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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Jade Lazarevic

Slab Cheesecakes receives its just desserts

Slab Cheesecakes has moved into a commercial space in Islington after starting life in a home kitchen. Picture by Max Mason-Hubers

WARREN Parnell chose cheesecake when he was tasked with making dessert for a family Christmas dinner two years ago.

Little did he know where that decision would lead him.

Fast forward to 2023 and Parnell is now running a thriving business, Slab Cheesecakes.

Together with business partner Darren Archer, Parnell has purchased two vans to service same-day delivery orders and recently moved into a commercial kitchen in Islington which will act as a pick-up location for online orders.

Eventually, Parnell and Archer hope Slab will evolve into a late-night dessert bar.

"It was not planned at all. Not in the slightest," Parnell tells Weekender.

"I was just making dessert for Christmas dinner."

A plant mechanic by trade, who still holds down his job (along with raising three kids with his wife Ashlie), Parnell said the past three months for Slab have been "bonkers".

In the four days leading up to Christmas, Parnell was making between 150 and 160 mini cheesecakes each day - and it was all done from his home kitchen.

So how did this happen?

"I was making those cheesecakes for Christmas dinner and I kind of nailed it," he says.

"I thought, 'That's not too bad'. My sister asked me to make one for her friend's baby shower, so I did, and that's when it started to grow."

He toyed with the idea of selling the cheesecakes as a side hustle and when his wife, a graphic designer, presented him with a name for the business and branding, he ran with it.

They set up social media accounts to promote the brand and orders began coming in.

"The online presence started to grow organically and gain a bit of traction," he says.

"The team at The George Espresso and Kenn from Xtraction Espresso saw them and asked to stock them in the cafes.

"I thought, 'This could take off'."

Parnell's creations are a feast for the eyes.

He has nine cheesecake flavours ("All set, not baked," he says) including Oreo, Nutella, Biscoff, Kit Kat, Lindt Choc and peanut butter which are available in mini or full size.

The highest selling cakes are the minis which can be ordered in packs ranging from two to 12. They're proving popular for corporate events, weddings and gifts.

For Parnell, the key to the perfect cheesecake is using premium ingredients and achieving the right balance.

He says the recipe itself is simple, but the flavour profile and the presentation - toppings with cookie chunks and oozy caramel - have proved a winning combination.

"Every time I have had a cheesecake it has always been a bit skimpy for my liking and pretty mellow in flavour," he says.

Slab's founders and business partners Warren Parnell and Darren Archer.

"That was the point of this - let's see how far we can push the flavour.

"I love a thick base, big thick filling and full of flavour but at the same time also perfectly balanced.

"We don't want it to be over the top sugary where you can't eat it and enjoy it. We want it to be nice and big and bold.

"I have always experimented with flavours and that's the core of what we are trying to do."

Experimenting with flavours has led to collaboration, too.

In the coming months, Slab will release a range in collaboration with Mr Consistent, the popular mixer brand, to create a range of cocktail-themed cheesecakes.

"I reached out to them and told them my story and they jumped on board," he says.

Slab's range of cheesecakes includes berry, Oreo and peanut butter.

Future plans include the introduction of bite-size cheesecake balls and the option to order custom cheesecakes.

Slab Cheesecakes' kitchen will officially launch in early March, but orders can still be made online via the website.

Same-day delivery orders are available within a 15-kilometre radius of the Islington kitchen.

Slab Cheesecakes, 99 Maitland Road, Islington.

Order online at

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