Cheesecake flavor

last piece of amateur's cheesecake

last piece of amateur’s cheesecake

I baked my first cheesecake Christmas day. The recipe seemed easy enough, but I got distracted and missed the instruction not to over mix. My family was forgiving and loved it none-the-less. In fact, they said it tasted better than the usual dense cheesecakes. Long story short, I am an amateur when it comes to baking cheesecakes, but I have plenty of experience making cheesecake flavors.

Components of Cheesecake Flavor

Food companies that make yogurt, ice cream, white chocolate or baked goods often look for cheesecake flavors. In order to formulate a good cheesecake flavor, a blend of dairy butter acids is important.  Some recommendations:

  • Butyric acid (FEMA 2221)-a component of butter and cheese-smells like rotten milk
  • iso Valeric acid (FEMA 3102)-a component of cheese- smells like stinky feet
  • Caprylic acid (FEMA 2799)-a component of butter- smells waxy with baby vomit notes
  • Capric acid (FEMA 2559)-a component found in cheese- smells like waxy crayons

Use caution while handling these materials. If you don’t use gloves and a fume hood, you will risk alienating yourself from family and friends. At first friends and family will check their shoes to see if they “stepped on anything” and then you’ll feel obliged to admit that the bad aroma is coming from you. **Warning**A career as a flavor scientist can have a negative impact on your social life.

On a positive note, a flavor scientist must spend time tasting the food they are copying. In the case of cheesecake, bring it on. Cheesecake has buttery, creamy, cheese like taste with a light sweetness. The sweetness comes from added vanilla. A flavor scientist could add components such as heliotropin (FEMA 2991), vanillin (FEMA 3107), methyl acetophenone (FEMA 2677) and benzodihydropyrone (FEMA 2381) for the underlying sweet vanilla note in cheesecake. Of course, don’t forget the creamy lactones and butter esters that add body to the flavor. Sulfurol (FEMA 3204) can add a bit of a cooked/caramelized note and lemon oil with a hint of a cheese ketone delivers the “cheesecake” character impact.


Don’t worry if it takes 50-100 tries to get cheesecake flavor right. Persistence is a necessary trait for a flavor scientist. Therefore, I’m committed to making a good cheesecake in 2016. Any helpful hints will be much appreciated.  Happy New Year and much success for 2016!


  1. Condy Kan says:


    I really enjoy your website. It makes me wanting to be a food scientist now but I have limited resources to learn about food science. At my university doesn’t offer any courses that related to food science so I am majoring in Biochemistry so I have some background in science. I am considering to apply graduate schools to expand my knowledge in food science. However, I would love to have experiences before applying graduate schools. I am wondering where did you get experiences and what did make you wanting to be a flavor chemist.

    Thank you for your time!

  2. Please do you think addition of ethylmaltol or maltol would work here, to bring out that “freshly baked sugar cookies” note?

    • Susie Bautista says:

      Good idea to use a little maltol or ethyl maltol! I’d recommend to consider final application when adding sweet components. Greek yogurt may benefit from the extra sweetness, but white chocolate may not.

Food companies that make yogurt, ice cream, white chocolate or baked goods often look for cheesecake flavors. In order to formulate a good cheesecake flavor, a blend of butter acids is important.  
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