The Best Desserts At Cheesecake Factory That Aren't Cheesecake

Everyone knows what made The Cheesecake Factory famous. It's in the name, and it's not factories. It's the vast number of topping-laden cheesecakes that adorn its illustrated menu. The hugely popular cheesecakes are top of mind for many diners hitting up the national chain. So much so that The Cheesecake Factory sells more than 35 million slices per year.

What is ignored when flipping through the startling number of cheesecakes on offer is that they aren't the only desserts available. There aren't so many options that the chain should consider changing its name to The Dessert Factory, but there are certainly plenty of choices for cheesecake-averse diners. In fact, some of those items have been on the menu almost since the beginning. The carrot cake, for instance, hit the menu just six years after the first Cheesecake Factory opened in 1972.

Here's a look at all of the non-cheesecake desserts available at the famous establishment. 

Carrot cake

Although cheesecake is the name of the game here, other cakes are wholeheartedly welcomed, so it shouldn't be surprising to see carrot cake on the menu. This isn't some newfangled attempt to lure in folks with no love of cheesecake. As it turns out, carrot cake has been on the menu since 1978, although the recipe has been tweaked in the decades since its introduction.

The cake is richly textured, particularly in comparison to the smooth consistency of cheesecake. It's topped with the chain's cream cheese icing and has a bevy of crushed nuts as well. The dessert falls toward the lighter end of the carrot cake spectrum, where you might find a cake with more fall-inspired spices at one end and a fruitier batter at the other. The batter's ingredient list includes brown sugar, pineapple, coconut, and cinnamon in addition to the carrots. This gives it a nice balance of sweetness, fruitiness, and a little spice.

Apple crisp

You might expect to see apple crisp at a family gathering rather than at a restaurant. Yet, here it is. If you are not big on sticky overly sweet desserts, you'll be glad that the selection extends beyond these, and the apple crisp and carrot cake are just the tip of the iceberg.

This reasonably-sized dish comes in a fairly traditional form with baked apples, whipped cream, and a drizzle of caramel. It also features the chain's pecan crisp topping, which is made with brown sugar, butter, oats, flour, and a little cinnamon. And, of course, pecans.

In an accompanying bowl, diners get a scoop of the chain's vanilla ice cream, which offers a contrast to the warm apple crisp and is an easy favorite. It's the only warm dish on the dessert menu, aside from the fudge in the hot fudge sundae. Unlike the massive slices of cheesecake, the apple crisp isn't especially suited for to-go orders since it will cool down, and ice cream, as you may have heard, melts. 


The tiramisu cheesecake is a fan favorite at The Cheesecake Factory, but don't let it overshadow the fact that the chain offers the real deal on its menu. Tiramisu enthusiasts have lauded its generous portion size, which fits in line with servings of other desserts at the establishment.

Chris Radovan, executive pastry chef at The Cheesecake Factory, revealed that the restaurant chain makes the tiramisu with full-fat mascarpone, giving the dessert a smooth texture. The ladyfingers at the heart of the dish are soaked in an Italian coffee mixture, and the whole treat is topped with whipped cream. This is a great option if you're looking for a sweet finish to your meal that isn't drizzled in syrup and covered in chocolate. And of course, if you get so inspired that you want to taste all things tiramisu, the tiramisu cheesecake features the same coffee-soaked ladyfingers beneath a dense layer of cheesecake. 

Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake

Thankfully, the "truffle" in the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake does not refer to the pungent fungus that garners a mega price tag at luxury food markets. It is, of course, referring to a rich chocolatey ganache. 

This dessert gets right to the point, and the point here is all about chocolate. It stacks layers and layers of The Cheesecake Factory's fudge cake with thin layers of chocolate truffle cream and chocolate mousse, as well as big crunchy, chocolate chunks plastered along the edge of the cake. It also comes with a little whipped cream on the plate to cut the truckload of chocolate and cleanse your palate. 

The cake is served in large portions that might require a second mouth to finish the whole slice. It is well-suited for sharing, especially if you've filled up on entrees first. Surely though, you can find a way to handle it on your own.

Linda's fudge cake

Any diner who finds the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake a little too chocolatey and indulgent may want to steer clear of Linda's fudge cake. The term "fan favorite" gets thrown around a lot by marketing departments. However, if anything aside from the cheesecakes has earned that label at The Cheesecake Factory, it is Linda's fudge cake. 

A menu staple since 1978, it is the chain's most popular non-cheesecake dessert, as a representative tells Mashed. This sweet treat is pretty straightforward and consists of a whole lot of cake sandwiched between layers of fudgy frosting, enclosed by yet more frosting and chocolate chips. You'll also get a nice dollop of whipped cream on the plate for good measure. 

