London Cheesecake

London CheesecakeWhat exactly is a “London Cheesecake”?

Well, it’s not a cheesecake, it contains no cheese whatsoever, and it’s not specific to London as I’ve seen it in branches as foreign as Leeds. It appears also to be one of those controversial dishes that has any number of variations. Some report London Cheesecakes filled with jam-like stuffing while others state that a “true” London Cheesecake does not include the coconut on top, but is instead a dollop of icing that sits atop a simple 4″ portion of pastry.

It is in fact a slab of flaky pastry, about 2cm tall, topped with icing and covered in coconut shavings. This makes it a Bounty in reverse, without the chocolate.

I’ll be honest; before grabbing one of these as a puddin’ I’d never heard of this delicacy. I’d certainly had never eaten one. Cursory online research informs me that it was at one time a staple of school dinners and factory tea rooms but sadly has diminished in popularity since the 1970s. Greggs on Portobello Road however seem to have them in stock by the bucketload. I approve.

The only thing this product needs to do is not fall to pieces in your hands. The pastry does a sturdy job of this and has a sweet taste that makes you crave more. The icing is sweet enough (and fortunately sticky enough to keep its shredded cargo in place) while not TOO sweet. While I’ve never been a fan of coconut (Bounty? EUGH) it actually works OK in this context. It also represents excellent value for money at 60p.

It’s not filling, but then it’s a cake and you generally don’t expect a pudding to fill you up. I can consider myself won around by the London Cheesecake.

Verdict: A new experience turns into a decent treat. I would however be interested in trying a jammed up version of this.

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  • Gideon Rigal

    London Cheesecake was in fact invented by sir Walter Raleigh shortly before his exectution. He was inspired to create a ‘city’ cake that would be remembered for years to come. The original recipe had custard and potatoes in.

  • John Trotter

    Not quite like the London cheesecake I knew and loved.  They were round, may be 4 inch’s accross. they had a pastry base with a almond cake like filling, the top was covered in white icing and topped with thread coconut, not shredded coconut.  do not remember them having jam inside.  Best ones I ever had was made by a bake known as Bob Freestone bakers in Borehamwood, Herts. Unfortunately he closed about 1962. He had brown and cream electric delivery vans.  Great doughnuts too.

  • elizabeth northcote

    nope a REAL one has jam in it, with vanilla and almond filling inside and thick icing and the coconut has to be in threads and fall off everywhere so its very messy eating.  Check out Yellow swordfish – he found a recipe

  • Sue Rowley

    The cheese cakes that Caves Bakers in Tottenham sold had a ‘tart’ made of either puff or sweet shortcrust pastry, with jam on it, and then a filling of a light sponge on top of which was the icing and coconut. They were always circular and looked much nicer than your puff pastry version.

  • Kevin Walker

    But WHY are they called Cheese cakes when there is NO cheese in em !??

  • Cats34

    they are tasty

  • Sfsmith123

    Could it be that the shredded coconut on top resembles grated cheese?

  • james daly of caterham

    All you bitches have way too much free time.

  • mrs j marchant


  • delboy

    Love these “hairy cheesecakes” but can’t get them in the Midlands.Have to wait for the family to come up from south…

  • Marina Holness

    When I lived in Cornwall my local bakers sold them, but they had dessicated cocnut in side with the jam….yummy :)

  • Catseyes

    No No No! I beg to differ. No jam or almond fillings in the original. Maybe you were talking about a regional variant. But I lived on the original in Tottenham in the 50s & 60s. John Trotter has it right.

  • Catseyes

    Where to they get them? I have not seen them for years.

  • Catseyes

    Then go to another webpage and leave us alone.

  • Witgoon

    In Shepherds Bush in 50′s and 60′s you had a large tea and a cheesecake – pastry case, almond filling, iced with coconut strands falling off. Got some from Elephant and Castle area in 90′s. Never seen them outside London.

  • LeeJams

    The London Cheesecakes I grew up eating, (in London and I’m now 70), used to have a small layer of raspberry jam between the middle layers of pastry. Delicious!! They seemed to become very scarce down here in Southern Hampshire but have reappeared in some branches of Greggs. Whenever I go into the branch I use and the assistant sees me she asks “How many?” If you have never eaten one, try one. It won’t be your last!!

  • LeeJams

    That sounds very tasty Sue, but it’s not a traditional London Cheesecake.

  • Carol Izzard

    Oh dear, I was bought up on these puff pastry, franzipan, jam, icing with coconut on top. Thats a London Cheese cake, please don’t mess with them. Recipe on BBC cook web site is perfect!

  • Jack

    I live in the south east of England & they sell these at my local Aldi, two in a pack, similar to how the article describes. My father grew up in London, he was born in the 50′s. I buy these London cheesecakes in my local Aldi before visiting him and we would eat one each. Afterwards he always tells me how he remembers when he was young, he would get a London cheesecake from his local bakers. He always describes it with a thin slice of cheese in the middle of the pastry.
    It seems like a very controversial treat, with everyone having their own first experience.

  • Jack

    My Father always tells me how he remembers when he was young, he would get a London
    cheesecake from his local bakers. He always describes it with a thin
    slice of cheese in the middle of the pastry.
    It seems like a very controversial treat, with everyone having their own first experience.

  • Paul Freestone

    My name is Paul Freestone, and I’m Bob Freestone’s grandson. I recall the ‘cheesecake’ with icing and topped with coconut. Also, my first job was filling the doughnuts with jam (and they were famous for the large amount).
    Bob Freestone & Sons ceased trading in 1966 when my Dad and his brother Harold sold the business. Grandad had actually retired a few years earlier. Me and my sister Helen, and our 2 cousins (Harold’s daughters Jill & Penny) still own the land and buildings where the bakehouse was sited in Theobald St.

  • Michael O’Gorman

    They were the staple snack in our school tuck shop in Cork, Ireland right through the 70′s & early 80′s. The filling often had some lemon zest grated in with the almonds. They fed hungry rugby players for years !

  • Michael O’Gorman

    I wonder if this is how the cheese cake came to Cork Ireland – Raleigh used to stop in the port of Cork to stock up en-route to the Americas?