A&P Spanish Bar Cake

by Julie Ruble on March 27, 2010 · 200 comments

In case you were wondering: No, I cannot eat all these desserts by myself. First of all, I’d rather not weigh 400 pounds — I just don’t think that’d be a very fun way to live. Secondly, even if I developed some wonderful condition that kept me trim regardless of how much pie I ate, baking is no fun unless you can share it with people you love. For me, one of the most rewarding parts of being a food blogger is watching people enjoy the things I’ve made (that sounds creepy, like I sit and stare at them as they eat, but I’m sure you know what I mean).

One group of folks I love to bake for is Mike’s family. Each Sunday evening we gather at their house for dinner and I bring whatever dessert I’ve whipped up. His mom is a fantastic cook, so the meal is always devoured enthusiastically. Many times I almost don’t think I have room for dessert! I say almost, because y’all know that there is always room for dessert.

Yay, SPRING!!

One reason I love to bake for Mike’s family is because they’re always encouraging — even if the results of my culinary efforts that week are not perfect! Don’t you love the people in your life who take one look at your runny pie and say, “Nevermind, it tastes delicious!” My own family deserves this praise as well, since they were served Coconut Cream Soup for Thanksgiving and ate it with cheerful smiles and compliments. Yep, those kind of folks are the keepers!

Because Mike’s family has been so supportive of my baking, I jumped at the chance this past weekend to create something a little special for them. A couple Sundays ago, Mike’s dad mentioned a cake his dad used to bring home from the old A&P store. The cake was called Spanish Bar Cake, and he described it as a dark brown cake with raisins and a creamy white frosting. I was so excited to recreate the memory that I started googling around that night.

What did I find? Well, first off, Mike’s dad is not the only one by far who wants to recreate the cake! Many online forums had pages of nostalgic posters describing their childhood experiences with the cake. They discussed every facet of their vivid Spanish Bar Cake memories : the color, the texture, the pattern on the frosting, the shape, the packaging . . . ! I also found many copycat recipes that boasted an identical taste and appearance to the original.

Not having tasted Spanish Bar Cake myself, I found it difficult to settle on a recipe! There were a few key disparities I had to evaluate. First, some recipes used cocoa powder, while some were a more traditional spice cake. After asking Mike’s dad to describe the color again, I decided to use the recipe that included the cocoa.

Another difference in the recipes I viewed was the frosting. Some used a standard cream cheese frosting, while others used white buttercream. I chose the latter, though I love cream cheese frosting. I reasoned that if the cakes were not refrigerated and had groove marks in the frosting, chances are the frosting would need to be safe when stored at room temperature and relatively stiff. Hence, buttercream. There were other, smaller decisions to make — things like nuts or no nuts (I chose no nuts), one layer or two (I chose one) — and then I was ready to bake!

One bonus of this cake is how simple it is to make! I must be on an easy cake kick. It’s a two-bowl process (one for the cake and one for the frosting). In a nutshell, you mix the dry ingredients, add the wet, bake, cool, mix the frosting, frost. No fuss.

If you have fond memories of this old A&P cake, bake one up for yourself and enjoy a blast from the past. I’ll add a note tomorrow to let you know how close to the original this recipe is, based on Mike’s dad’s reaction!

UPDATE: Score! Mike’s dad said as soon as it touched his tongue, the memories came flooding back! Apparently this is it, folks! He even said it seemed a bit moister than the original. Hurray!

Spanish Bar Cake



Recipe by: compiled from various internet sources
Yields: one 9 x 13 in. cake

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa (I used Dutch process)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups raisins, soaked in warm water until plump and drained

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup white shortening
1 cup butter, softened
8 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (can use clear if you want the frosting to be snow white)
4-6 tablespoons milk for thinning to desired consistency

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 13 in. baking pan with cooking spray (or butter and flour). Plump the raisins in warm water (I do this in a measuring cup that I’ll use for wet ingredients later — one less dish to clean).

In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. Add oil, applesauce, and eggs. Mix well. Add in raisins and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan, rapping 3-4 times on a counter to release trapped air bubbles. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let cake cool completely before frosting.

To prepare frosting, mix all ingredients until well combined. Add more milk if needed for consistency. Frost completely cool cake. Use a fork to rake grooves into the frosting to resemble A&P’s cake presentation.


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{ 200 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Walz March 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm

This defintely sounds like the cake I remember as a child. We always had this at our house.

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Kathy November 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I remember this cake from years back. it is delicious. I am glad I found this recipe.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Hope it’s just what you remember, Kathy!

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Jane Barnett December 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Thank you so much for this recipe. My father brought the Spanish bar home all the time and I’d love to have one now. I’ve baked other recipes entitled “Spanish bar cake” but they weren’t “the” one. I look forward to trying this one. The picture of the one you baked looks like the one I remember. I was talking with some friends and they remember the cake and would love to have one again. If the recipe turns out for me I will be baking some for them. Thanks again.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I hope this one is perfect, Jane! Let me know!!