When a chocolate lover orders Linda's fudge cake, they better be ready for a tidal wave of chocolate. It might not hit the table quite as Instagram-ready as the Chocolate Tower, but you will be more than satisfied by the gigantic portion of cake and fudge frosting.

Bowl of strawberries

This fruit bowl is a straightforward and somewhat surprising inclusion on The Cheesecake Factory menu, but it is also an inspired addition. It could not be simpler, and it could not be a better antithesis to the intensely sweet parade of items on the menu. The bowl of strawberries does not require a whole lot of explanation. When it hits the table, you get a bowl of fruit with a side dish of whipped cream to add some decadence to the treat. 

On its face, it sounds like a perfect dessert if you're looking for something light and fresh. However, some reviews of this fruity option have expressed disappointment about out-of-season strawberries that did not meet the taste test. Strawberries are always delicious, but having fresh fruit that's bursting with flavor year-round is simply not a realistic expectation, even at a chain with the ordering power of The Cheesecake Factory.

Strawberry shortcake

The strawberry shortcake is just a step in the direction of more traditional desserts from the bowl of strawberries. It's also every bit as decadent as any of the cheesecakes on the menu. The shortcake is made with a biscuit base that is sliced in half before being filled with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. It is topped with large, crunchy bits of AA sugar, and then decorated with a crown of whipped cream, as a representative shared with Mashed. 

The only drawback may be that the strawberries could suffer from the same issues cited by customers who were disappointed by the bowl of fruit. Fresh strawberries, particularly when in season, make this a beautiful dish that offers something a little light and fruity without the sticky-sweet toppings of most cheesecakes. This is a simple dessert, but it is another menu option that offers a clear deviation from the majority of The Cheesecake Factory's namesake offerings.

Hot fudge sundae

You don't mess with success, and it's hard to argue with the ubiquitous success of the hot fudge sundae. It's an iconic ice cream treat that belongs next to cones on ice cream's Mount Rushmore. The Cheesecake Factory doesn't give it the over-the-top treatment you might expect. It doesn't become the hot fudge sundae iteration of a Chocolate Tuxedo Cream cheesecake or Reese's peanut butter chocolate cake cheesecake. (Although those would both be delicious.) 

The Cheesecake Factory's hot fudge sundae is, well, just a standard hot fudge sundae. The hot and cold dessert comes out of the kitchen with multiple scoops of ice cream and a generous coating of hot fudge in a tall goblet. In addition to the essentials, The Cheesecake Factory's hot fudge sundae features whipped cream, slivered almonds, and a cherry on top to make sure it's photogenic when you snap a pic for Instagram. 

Bowl of vanilla ice cream

Are you sensing a trend here? Many of the non-cheesecake options at the dessert-first chain are quite simple. If having six different treats combined into a single dish isn't your thing, you can go with something so straightforward that it almost seems luxurious: a bowl of vanilla ice cream. 

Of course, you're not getting fresh ice cream hand-churned in the back. This is The Cheesecake Factory after all, not The Ice Cream Factory. Half of the U.S. locations serve Edy's ice cream, while the other half serve Dreyer's, according to a company representative. This is just a bowl of ice cream with a little whipped cream on top. It's not going to blow you away, and you are not getting something that you can't find at the grocery store. Still, vanilla ice cream at the end of a meal has its appeal. It's just not what most people are coming to The Cheesecake Factory to order. 

Godiva chocolate brownie sundae

Okay. Not every dessert mentioned here can be described as simple or straightforward. The Godiva chocolate brownie sundae is one such item that is more in line with what you expect when you get dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. (Which is to say, something extravagantly sugary and loaded with toppings.) The brownie sundae is a combination of a whole lot of desserts that come together in a single luscious dish.

The loaded sundae comes with wedges of the restaurant's delicious Godiva chocolate brownie stacked on their sides. Two scoops of ice cream are piled between those dense brownie wedges. On top, you get a generous pour of hot fudge, dollops of whipped cream, and toasted almonds for added texture. It's decadent, but do not let the laundry list of add-ons confuse you into thinking this is a cake dish. This is essentially a hot fudge sundae with a whole lot of brownies. 


This particular item in our tour of non-cheesecakes actually consists of four different flavored treats. The quartet of milkshakes is part of the world of desserts, but you would be forgiven if you refused to label it as such, choosing instead to order a creamy drink with your meal before placing an order for a slice of cheesecake to top off the experience. 

The Cheesecake Factory's milkshakes are available in four flavors, all made with the same Edy's or Dreyer's ice cream found accenting many of the desserts. A trio of familiar flavors — chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry — are the usual go-to picks, but one variation is a little more decadent. The Oreo milkshake is made by blending Oreos into vanilla ice cream and topping it off with crumbled Oreo cookies. All four of the milkshakes come with whipped cream as an essential decoration for these frosty treats.