By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
CLAYTON – There is a great deal of truth in Yhanne’s House of Cheesecakes’ slogan “A Taste of Love In Every Bite.”
To hear Yhanne and Tiffany Battle tell it, the popular South Jersey dessert designation was born out of love – as in Yhanne’s effort to impressive Tiffany with the perfect meal and cheesecake before he popped the question more than a decade ago.
There was one problem – a good problem: The cheesecake was so good Tiffany didn’t believe he made it. No, she really didn’t.
“He proposed to me with a cheesecake,” Tiffany Battle told Front Runner New Jersey. “It was a beautiful dinner and he presented this cheesecake to me. I didn’t believe that he made it, because it was so good. He had to take me into his kitchen, which was full of dishes, pots, pans, a mess, and he proved it to me that he made it himself.”
Fast forward some 13 years later, those cheesecakes with a taste of love are a hit in Gloucester County and around South Jersey. Now, the Battles are talking about ways to expand and grow with their success at 835 N. Delsea Drive in Clayton.
“I can definitely say we’re growing and I just see us continuing to grow and doing more wholesale, more fundraisers,” Yhanne Battle said. “I’m just looking into increasing our value in that way.”
Yhanne’s House of Cheesecakes has been around since 2009. Tiffany Battle said they opened two locations in 2011 — one inside the Berlin Farmer’s Market and other at 835 N. Delsea Dr. in Clayton. In January, they decided to close the Berlin location and focus on our primary location in Clayton.
While the House of Cheesecakes has a wide variety, customers have found a strong taste for Yhanne’s banana pudding cheesecake, shortcake cheesecake, sweet potato cheesecake and Snickers.
“Those are our top flavors,” Tiffany Battle said.
Natural Mad Cheesecake Making Skills
So how did Yhanne Battle come up with these mad cheesecake-making skills. He said the cheesecakes are all his own creations, through trial and error and blessed talent from God.
“It was trial and error,” Yhanne Battle said. “Prior to proposing to her, of course I went into the kitchen and I really wanted to do something very special because it was such a special occasion. And it was a lot of trial and error, just trying to create what I would consider to be the perfect blend of ingredients trying to get the right flavor, just trying to make things right.
The Battles met at Edgewood Regional High School, which is now Winslow Township High School, but didn’t date until years later. Yhanne Battle was working at Cooper Hospital a few years after high school as a patient transport driver when one day he walked into an empty room where doctors would talk with patient families to relax for just a moment.
It was there in a magazine he saw a recipe for a cheesecake and thought he would make it for his family.
“I tasted it and it was good,” Yhanne Battle said with a laugh. “So I actually began to sell cheesecake at Cooper Hospital. And of course I was just using regular residential equipment. I really don’t recall what happened but things were working out pretty good at Cooper and I stopped making cheesecake.”
Proposal Night Inspiration
It wasn’t until proposal night when the cheesecake bug struck again years later. That’s when he started to get creative.
“I began to dabble with that recipe, removing some ingredients I didn’t think were necessary, adding some ingredients that I thought that would enhance it. That’s where all the trial and error was taking place.”
Yhanne said when Tiffany told him his cheesecake was “good enough to sell,” a light bulb went off in his head.
“I always wanted to go into business,” he said. “My family business’s background was on the technical side. My family does HVAC and appliance repair. So when Tiffany spoke those words, as far as it’s good enough to sell, of course my mind went back as far as to Cooper Hospital and started preparing cheesecakes again. This time, it just took off.”
Yhanne Battle said he has no regrets more than a decade later, even with several challenges.
“What amazes me is there were times of discouragement and I’m talking early on,” Yhanne Battle said. “There were times when I was just tired. In those times, we would always get a phone call for someone ordering a cheesecake and it would propel me to get back into the kitchen and fill that order. It kept me moving forward.
Being a business owner can be stressful. When you are a couple working it together, it could add to the stress. The Battles said in those times, it’s been their faith that has gotten them through. Both are members of The Perfecting Church with Rev. Kevin Brown.
“We kept God in the core of our marriage and in the core of our business,” Tiffany Battle said. “It wasn’t easy, but we knew who to go back to when tension would arise. When we felt like trouble was coming, when we needed God, we leaned on God and that’s what kept us and is keeping us.”
Part of the Vision
Blended family three sons, Joshua Battle, 26 Tyron Boykin, 24, A.J. Boykin, 20, also get a chance to lend a hand.
“They were part of the vision in the beginning and we encourage them to find their way doing what they want to do, but they come back and help,” Tiffany Battle said. “Our middle son comes and helps us. And our youngest one helps on his days off. The oldest one helps as well.
The oldest just graduated from Rowan and he’s pursuing to be a teacher. The youngest is an HVAC tech. The middle is training to be a manager.”
Tiffany said the business received a nice bump this summer when they signed on to the popular Black Owned New Jersey Facebook page.
“I signed up and put our information in and on the first day, our door just kept opening,” Tiffany Battle said. “It was a revolving door all day. I was thinking, ‘What in the world is going on?’ We pretty much went viral.”
The Battles have proven love can go a long way, whether it’s winning the heart of someone special to starting a business you love – or both.
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