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fattydumpling March 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

Oh yes, I know what you mean. One of the best things about baking and cooking is knowing that your efforts are going into nurturing somebody and hopefully seeing that your efforts have paid off because they have enjoyed what you have made especially for them ;] And it doesn’t hurt that you get a taste too.

The cake looks great, I never got a chance to try this kind before, hmnn…

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Kathleen March 28, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Hello! This is my first visit to your site. Great blog!! I’ve never heard of Spanish Bar cake. It looks terrific.

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Julie March 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Welcome, Kathleen! Thanks for visiting!

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Tay March 28, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Well, I can honestly say that I do look forward to your desserts every Sunday night!
I’ve never had one that I didn’t like… and this one tonight was just as good! Yummm!
Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

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Julie March 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Aww, thanks Tay!!

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mangiodasola March 29, 2010 at 3:01 am

I’ve never heard of this cake. It looks like a comforting dessert.

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Valen March 29, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I’ve never heard of this cake before, but I loved hearing about it, and it looks delicious!

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Wendy March 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Not sure which I like better the recipe or the photography! Beautiful!!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 30, 2010 at 5:09 am

Isn’t it lovely when you find THE recipe? :D Great job Julie and I’m really wondering what this is like. I’ve never heard of Spanish Bar cake!

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Deanna March 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Nicely done! Everyone in my family likes to think of themselves as a critic so if it isn’t perfect at my house you know what everyone thinks needs to be changed. It gets old, but what can you do?

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Mom March 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm

That was so nice of you and I am sure it made Mike’s Dad’s night! (or week, maybe..??) It looked and smelled delicious! Soon I will be able to taste for myself! (3 1/2 # to go!) Alex scarfed his right down so it must have been wonderful! The pictures are gorgeous! I have never heard of a Spanish Bar Cake (we had an A&P, too) but this smelled like a dark, gingerbread I used to make that was SOOooo good! Brought back memories for us, too!

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Susan April 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Spanish Bar cake was a family favorite when I was growing up. My mother is a great baker, but there was just something about that A & P cake we all loved. I used your recipe for Easter. We all agreed that it is WONDERFUL and tastes just like the Spanish bar cake we remembered. This is a keeper recipe. Thank you so much for posting it on Tastespotting.

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Julie April 6, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Susan, I’m so, so glad to hear that this recreated your taste memory!! Happy Easter!

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Lori Johnson April 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I can’t wait to try it for my husband. He loved the Spanish Bar Cake! We still buy them in Canada but they are too dry now.

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Julie September 18, 2010 at 1:10 am

Hurray, hope he loves it!

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AW August 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I agree with the “too dry” description. *sigh* Just another reason for me to bake my own, I guess. So double cheers to Julie for the recipe! Thanks :-)

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richard poston April 14, 2010 at 1:38 am

My parents had this in the house all the time i love it when a&p closed i have not had some sence i guest this is telling my age
i’am going to the store today and get the fixins to make my kis ask what is it

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Julie April 14, 2010 at 1:40 am

Thanks, Richard! I hope you and your family love it and that it tastes just how you remember! :)

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richard poston April 14, 2010 at 1:39 am

have a good day

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Erika Robinson September 5, 2010 at 11:42 am

My dad was a manager at an A&P and used to bring it home to by mother, brothers and sisters to have for diessert after sundsy dinner. It is one of my fondest childhood memories. Thanks for the recipe! Mow I can share it again with my family!

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Julie September 18, 2010 at 1:10 am

Aww, I love this! Thank you for sharing, Erika!

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DONISE September 15, 2010 at 6:05 am

When I was pregant with my oldest son (now 53 years old) I craved A&P’s Spanish Bar Cake. I remember my mom and dad coming for a visit (we lived 200 plus miles away), my dad drove 11 miles to the nearest A&P store to buy these cakes for me. Thanks for the momories and the recipe.

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Julie September 18, 2010 at 1:10 am

Such sweet memories! Thank you for sharing, Donise! I love that I can be a part of that!

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dee October 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Hi
was so glad to find your recipe for this cake. my cousin in OR asked me to look for it back here on the east coast because he couldn’t find anything like the A&P treat he remembered from his childhood days in PA out west. i am making one and sending it to him. thanks. i enjoyed your blog and will stop back for another visit soon.
DC

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 25, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Hurray, so glad to help, Dee! Hope your cousin loves it!!

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Chris November 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Spanish Bar Cake
Just got one – from an A&P in NJ; also told that affiliated stores may have it: Superfresh and Pathmark. Your LOOKS like it, but there are differences. This cake comes out of Canada and the label says: Oakrun Farm Bakery, LTD; http://www.oakrun.com. The icing is pure white (buttercream I’m sure), but your coloring is EXACTLY on the mark! It also lists brown sugar and nuts in the ingredients and I suspect molasses. It has (dark) raisins in it. Powdered skim milk. Doesn’t mention cocoa, but that may be a hidden ingredient. I suspect some ginger too.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Nice sleuthing, Chris :)

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AW August 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I just picked up one of these from the same bakery and it was okay. The cake was just too dry, stale. :-(
I think I will try Julie’s recipe without the cocoa and just use the dark brown sugar and/or molasses. I think that gives it its dark color. Thanks for the tip!

