The Real Reason They Ate So Much Cheesecake On The Golden Girls

Few shows boast a theme song that so aptly defines it as "The Golden Girls." After all, this lovable foursome did more than provide viewers with half an hour of laughs each week. They welcomed fans into their home, shared their deepest thoughts and secrets, and made everyone feel like they, too, could grab a rattan chair and join in the conversation. Yes, when the first notes of "Thank You For Being A Friend" echoed through living rooms across the nation, the audience truly felt that they were among friends named Blanche, Sophia, Dorothy, and Rose. And, everyone secretly wanted to join the "girls" for a late-night chat over their go-to snack – cheesecake

Their freezer seemed to contain an endless supply of this decadent dessert as there was always one on hand. And nothing solved a problem like a midnight helping of cake. Whether someone was battling a bout of sleeplessness, missing a lost love, fretting over work, or had just found a dead body in their bed, it seems the cheesecake provided both solace and a moment of clarity. But mostly, it gave these friends a chance to bond with one another — and viewers, too. Yet, through the many episodes, you may have wondered on occasion, why only cheesecake?

Is there anything more comforting than cheesecake?

Why did the show's creators decide to ply their actors with just cheesecake? Why not ice cream? Or cookies? Mort Nathan, a producer and screenwriter of "The Golden Girls," claims "Eating cheesecake at one in the morning is stranger, more decadent...and a little funnier" (per Outsider). And the fact that the first introduction to the cheesecake habit involved a chocolate version made it all the more outrageous. Screenwriter and producer Barry Fanaro says they were looking for comfort food, and asks "...can you think of something more comforting?"(per CheatSheet). 

As much cheesecake as these gals ate, you might be surprised to learn that one of the actresses actually loathed the dessert. Despite Dorothy Sbornak's unabashed appreciation for a generous slab of cheesecake, IMDb states that Bea Arthur actually hated it. She hid it well. Most fans failed to notice that during the consumption of over 100 of these rich desserts, she is rarely seen taking a bite (via YouTube). Now those are some supreme acting skills. 

So where did all these lavish cakes come from? Chef George Geary managed the baking department at a grocery store near Paramount studios and made seven cheesecakes for each Friday night taping (per Oak Park). He made every single cheesecake featured on the show and they sure did look delicious — so delicious that you probably crave a piece right now. Go ahead. It is, after all, the perfect tribute to these four fabulous friends.  

What flavors of cheesecake did the "Girls" enjoy best?

So what flavor of cheesecake did the four bosom buddies prefer? While they never confessed to favoring a specific type, they did make mention of three varieties. And, of course, they all sound decadently delicious. The very first time the quartet engaged in their cheesecake ritual, Rose presented a chocolate cheesecake (per YouTube). In a later episode, she shared that she had a double fudge chocolate one in her possession (Tori Avey). Finally, when Sophia became obsessed with her need to regain a lost pound, she whipped up a Petrillo family recipe, double fudge amaretto ricotta cheesecake. Clearly, they possessed a penchant for the cocoa bean.

But you may have noticed that the cheesecake typically perched upon their table didn't contain a single drop of chocolate. A recipe for the "Golden Girls Cheesecake" created by George Geary himself describes that a more plain version with a sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla extract topping was their go-to variety. Now you can make your own copycat cheesecake a la Golden Girls and re-enact your favorite scene with some friends. Yay!

The "Girls" shared a cheesecake scene with The Queen

It seems that everyone loved the girls' late-night cheesecake conflabs– even the Queen. According to IMDb, one of these huddled-around-a-dairy-based-dessert scenes became part of the show's skit for Her Majesty at the 1988 Royal Variety Performance. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth II is a huge fan of "The Golden Girls" and asked them to perform, although they did dial back some of the more racy jokes for their seven-minute presentation (per Ocala Star-Banner). After all, they didn't want to offend Her Royal Highness at her own annual charity fundraising event. The performance went off smashingly with even the then-88-year-old "Queen Mum chuckling heartily" (per Mental Floss). 

Clearly, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia have some fans in high places. But no matter where their devotees come from – Buckingham Palace or a bungalow in Anytown, USA — they will forever associate the cheesecake with the "The Golden Girls."