This recipe is a favorite of mine, but I cannot take credit for it. I have been eating sopapilla cheesecake for many, many years (long before there were hundreds of posts about it, with even more Pinterest pins to follow) thanks to a dear family friend named Vance. Goodness. How do I sum up the amazing-ness that is Vance? Feels impossible. He’s just one of those people. If you’re lucky, you have a someone like this in your life.
Dad & Vance, May 2012
Many moons ago, Vance was married to my dad’s sister, but I think they got divorced before I was born, so while he might not have ever technically been my uncle, he has been an incredible role model and father figure throughout my life. Vance and my dad knew each other prior to him marrying my aunt, and formed a strong bond between themselves. It’s never broken over the years, and I think that is a tribute to the kind of person Vance is. When you meet someone like that, you want to keep them around forever. He’s been there for us through thick and thin, and when I think of Vance I only have good memories.
*When I was 16 years old, my dad took me to Paris. It was my first trip overseas that didn’t involve white sand and hair braiding, and I was beyond excited. As the plane lifted off, my dad handed me a card. It had my name written on the front. I was surprised – who was this from? I opened the envelope to find $200 and a note from Vance. Spending money for my first European adventure.
In his spare time, he is also a Captain. Not joking.
*Carthage, Texas, where I grew up, is what I have always referred to as a painfully small town. I exposed myself to different cultures and experiences as much as I could, but some things were still very limited. One of these things (that I would surely learn to love over the next few years) was good Italian food. There was no such thing in deep East Texas. One weekend, Vance said he was going to take me out, but that it was a surprise. We ended up in Shreveport, Louisiana (for all intensive purposes the closest big city) in a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant that was run out of a remodeled home. I had no idea what to order off the menu, so Vance did the honors. He ordered me an entree of chicken stuffed with cheese, herbs and butter. I’ll never forget it.
*Speaking of chicken, the first time I ever held a live one was because of Vance. Each summer, he used to host a Chicken Roping at his house out in the boondocks. What is a Chicken Roping, you ask? Well, it’s essentially a cookout, with large amounts of food, music and people. Also, beer. Chickens are put in a circular pen and then once you are good and sauced you climb in the pen and do your best to rope one. My memories of these events are kinda fuzzy – but I think we were awarded prizes at the end. I have a t-shirt somewhere. But, this was Vance’s brainchild and the sort of thing that only happens in East Texas.
Vance cooking in his loft, which he remodeled himself.
There are more memories, but these are the ones that stick out. Along with being a Chicken Roping master and general sweetheart, Vance is also an incredible cook. His specialties are homemade margaritas, guacamole and, you guessed it, sopapilla cheesecake. Without further adieu, here is the recipe straight from the horses mouth.
Vance’s Sopapilla Cheesecake
Crescent rolls (2 containers)
Cream cheese (1 package)
“Mix sugar and cinnamon, as strong as you like. Whip the cream cheese and add enough vanilla until you feel guilty. Mix in most of the sugar/cinnamon mix . Put half the crescent rolls on a cookie sheet. That would be 4 triangles and take note of the lines. Spread the good stuff on top and then place the other half of the crescent rolls to cover and line the top triangles with the ones on bottom. Bake as directed on the roll package. Use the rest of the sugar mix on top while it’s hot, may even bake the sugar on. Play with it , I never do it the same twice. Love ya.”
I followed Vance’s directions to wing it, and the only thing I added was a couple tablespoons of melted butter over the top before baking. It was delicious.
You should make this immediately. Life is not worth living if you haven’t had sopapilla cheesecake. And if you have a Vance in your life, tell them how much they have meant to you over the years and also how much they mean to you now. It’s good to let people know just how big of an impact they’ve had on you.