You don't have to be a “Golden Girl” to appreciate a good cheesecake, especially the ones that show up right at your door with a few clicks of the mouse. Jack Bishop of Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen shares their recommendations for the best mail-order cheesecakes.
Harry & David
Harry's Original Cheesecake (New York-style)Type of crust: ShortbreadThe highest marks went to Harry & David's Original New York-Style Cheesecake. Tasters praised its rich depth, nice tang and creamy consistency, and liked the cake's “clean cheese flavor.” Some tasters liked its doughy crust, with its “right level of moisture,” while others found the crust dry and “un-cheesecake-like.” $22.95 ($3.55 per serving); harryanddavid.com
Plain Cheesecake (8-inch)Type of crust: Sponge cakeTasters thought this Brooklyn bakery's cheesecake had a nice, tangy flavor and a pleasing, rich texture. Some tasted hints of vanilla flavor, and one picked up a “lemony tang.” A few tasters were put off by the cake's sponge cake crust — some thought it was too wet, others thought it tasted stale, and one thought “it didn't go well” with the rest of the cake. $29.95 ($3.10 per serving); juniorscheesecake.com
Original Plain CheesecakeType of crust: Shortbread cookieThe cheesecake from this Chicago bakery impressed tasters with its well-balanced flavors, receiving decent marks for density and tang. Some tasters, however, were disappointed by the cheesecake's shortbread cookie crust, which they described as “sticky” and “weird.” Tasters described the cake as both “well-rounded” and “middle of the road.” $28.00 ($2.50 per serving);
10-inch Original (Plain) CheesecakeType of crust: Graham crackerMost tasters thought this cheesecake's texture was too airy and light, and several thought the filling tasted whipped and “mousse-like.” As for tang, comments ranged from “fairly tangy” to the “best tang.” The graham cracker crust put off several tasters, who found it soggy and not very flavorful. The cake's precut slices made for easy serving of this large (5-pound) cake. $42.95 ($2.65 per serving); cheesecakefactory.com