winning cheesecake will be sold at O’Briens during the month of March and proceeds will benefit Mercy Home, a Near West Side home for children who’ve been abused, abandoned and neglected.

“These two contestants really nailed it, but chocolate has a tendency to win,” Boger said with a laugh.

There were six contestants total this year, up from 3 in the inaugural event last year.

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