BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Brentwood mother is finding success with her sweet cheesecakes, thanks to a family recipe.
Niki Gilliam told News 2 she grew up baking with her mother.
“My mom, growing up as a child, she made cheesecakes for every holiday – Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. They just kind of had their own reputation, so wherever we were going, we had a cheesecake in tow,” Gilliam recalled.
Gilliam said she has since continued that tradition with her three children. Once requests for the cheesecakes started to grow, she decided to make them available to everyone. Gilliam said her cheesecakes aren’t your typical treats.
“It’s a little different than your typical cheesecake that you get out there,” she explained. “We have much more of a Philadelphia-style. It’s a lot lighter. I love when people come up to me and say that they don’t like cheesecake. It’s kind of a challenge to me. Most people like it a little bit better, it’s not heavy, not dense like your flour base New York-style and it definitely has a little bit of secret love in there.”
Gilliam said the name of her business, Momma Nik’s Cheesecakes, is a nod to her mother, also named Niki, and that her recipe is the foundation of her dream.
“My mom was found in Greece, so we have a long line of Niki’s,” she said. “We were always referred to as ‘Big Niki’ and ‘Little Niki’ and when I met my now-husband, he refused to call her big anything. Most women don’t like that in front of their name, so we dubbed her Momma Nik.”
Momma Nik’s offers certain flavors throughout the year, but also offers special seasonal options. Pumpkin is a Thanksgiving-favorite, while S’mores is a fall-favorite and Gingerbread is a Christmas-time favorite.
Momma Nik’s store offers nine or six-inch cakes, mini cheesecakes and cheesecake served in a Mason jar that complete with a wooden spoon.
Gilliam told News 2 she gets emotional when she talks about the one ingredient included in her cheesecakes that customers can’t buy at the store.
“They are 100 percent made with love and pride,” she said. “If you were baking in your home kitchen and your mom and grandma were there, it’s the same thing. You just don’t have to do it or worry about the clean-up.”
Gilliam added that she appreciates the love her community has shown her and her family. She said she hopes to eventually open stores in Nashville.
Momma Nik’s is located at 7024 Church Street East in Brentwood.