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Alecia Hill November 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm

AWESOME

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Verna December 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Thanks for this recipe! One of my co-workers mentioned the A & P Spanish Bar Cake from years ago…I barely remember A & P, LOL! But this looks suspiciously close to a spice-type cake I remember eating at a family gathering as a child. Never had it since, bit always wondered what it was, it was THAT good!
In my search, I saw one recipe that called for 4 times the amount of ingredients than another recipe, for the same size cake, SMH!!! Your recipe looks SANE, LOL!
Decided to make it for my co-worker and the rest of my team as Christmas gifts. Will let you know how it is received! Thanks again!

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Bob Kaschak January 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Hello,

I was Googling Spanish Bar Cake which I remember fonly from my youth in Pennslvania and I stumbled upon you site.

The cake I remember was a “spice type” cake. Not a full fledged spice cake, but close. Ginger and molassas come to mind.

Thanks so much for the receipe.

Peace,
Bob

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Thanks so much, Bob! I’m glad I could help!

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Connie January 27, 2011 at 11:02 am

Love your website. First time visitor … found your site while searching for how “Spanish Bar Cake” got its name. I’m one of four sisters who were recently talking about our deceased mother’s love for A&P’s Spanish Bar Cake. As a result, I decided to search for the recipe and I chose a different one than you did (no cocoa or applesauce, different spices, including clove). The end results was fabulous … just like we all remembered with the exception that I added walnuts. (We didn’t think the cake Mom bought at A&P had nuts in it, but the addition of nuts was wonderful.) I would love to share with you which recipe I chose. By the way, do YOU know where the cake got its name?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I’d love to hear about it! Mike’s dad thought this one was a dead ringer, but I’d love to try different variations. I’m not sure how the name came about. Thanks, Connie :)

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Connie January 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Do you want me to post the version I made on here or should I email it to you?

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Either way is fine! Feel free to post it here.

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Connie January 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Here’s the recipe I used. Hope it posts OK with the spacing, etc. The recipe said to bake just 35 minutes, but I had to bake it much longer … 50 minutes. I used the buttercream icing that was on my box of powdered sugar. Loved it! I split the frosting between TWO 9×13 cakes that I took to church.

Spanish Bar Cake
Ingredients
· 4 cups water
· 2 cups raisins
· 1 cup shortening
· 4 cups all-purpose flour
· 2 cups white sugar
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon ground cloves
· 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1 teaspoon ground allspice
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 eggs
· 1 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease one 13×9 pan.
2. Cook raisins and water for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the shortening. Remove from heat and let mixture cool.
3. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and salt. Add flour mixture to the cooled raisin mixture and blend well. Stir in the beaten eggs. Add the chopped nuts (if desired). Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
5. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
½ cup margarine
1 lb. box powdered sugar
4 Tbls. milk
1½ tsp. pure vanilla
Beat until creamy and smooth.
NOTE: This recipe was on the powdered sugar box. I put ½ of this frosting on each of two cakes. Cut the frosting recipe in half if making just one cake.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Thank you for sharing!!

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Kathy July 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I would also like to try yours. I love this bar cake, my mother use to get this @ the A&P when I was a child. It,s been a long time that I had this I can,t wait. Thank You

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Kyleene February 16, 2011 at 10:53 am

Hello, I was googling Spanish Bar Cake & found your blog. I grew up eating them, but we got them at IGA. They are one of my alltime favorites! Thanks for sharing! Do you have any idea of a recipe for the Coconut cake that they had? It was package like the Spanish Bar Cake & was heavenly! The closest we’ve found in years is the Pepperidge Farms frozen cake, but it’s still not the same ;)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 16, 2011 at 10:57 am

So glad to help, Kyleene! I wish I did have the coconut cake recipe; alas, I never tried it!! Let us know if you come across one.

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AW August 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I just wanted to second what Kyleene said.

I would love to have that coconut cake recipe too. It was good. ;-)

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TMc February 18, 2011 at 9:08 am

Wow! What a dead ringer recipe for the Spanish Bar cake and it is delicious. My sister was blown away when she tried it, and she’s saving a piece (????) for her son who likes the cake as well.
The photographs did not do the recipe justice and I even took the extra step and purchased the Dutch process cocoa, and the buttercream icing truly is the “icing on the cake”.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Hurray!!!!!!!! I’m so glad to hear you all enjoyed it and thought it tasted just like the real thing!!

