Bear Claw Cheesecake Co. hits the sweet spot in Huntington Twp.
Mikaela Bush Ziegler seems to have mastered juggling her many interests. A teacher at Madison Local Schools in Mansfield, she enjoys renovating the Huntington Township farmhouse she and her husband recently moved into. As if that wasn’t enough to fill her spare time, she’s also a successful small business owner, operating Bear Claw Cheesecake Co. from her home.
Ziegler began Bear Claw Cheesecake, a USDA-certified home bakery, two and a half years ago on her 22nd birthday, combining her love of baking with the entrepreneurial spirit she’s had since she was a child.
As a student at Ashland University, Ziegler would sell cookies and peanut butter pies out of her dorm room, joking that it must have been the home economics major. She chose cheesecakes as the base of her business specifically because they provide more of a challenge for her and a unique offering for customers. Plus, it’s harder to sneak a taste of cheesecake.
“I like cookies too much and would sample every batch,” Ziegler says. “You can tell when a slice of cheesecake is missing.”
She currently offers 22 flavors that customers can order — everything from s’mores to peanut butter dark chocolate and caramel apple. Ziegler, a self-proclaimed chocolate enthusiast, prefers the chocolate cheesecakes. The caramel apple is also a top seller.
Operating Bear Claw has been a learning process for Ziegler. Over the years, she’s become more efficient in both her shopping and her production times.
“When I first started, I had it in my head that mixing the cheesecakes by hand would make them taste better,” Ziegler says. “So I would refuse to use my mixer. If you didn’t realize, stirring cream cheese is really hard.”
She’s also learned to juggle turnaround time on her cheesecakes, noting that it’s a little alarming when customers order a cheesecake the day before it’s needed. A three-day notice is usually a good ordering window, outside of Thanksgiving and Christmas, when Ziegler places a 10-day deadline on all orders for the holidays. Last year, she sold 40 cheesecakes for Thanksgiving alone.
Ziegler is also available to cater events and is breaking into the wedding business. She owns cheesecake stands and signage and can be hired to set up and man dessert tables. One of her favorite parts of catering the events is watching people enjoy her creations.
“It’s slightly unexpected when there’s not a traditional wedding cake,” she says. “It’s always fun to see the people’s faces when they see cheesecake instead.”
To contact Ziegler about ordering a cheesecake or having her cater an event, visit her at www.bearclawcheesecake.com or find her on Facebook at Bear Claw Cheesecake Co.