Taste of Chicago and Eli’s Cheesecake have united for the perfect summertime fun recipe.
They have done so for 38 years.
In celebration of both the Taste and Eli’s Cheesecake’s 38th birthdays, the Northwest Side purveyor of all things cheesecake (and cakes, pies and more) will once again present its annual “big cake” at the lakefront food extravaganza this weekend.
The official presentation takes place 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Buckingham Fountain. The 1,000 pound cheesecake — made from 450 pounds of cream cheese, 65 pounds of eggs, 2 pounds of vanilla, 70 pounds of sugar, 50 pounds of sour cream, 100 pounds of Eli’s special shortbread cookie crust, 25 pounds of bittersweet chocolate chips, 100 pounds of cookie dough, 100 pounds of buttercream icing and 25 pounds of cherry glaze — will be sliced and served up (while supplies last) for free to anyone who stops by the special tent at the fountain.
This year’s version of the “big cake” will be a tiered affair — each tier made up of 10 layers of cheesecake and topped by a massive cherry pie. The pie, made from Michigan cherries, is an homage to the stage musical “Waitress,” now playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.
The pie’s fruit filling is the result of the processing of the cherries, which creates “a delicious cherry slurry, which is then combined with sugar and starch to create the filling,” said executive pastry chef Laurel Boger.
“Waitress” cast members will be on hand at Saturday’s event to sing “Happy Birthday” and cut the first slice.
“It generally takes about an hour to serve up the entire big cake,” said Maureen Schulman, director of public relations for Eli’s Cheesecake. “People love having a piece of the big cake. It’s really a special day for us and for everyone who stops by.”