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JIM MAREN - WAUKESHA, WI May 18, 2014 at 12:59 am

I AM A 75 YR OLD WIDOWED MAN WHO WENT TO THE A & P WHEN I WAS TEN YRS OLD AND BOUGHT THE ANN PAGE SPANISH BAR. IF I COULD ORDER IT FROM WILD BIRD AND HAVE SIX OF THEM SENT TO ME IN WISCONSIN, I’D GLADLY PAY THE PRICE…THAT TASTE IS STILL IMBEDDED IN MY BRAIN. I’M NOT TOO HANDY IN THE KITCHEN BUT I JUST MAY TRY BAKING IT. IT IS SO GOOD AND I DON’T CARE ONE LITTLE BIT ABOUT MY WEIGHT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE RECIPE. BE STILL MY HEART !

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Louise February 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I have another easy version of Spanish Bar cake….
I got it in the 80′s
1 18 oz box yellow cake mix
1 4 oz box instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs – add one at a time
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup oil
3 cups raw grated carrots
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Beat all above ingredients together 6 minutes.
Then fold in 4 oz chopped walnuts and
1 cup chopped raisins

Pour into 2 greased 9 inch loaf bread pans
and Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes.

Refrigerate after baking the cakes.
Split each loaf in two carefully and fill with the following forsting
and then ice top with remainder.

FROSTING:
Cream:
3 oz cream cheese and 1/4 lb soft butter until creamy
Add
1 lb sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp orange extract
1 Tablespoon light Karo syrup
and 1 Tablespoon cornstarch.
Beat for 2 minutes until smooth.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Thanks, Louise!

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Tina Werts March 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

Julie, my older brother was here in PA for a visit this weekend (he lives in Ohio) and he started to describe a cake that our dad use to buy all the time. He no sooner got those words out of his mouth when I said “Spanish Bar Cake” and the memories of our dad slicing what we thought we entirely too small pieces of that wonderfully delicious cake came flooding back to both of us. Since this is Lent and my brother and I gave up eating anything that even remotely resembles a dessert for the next 40 days, I promised that I would find a recipe on the internet and bake it for him when he comes back again to my home in July. Of course, I’ll bake it several times for myself and my husband BEFORE he come just to make sure I can get it baked correctly. Of all the recipes that I found on the internet, yours sounded like the real McCoy and I can’t wait for Easter and the end to my self-imposed deprivation!

Tina

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

I’m so glad to hear this, Tina! What a great comment to receive. I hope it’s everything you and your brother remember! Please let me know what you all think.

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Joanne March 26, 2011 at 4:52 am

Thanks so much for this recipe. As a young child I remember my Mom taking me to the A&P store in western PA where I grew up. I used to watch her shop and when she bought this cake I could hardly wait to get home to have a slice. The cake I remember had maybe 4 layers with frosting between each layer. Any tips about this approach? I was going to try a loaf pan and possible put cake in the freezer for a short time to help reduce the crumbling.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 27, 2011 at 10:40 am

Hi Joanne! One thing you could do is make a sheet cake like this, and then (before frosting), cut it into equal sized layers. Frost between the layers and stack them, frosting the top. Alternatively, you could bake a little of the batter at a time in loaf pans as you suggested and layer them. I hope it works out!

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Tim April 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Yes , this is definetly it . I have memories of this spanish bar cake also. My Dad Leonard E Gokey , worked for the A&P Stores most of his life ,43 years to be exact ,At 14 he started as a bag boy and worked his way to being the Store Manager very quickly , one of their yougest at the time. He would bring home a spanish bar cake occasionaly as a special treat , the unfortunate thing was that it had to be shared with my five brothers, not that unfortunate really there was always plenty to go around . Dad has passed just in the last few years and seeing this about the spanish bar cake brought all those good memories back, and now I am waiting to take one from the oven , smells fantastic , Thanks

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Tim, this brought tears to my eyes! So happy I could help you recreate the Spanish Bar Cake! I hope you and your family love it, and that it does justice to the memory of the ones your father brought home. Thanks so much for sharing your memories!!

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Sheila May 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I was delighted to recently find a Spanish Bar Cake in a Market Basket store! Brought it home and shared with my sister who loved them as much as I did. It was good but quite dry in comparison to the A&P originals.
Having grown up in the 40′s and 50′s I have great memories of the “Cake from the A&P!!! I found your recipe and it is cooling on the counter as I write this. The recipe sounds and looks (and smells) like it may be very close to the one I remember. I am thinking it may have had the trade name, “Betty Page”. Does anyone remember? May have had a cameo logo on the lable (?). Thanks for a lovely recipe!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm

You’re so welcome, Sheila! I’m so glad it smells promising — you’ll have to let me know how it compares once you taste it! :)

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Dora August 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Here, in Canada, it was made by “Jane Parker”.

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Suzanne Knomer January 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Loved this cake just like everyone else. Will be trying it soon. I can’t believe that in a flash I had an answer for you. The trade name was Ann or Anne Page (A & P). Thanks for the memories.

