Wilfra Apple Cake

Wilfra Apple Cake

October 12: Feast Day of St. Wilfrid

If a certain dessert is “American as apple pie,” then this similar sweet is as British as Wilfra apple cake. This recipe is associated with St. Wilfred, a seventh century bishop who established several churches and monasteries, oversaw a large diocese and preached to the pagans in England.

English culture and cuisine influenced the colonists of early America. Wilfra apple cake is probably a precursor to apple pasty/pastie and pie. The unique ingredient, however, is the shredded cheddar cheese which, when melted, binds the apple filling together.

For a different yet delicious dessert that is a cross between a cake and a pie, try Wilfra apple cake on the Feast Day of St. Wilfrid.


(Adapted from Cooking With the Saints by Ernst Scheugraf)

For the pastry dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons water, cold

For the filling

  • 1 ½ pound cooking apples (we used Granny Smith variety)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • milk
  • sugar


Cut the butter into small pieces. In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the salt, sugar and lemon juice. Pour in the cold water and mix into a smooth dough. Divide in half. Roll each out to ¼ inch thick.

Wilfra Apple Cake

Lay one of the pastry pieces on the bottom of a well greased square (10 x 10 inch) or rectangle (8 x 12 inch) pan. Reserve the other pastry piece to put on top of the filling.

Wilfra Apple Cake

Peel the apples and slice them thinly. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle lemon juice to prevent browning. Mix in the brown sugar.

Wilfra Apple Cake

Add the cheddar cheese. Spread the apple mixture on top of the bottom pastry layer. Cover with the other pastry layer. Cut out shapes from the extra pastry dough to decorate the edges (optional).

Wilfra Apple Cake

Brush the top layer with a little milk. Finish off the edges (optional) with any cut-out pastry dough shapes. Sprinkle with sugar.

Wilfra Apple Cake

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely to allow the juices from the apples to set with the cheese. Slice into squares and serve.

 Wilfra Apple Cake


  • If “apples are of your eyes,” then try the recipe for apple pie on National Apple Pie Day on December 3. Search our blog for other recipes containing apples as an ingredient.
  • Leftover pastry dough can be used to make delicious “dokeyanas” (pets de souers). They are sweet, swirled cinnamon rolls that we blogged about on National Pastry Day on December 9.