ashland.news
July 13, 2024

Indulge your taste buds: Cheesecake bakery opens in downtown Ashland

Nine flavors of cheesecake are available for purchase by the slice or as 6- or 9-inch cakes. Rick Charles, who has always liked to bake, says he has perfected his recipes and uses as many local ingredients as possible. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
July 8, 2024

Building community, one slice at a time downstairs on Third Street

By Emma Coke, Ashland.news

Indulge Artisan Cheesecake, a small wood-paneled, farm-themed bakery dedicated to all things cheesecake, recently opened in the Underground Marketplace on Third Street.

Owned by the husband and wife team of Rick and Kora Charles, Indulge Artisan Cheesecake sells their in-house-baked cheesecakes either by the slice for in 6- or 9-inch cakes. They currently offer nine flavors, ranging from New York cheesecake to salted caramel macchiato. All are gluten free.

Rick is in charge of the baking and recipe developing, while Kora is in charge of greeting customers and decorating the bakery, which she’s transformed into what she calls a “farmhouse feel.”

“We make a good pair,” Kora said. “I do everything he doesn’t like and he does everything I don’t like.”

The duo run their bakery on an ingredient-forward philosophy, using ingredients such as real butter, cage-free eggs and real vanilla. 

Sample slices of cheesecake, including lemon curd, are shown in the display case at Indulge Artisan Cheesecake. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

“It’s made from top to bottom, it’s handcrafted,” Kora said. “Which is rare and hard to find these days.”

That focus on making everything from scratch is what Rick said sets their bakery apart. 

“And just the fact that, I mean, I don’t want to send anything out that’s subpar,” Rick said. “I want everything to be perfect and so that desire makes them good.”

The base recipe for their cheesecakes was developed using a recipe Rick found online for a New York cheesecake. Rick said he’s tweaked the recipe to create the other flavors, such as their lemon curd cheesecake.

Interviewed less than a week opened, Rick said the bakery has seen slow but steady traffic. 

“The word is definitely getting out,” Rick said. “Facebook blew up like crazy for us. I couldn’t believe it.”

They’re already receiving positive feedback from their patrons.

“It’s fantastic, and I’ve eaten cheesecake all over the world,” said Miriam Curran. A friend of hers  who had tried six of their flavors recommended she try Indulge Artisan Cheesecake. 

Rick Charles works on making Peanut Butter Fudge cheesecake at the brand new Indulge Artisan Cheesecake. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

The deets
Indulge Artisan Cheesecake
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
In space No. 4 in the Underground Marketplace at 33 Third St., Ashland, between Main Street and Lithia Way
Slices are $10; 6-inch cakes are $47.25; 9-inch cakes are $69
541-363-6862, ricksriver@gmail.com

Opening a food establishment is not new to Rick and Kora. The two have a long history in the restaurant industry, but this is the first dessert-focused place they’ve worked at or operated. For 30 years, Rick cooked in restaurants, but he never truly loved it.

“I was always on the line cooking breakfast and I started baking desserts because I wanted to get off the line” Rick said. “So I told my boss ‘Hey, I’ll make some Danishes today, or, you know, cinnamon rolls and pastries and stuff like that.’”

Despite that newfound love of baking, Rick and Kora then opened a food truck called The Hangry Habanero, which served everything from tacos to hot dogs, and decidedly lacked baked goods.

“I felt like I was back on the line again and I started getting tired after a couple years,” Rick said. “And I just wanted to get back to baking.”

Despite their experience in the food industry, opening a bakery was only something the couple dreamed about. But when they moved to Ashland to be closer to family, the idea of opening one soon became something they started talking about seriously.

“I just really liked to bake,” Rick said. “Nobody around here is really doing it.”

Rick and Kora Charles came back to the Rogue Valley after operating a food truck in Florence, Oregon, for 10 years to open Indulge Artisan Cheesecake at 33 3rd Street in Ashland. They spent two months working on the space before opening. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

After two months of fixing up their space, which Rick said was tedious, Indulge Artisan Cheesecake opened late in June. 

“The best part of it has been putting all of our love and energy into something,” Kora said. “The scariest has also been putting your all into something and hoping it goes well.”

Despite only being open a short time, Kora has already set up a partnership between Indulge Artisan Cheesecake and Bridging Communities, a Medford-based initiative offering support for families with children experiencing disabilities. 

Kora and Rick’s youngest son has Down syndrome, which sparked the idea of the partnership.

With Bridging Communities, they will host events once or twice a month at their bakery, with the first event possibly being held in late July and having a dance party theme, according to Kora. Each one will have a different theme.

“We’ll have cheesecake and drinks and just be able to come together and have fun and support one another,” Kora said.

Through Bridging Communities’ platform, they will be able to reach families around the community and put on events that are relevant to their needs. 

Kora hopes will becomes a staple of the Ashland community, one slice of cheesecake at a time. 

“I feel confident, and you know, when people come in and tell you you created something and they say how great it is, it feels great,” Rick said. “There’s nothing better in the world. It’s really what it’s about for me.”

Email Ashland.news reporter intern Emma Coke at emmasuecoke@gmail.com.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

Related Posts...

‘Telling the American narrative’: SOU to conduct archaeological investigations of historic eastern Oregon logging town this fall

With a newly funded $20,000 grant from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, some Southern Oregon University’s Sociology and Anthropology Program students and staff will travel to eastern Oregon this fall to perform archaeological excavations for a logging ghost town that once was home to a diverse community in the early 20th century, including African-American and white loggers.

Read More »

Latest posts

‘Telling the American narrative’: SOU to conduct archaeological investigations of historic eastern Oregon logging town this fall

With a newly funded $20,000 grant from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, some Southern Oregon University’s Sociology and Anthropology Program students and staff will travel to eastern Oregon this fall to perform archaeological excavations for a logging ghost town that once was home to a diverse community in the early 20th century, including African-American and white loggers.

Read More >

Explore More...

As fall approaches, the Ashland Independent Film Festival volunteers and coordinators prepare for the festival's triumphant return to the Rogue Valley. With a new executive director, the festival is set to involve plenty of new ideas, events and programs while maintaining the classic film festival experience.
With a newly funded $20,000 grant from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, some Southern Oregon University’s Sociology and Anthropology Program students and staff will travel to eastern Oregon this fall to perform archaeological excavations for a logging ghost town that once was home to a diverse community in the early 20th century, including African-American and white loggers.
“Don’t let your inability to do everything stop you from doing one thing. And reckoning with racial injustice in the United States is a big task.” That was what Taylor Stewart, Oregon Remembrance Project founder, said in the Ashland Sunrise Project’s latest talk, “Uncovering Difficult Truths.”
A crossword about local news sources. Solve it directly in the article or download a PDF to print. More crosswords under the Culture menu.
The Siskiyou Crest Coalition is hosting a fundraiser Saturday afternoon, July 13, at a private conserved property on the slopes of Mount Ashland owned by Mark Newberger. A butterfly species list is being compiled for the property, which will be the subject of an upcoming article in the North American Butterfly Association magazine and will be a nominee for NABA butterfly garden of the year. 
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)

Don't Miss Our Top Stories

Get our newsletter delivered to your inbox three times a week.
It’s FREE and you can cancel anytime.