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JIM MAREN - WAUKESHA, WI May 18, 2014 at 1:13 am

THE NAME OF THE A & P CAKE WAS “ANN PAGE SPANISH BAR” MOST OF THE DESSERT ITEMS AT THE A & P WERE “ANN PAGE” BRAND ITEMS. IN WISCONSIN IN THE 50′s, IT WAS THE A & P STORE AND THE NATIONAL TEA STORES THAT COMPETED FOR OUR BUSINESS BUT ONLY THE A & P HAD THE SPANISH BAR CAKE. WE HAD AT LEAST ONE A WEEK AT OUR HOUSE. IT WAS GOOD WITH HOT COFFEE OR COLD MILK. IT WAS JUST PLAIN GOOD !! HOPE THAT HELPS YOU….”ANN PAGE” IS THE BRAND NAME.

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Margaret June 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I am so glad to fine this blog.For years I have looked for the recipe,tried one or two but never just right.I remember the nuts.Can’t wait to try this thank you.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Hope you love it, Margaret! Please come back and let me know what you think!

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laura July 31, 2011 at 1:36 am

Okay, So I ain’t that old but I am old enough to know about the old Spainish Bar cake OMG I am 30 and I remember it when I was a kid LOL it was the best 2 layered cake ever in the world I remember my mom and my grandma always buying a bar or two or even three maybe thats why they went out of businesss cause we kept buying them all and now that I am older and driving now i can’t find them so i am hopeing it is the best cake I remember as a child the picture totally look like it I am gonna surprise my mom and make it and see if she knows what it is LOL thanks so much for making me feel young again

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Hooray! You’ll have to let me know if she realizes what it is!! I hope you all love it!

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Mary August 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

It seems like it’s a Dad thing: My Dad loved this cake from the A&P! He would always buy one if he went shopping there, and we would all eat it right up!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Isn’t that funny, Mary? That’s how it seemed to me, too! Dads really loved this cake :D

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Don August 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

The original cake was two layers, frosting between layers and on top layer only. Sides were left unfrosted. No nuts. Yes, I’m positive. I had this cake many times growing up in the ’50s. I recently made same recipe as Connie’s but from another source. Dead ringer for the original. But next time I will use loaf pans instead of 9 x 13 pan.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

You can easily make a two-layer cake from one baking in a 9×13 by cutting and stacking if you wish.

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Jesse September 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I am with Don 100 Percent there were no nuts of any kind in these cakes and made as he says. At 70 years old I remember them fondly and will be baking up one AS SOON AS I GET BACK FROM STORE WITH RAISINS

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Hope you love it, Jesse!

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Kate Lynch September 19, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Ditto to everything I’ve read. I grew up in the 50′s, my dad worked at the A&P, Spanish Bar cake was THE best treat ever. I, like almost everyone else, was searching the web for a recipe for this great spice cake when I came across your site. I remember my biggest problem was which to eat first, the cake or the frosting. Gee, what memories. Thanks everyone.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Love it! That would’ve been my biggest issue as a kid, too :D I’m enjoying everyone’s memories so much!

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Sandy September 25, 2011 at 11:58 am

OMG, this is so close to the ones we ate when I was a child! If I only had the old type celophane wrap we would think we had gone back in time. I did not have applesauce in the kitchen so I used 2 cups of my homemade applebutter and left out all the spices )since they were in the applebutter).
This is a kepper, I think I am goinfg to open a shop………….

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Hooray, I’m so glad it brought back good memories, Sandy! :D

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Connie September 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Just made a sugar-free, fat-free version of this. I used Splenda instead of sugar, Egg Beaters instead of whole eggs and I added extra applesauce and omitted the oil. I also decided to increase the fiber by switching to whole wheat flour. (Can you tell that I’m dieting?) I don’t recommend doing what I did. It tastes OK, but the texture is way different. I won’t throw it out — it is worth eating, but I won’t do it again. Glad I cut the recipe in half for this trial. :-)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Aw, too bad! I know that typically you can’t switch 100% of the flour to whole wheat without affecting the taste and texture. Maybe next time, try switching just half. Glad it’s at least edible!! Thanks, Connie.

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Gus Grayman October 1, 2011 at 1:05 am

Dear Julie,
I am 42 years old and I remember going to the A&P shopping with my grandma. Each week one of us kids got to choose THE dessert we would have after dinner, and the rest of the week. I was 12 when the A&P closed it’s doors in our small town. I have never seen nor heard of it again, until now. I remember the cake was actually like a loaf with 2 layers. The inside frosting made of cream cheese and the top layer, butter cream. I don’t remember nuts, but I remember raisins and carrots. And I remember picking that cake out on my week. And I don’t remember, there was any left over by the end of the night.

My wife had never heard of this cake. I would go on and on about how good it was. it was in my eye, the cake of perfection. My wife finally said to me,”would you shut your pie hole and bake it then?” So now, I try.

Thank you,
Gus G.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 1, 2011 at 1:08 am

What wonderful memories, Gus. I hope this cake is what you remember, and I hope your wife gets to experience your childhood with you!! You can even make it two layers — just cut it with a serrated knife, frost in between, and layer it up. Please let me know what you think, and thanks so much for sharing with us!!

