When Edith Synco eased her first cheesecake out of the oven and brought the perfectly set, delightfully creamy dessert to work at Alfa Insurance 10 years ago, becoming a cheesecake-making authority wasn’t exactly on her mind.
These days, the 61-year-old Troy resident and retiree whips up and sells luxurious Elicious Cheesecakes for weddings, holiday parties, baby showers and folks just wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth.
“My secret is to use the freshest, best ingredients possible,” said Synco, who worked at Alfa for 34 years, first as a customer service representative and then for auto underwriting. “If you’re going to eat something as elegant as cheesecake, you want it fresh and good.”
And these cheesecakes aren’t just good. They’re (d)Elicious.
Synco bakes cheesecakes to customers’ tiniest specifications, from no-crust to gluten-free to her favorite order — an orange, lemon and lime double-crust cheesecake with mojito icing. That special treatment and attention to detail keeps customers coming back.
“You can’t do that at a big-box store,” said Synco, who began baking for the public in April 2013.
Before her spur-of-the-moment foray into cheesecake baking, Synco had never made one of the cream cheese indulgences.
“First, I decided I wanted to bake a plain cheesecake, and then I made one with a little extra something in it,” said Synco, who fine-tuned her recipe until it was just right.
She never ran out of willing taste-testers, either, between Alfa home office employees in Montgomery and friends and family in Pike County.
She also doesn’t scrimp on ingredients, with real butter, vanilla and cream cheese and local Whaley Pecan Co. nuts combining to make the freshest cheesecakes possible.
Synco allows her ingredients to reach room temperature before mixing the filling. She then pats the crushed-cookie crust into an aluminum-lined springform pan, pours in the filling and bakes the cheesecakes according to her secret recipe.
Once the cakes come out of the oven, she pops them in the freezer to set.
The next day, she gently lifts the cheesecake from the pan and, if the recipe calls for it, drizzles icing to complete the decadent delight — almost 24 hours from the start.
“Cheesecake is a slow and easy process,” Synco said.
She bakes tea cakes and cheese bites, which are quarter-sized, cheese straw-like goodies she sells at Family Ties Boutique in Troy.
Lauren Prawius co-owns Family Ties with her mother, Debbie Darby, a lifelong friend of Synco.
“Her varieties are endless,” Prawius said. “She’s so quick to turn an order around.”
Synco also keeps Family Ties well stocked with cheesecakes, including turtle to peanut butter-chocolate to red velvet to maple-bacon.
“I’m never surprised what Mrs. Edith comes up with,” Prawius said. “She’s creative and is definitely a one-of-a-kind, special lady.”
Synco’s recipe for red pepper-spiced cheese bites came from a neighbor, and her tea cakes are tweaked from a Synco family recipe. The tea cakes get the stamp of approval from all ages, including Synco’s 3-year-old grandson Jack.
While Synco has a menu customers choose from, she said she’s always willing to think outside the box.
When she does bake a new flavor, Thomas, her husband of 40 years, is ready with fork in hand to dig in.
Although most Elicious Cheesecakes come out perfectly on the first try, Synco did have one so-called “disaster.”
Two Thanksgivings ago, the Syncos headed to the beach. Despite being away from home for the holiday, she had all ingredients on hand for the family’s favorite caramel-apple cheesecake, but the dessert never set in the unfamiliar oven.
“I was about to throw it away when my family came in and ate the cheesecake right out of the pan,” she remembered. “While it looked horrible, it was a hit taste-wise.”
She still makes caramel-apple cheesecake every Thanksgiving.
Joyce Dix, who owns the bakery Synco operates out of, first tasted Synco’s cheesecakes at a supper club and said Elicious Cheesecakes are popular for a reason — their taste.
“You want to taste that delicious cream cheese flavor mingled with complimentary flavors,” said Dix, whose favorite cheesecake is banana nut. “Edith has broadened her horizons with Elicious Cheesecakes and does very well with the gift the Lord has given her.”
While Synco said she enjoys retirement, she knows her various responsibilities with departments and personalities at Alfa prepared her to run Elicious Cheesecakes.
“I never thought I would do this when I retired,” she said. “But I’ll keep doing it until it’s not fun anymore.”
Want to serve a delicious Elicious cheesecake over the holidays? Contact Synco as soon as possible for priority booking. Cheesecake prices start at $32.
For more information or to place an order, message Elicious Cheesecakes on Facebook, or call (334) 268-1072.