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Granny October 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

When I was a child, I am now 71, I was always excited when my parents brought home an A&P Spanish Bar. Yesterday I went to Lowes food store and bought a cinnamon harvest cake, to my surprise it taste exactly like the old fashioned Spanish bar. Everyone who is near a Lowes store try one you will not believe it!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 23, 2011 at 11:40 am

This is great to know!! Thanks for sharing!

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Corrine October 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I have not made your recipe yet, but my friends were all discussing the old
Spanish Bar Cake several months ago and how delicious it was. I remember it being 2 layer with thin layer of frosting between and remainder on top, none on sides. It was about the size of a loaf pan, dark and moist.
I will be trying your recipe soon. If you are a cranberry lover, you could substitute dried cranberries for the raisins to change it up for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 31, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Great ideas, Corrine! I hope you love it once you try it! You can always cut the cake and layer it as you remember. Best wishes!

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Dottie October 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm

It is amazing how similar all of our stories are, isn’t it?! I grew up in Alabama and still live here. About a month ago, I was eating lunch with my dad and brother. Somehow the subject of the A&P Spanish Bar Cake came up. We used to love it when my mother (who passed away almost 5 years ago) would bring that cake home with her on grocery days. It was almost addictive! Like many others, I decided to do a search for a recipe. I found several, but I thought yours was the most promising. As soon as I started licking the bowl :), I knew it was going to be good! Oh my! My dad and brother think that someone should market it! I also shared some with my aunt and cousin, who also raved about it. I do agree with Connie, about the icing, though. It is delicious, but there is enough for 2 cakes. It is a good excuse, at least!

I would also be interested in knowing where the name and original version of the cake came from. Is is simply divine! I sure am glad you posted the recipe!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hooray!! It’s so good to hear that this hit the spot, Dottie! I’m so glad the recipe was what you remembered :) Thank you!

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Bob November 1, 2011 at 9:08 am

This cake brings back memories for so many people! My father was an A&P
Store manager for many years. He would always bring home the Spanish bar cake for my mother who really enjoyed this cake with her coffee.
The two trade names that the A&P used were Jane Parker and Anne Page.
My dad worked many hours and late nights. My mom would kid him and say
That he had girlfriends named Anne and Jane!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm

LOL! I love this story, Bob! Too cute! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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KC November 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm

If you were here I would hug you!!!! Thanks for the recipe. Going to recreate memories for my family!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Aww, *e-hug*! Hope your family loves every bite! Let me know what you think! :)

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Suz November 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

This morning I was on Facebook in a discussion with students from the elementary school I went to as a kid (I’m 51 now) about the local A&P in Montreal, Snowdon district…. (I was remembering the smell of fresh ground coffee and this fantastic cake…but couldn’t remember the name!). A girl just wrote back saying it was called “Spanish Bar” cake…and I was like “THAT’S IT!!!!” geez, all those years thinking about that cake…and now I have a recipe to go with it! As far as I remember, there were no nuts in the cake and it was a loaf, with 2layers…between layers was a thin layer of icing, on top, a pure white buttercream. Oh I loved that icing and used to save it for last. I also remember the celophane wrapping and how often there was icing stuck on it…I always got to eat whatever icing was stuck…oh yummmmm! Thank you for supplying this recipe…i will be making it for Christmas!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 14, 2011 at 1:48 am

So happy to be able to help!! I hope it’s just what you remember! Love that this has become a place to share memories of a much-beloved cake! :)

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Darlene November 15, 2011 at 12:14 am

When my father did the grocery shopping, he invariably brought home a Spanish Bar Cake from A&P (Western New York). Our family of eight shared one cake and we always wanted more!!! I’ll be using your recipe for Thanksgiving — I’m anxious to see if my two brothers recognize our old family favorite. Thanks for sharing!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

Aw, now you can make as much as you want! ;) What sweet memories. Thanks, Darlene! Hope it takes you all back!

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Sharon November 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I remember this cake to from my childhood. I am going to make this but will try making it in layers as I remeber. Thanks for the recipe.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I hope it’s just as you remember, Sharon! To make the cake easier to cut into layers, you can freeze it (before icing). Then use a serrated knife to cut it in half and cut off any uneven top dome or edges. Once you have two even layers, you can ice as usual. Freezing it makes the cake less tender and therefore easier to cut.

Let me know what you think! I’d love to see photos!

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Kathy November 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm

thank you so much for printing this spanish bar cake recipe. I remember this cake when I was young and I loved it. I have been wanting this recipe for many years and I will make it soon. I hated it when A&P stores closed and I couldn’t buy it anymore. thanks again

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm

You’re so welcome! Hope it’s what you remember! Let me know what you think!

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Linda November 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I cant believe this, my Mother, Brother and I were talking about fruit cake for the holidays and my brother and I both said our favorite cake ever was Spanish Bar Cake, it was always in our house as kids. I am 61 and I haven’t had that cake in years. I am making this recipe for my brother and I this coming week for Thanksgiving…You brought back an wonderful memory for both of us…Thank you.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Aw, Linda, I’m so glad! Please let me know what you all think. I hope it is just as fantastic as you remember it! :) Happy Thanksgiving!

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Kim November 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I just got back from the store! found your blog today, after I, too, thought about how much my family would enjoy this treat from my childhood!!! had to get applesauce and raisins!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I hope you loved the cake, Kim!

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mary December 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I remember this cake from when I was little. I want to make it for my parents. I just have one questions about the frosting, is 8 cups of confectioner’s sugar right? It sounds like alot. Please let me know.
Thank you

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

It is, but a couple of people have said they didn’t need this much frosting. It’s so easy to whip it together that maybe you could start with half and see if you need more. Hope you love it!!

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Jerry December 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm

You have no idea how long I have been looking for this recipe, the memories of this cake in our house on a regular basis, brings back so many memories. Thank You! I am going to make it today!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Yay! I’m so glad you found it here. Please let me know what you think! I hope it’s just what you remember.

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Betty Frye December 9, 2011 at 1:21 am

I made this and its wonderful.. only made half of the icing..you nailed it

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 9, 2011 at 1:26 am

Yay! So good to hear it’s what you remember!! Thank you, Betty!

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Jan Magee December 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Thank you for posting this recipe….. we were just talking about this at Thanksgiving…. and I can’t wait to make it….

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Yay! I hope you love it, Jan!

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robin j farr January 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Hurray! Finding this recipe was my Christmas gift! I grew up with A & P stores a mile from my house. We got one every week when I was little. But after I got married we would buy all they had on the shelf.. Couldn’t get enough of them! Thanks for sharing the recipe with cake lover’s!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking January 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I’m so glad to hear it, Robin! :) I hope this recipe brings back lots of lovely memories!

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robin j farr January 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm

thank you all so much for making recipe public! Have tried for years to try and find somewhere that still sells it here in Florida….. Again many thanks.

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Phil January 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Our local supermarket ( Village Market) in Boston carries “Spanish Bar Cake” very similar if not identical to the A&P’s of the 50′s- 60′s -They call it “Spice Bar Cake” though, however the taste matches my memory of it- A real treat!

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Denise January 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm

While shopping today I had such a craving for a cake my Dad used to buy when I was little. It was called a Spanish Bar cake. When I got home from the store I started searching the net to see if this cake was still commercially made. I finally came across your site. Although I am now 56 years old I can well remember the tast of this cake. Some recipes on the net called for cream cheese in the frosting. I can assure you the original cake had no cream cheese in its frosting. It was a heavy confectioner’s sugar frosting. The cake was a dark, heavy cake with raisins in it. Cannot wait to try your version and see if it matches. Will let you know. Thanks for posting.

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alberta February 5, 2012 at 7:23 am

This sounds like the Spanish Bar Cake I knew and loved. So does my 58 yr. old son. I am 76. We had it quite often and me and my son are always trying cakes that are supposed to be “Spanish Bars”but alas, none of them are even close. The original was a loaf cake in 2 layers with thick powdered sugar icing in the middle and on top. No cream cheese and no nuts. I can’t wait to try this. It sounds like a winner. All these bloggers can’t be wrong can they? Gotta get to the store first and buy some ingredients. Thanks a million.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm

I hope it’s just what you remember, Alberta! Let me know what you think!!

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BIG Ray February 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Worked inA@P bakery for 40 yrs. Spanish Bar was amainstay cheap to make,no eggs,25 lbs of cake crumbs in every mix(cake crumbs) broken cakes of all description,a week when Cherry Pound cake was on special ,was the time to buy Spanih Bar,all those cherries from the broken pound cake!!! A boil had to be made the night before,raisins shortning,water, brought to a boil and left until morning.special cake pans,2 in.wide,8 in long shallow pan.the Icing was straight icing sugar,shortning,vanilla,thick enough to be laid down as thecake passed under.a plastic scraper with notches cut out, made the design, thecake put on cardboard u board went straight to the wrapper 7 girls 1 man made up the line and to me a joy to behold when operating.of course Iwas a foreman at the time.

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Suzanne Knomer January 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Big Ray, Thanks for sharing your story. You should be in the cake hall of fame. NOW, the quest for the Cherry Pound cake recipe. Never had it as a child (54) but, it sounds delicious.

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Joan February 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Hi Julie, This is an old favorite in my family from A&P days in West Virginia. My husband is from UpState NY and they had the cake here too! It’s a small world! There are some Spice Bar Cakes around here in NY but they are not as good as the real Spanish Bar Cake. We run into people in the grocery looking for the Spice Bar Cake which is available. I think it comes from a bakery in Canada.
I can remember eating this cake myself from years ago but it was always two layers. I’m getting ready to try your recipe after looking at many on the web because of your frosting and using cocoa, and I had a question. Do you sift the confectioner sugar? Since you didn’t say I’m not going to sift it. I didn’t know about the clear Vanilla or using white shortening. I’m very excited about your recipe.
If this recipe turns out well I will be a hero and getting so many Brownie Points I will be rewarded at the jewelry store! LOL.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I hope it’s just perfect, Joan! I don’t bother sifting the confectioners’ sugar because I’ve done it both ways and it turns out the same either way. By the way, you can make the cake two layers by slicing up your sheet cake and stacking it so it’ll be just like you remember :) Let me know how it goes!

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Art February 27, 2012 at 3:10 am

I have been seeking this recipe for some time. Thanks to your following, my search is now complete. Not only one, but three versions to try. When my baking is complete I’ll get in touch and let you know which one came out the best..

Thanks to your website I can now start my adventure.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking February 27, 2012 at 4:13 am

Sounds like a delicious adventure :) Can’t wait to hear your results.

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Molly N. March 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I was born in 1985, but remember having this cake all the time as a kid! I can’t say it was from A&P since I don’t remember that store, but my mom said A&P was where she would get it from when she was a kid in PA. I called my mom last night, describing this cake, trying to see what it was. After a few minutes she clearly remembered what it was and after I did a Google search, I found this recipe! Now both my mom and I will be trying it. My mom would put the extra in the freezer to save, I’d always sneak a few bites when she wasn’t looking! The kind I remember had 2 layers of cake, with a layer of frosting in the middle and on top. I think I’ll use the 9×13 baking pan recipe, but cut it in 1/2 and put some frosting in between to make it more like the kind I remember.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm

That’s exactly what a few folks have done! I hope you and your mom love it and it’s just what you remember :) Let me know!

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Esther Padgett April 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

In 2012, you can still buy what’s labeled a Spanish Bar Cake (rectangular shaped with white icing) at Ingle’s (grocery store) in the South. If you don’t see it, ask the mgr. or someone who works in bakery. I believe they’re shipped in from another bakery. They taste fine, but homemade cakes from scratch are my favorites.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Great info! I hope folks get a chance to try it if they’re interested! Thanks, Esther!

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Esther Padgett April 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Everybody, I SHOULD have said Ingles (grocery store chain in the South) sells SPICE BAR CAKES, which I believe is what I used to remember as the Spanish Bar cakes in the 70s. When I walked by them in the store this week, I wanted to make sure they said “Spanish Bar,” but they said “Spice Bar.” One of the last ingredients is molasses.

I grew up in Easley, SC (Upstate), and now I live one county up in Western North Carolina. Still, if you want a store-bought one, I would give it a try. I bought one for my birthday about 5 years ago. I had my father and husband to help me, and that poor bar cake got gone fast. The store-bought one is a little dry–I might have bought it from Sav-Mor, which in our community is the discount store of Ingles, so the cake could have dried out a little as it was waiting for its expiration date.

I plan to try Julie’s Spanish bar recipe for Easter today! I’m going to add a touch of molasses. I like her idea of “plumping” the raisins. Hmmm… Maybe I should do that before I make fruitcake-style cakes at Christmas time.

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Esther Padgett April 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Update time! Yes, I made two of these cakes yesterday for Easter.I used homemade canned applesauce and “plumped” the raisins. Indeed, the cake was moist.

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Richard April 12, 2012 at 1:34 am

The A & P version from my childhood had 2 layers of cake creating the perfect delivery system for the 2 layers of white frosting. Cheers!

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Christine Charles April 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm

This is one of our families favourites., often requested instead of a birthday cake.
I have used different recipes, so I tried yours (and switched up a few things)
1 tsp of salt is too much!! ,use 1/4 tsp. instead.
1 large egg is enough, then
Add 2 tblsp of molasses, to wet ingredients make it moist.
bake in a large, well greased loaf pan @
325 for 45-50 mins. when cool, slice in half horizontally ——–
frost in between layers (skip corn syrup in frosting)
no need to frost the sides, run a fork lightly through the icing to get the same effect as the store bought A&P Spanish Bar cake.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Yes, 1 teaspoon would definitely be too much if distributed in a loaf-sized cake, but my recipe is baked in a 9×13-inch pan — it definitely depends on pan size. Thanks for adding your ideas! For folks looking to get two layers, they can cut the original recipe into two and frost between them.

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Judy Surovik April 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm

So glad to find this recipe. My older sister use to crave this cake with her first baby. Thanks for the recipe.
Judy Surovik

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking April 27, 2012 at 5:02 am

I hope she loves it! Thanks, Judy!

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lmac May 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Great exchange, can’t wait to try the abridged version and thanks for all the tips. I’ve been craving this lately and searching, also a childhood favorite. Finally googled, too. Cheers!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Thank you! Hope you enjoy!

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czarinakat June 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Ahhh, the Spanish Bar Cake from the A&P! I can’t wait to try this the next time I need to bring a dessert somewhere (I don’t bake for myself because I just gobble it all up). Now we just have to figure out how to recreate the red corregated wrapper that was under the cake and went up each long side of the bar. ;0)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Where there’s a will there’s a way! LOL. Hope you love it :)

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Marilyn June 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I have been trying to find THE RECIPE for Spanish Bar for a while now and yours IS THE ONE!
My husband is so happy! And it was so easy to make! Thank you!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking June 6, 2012 at 4:15 am

HOORAY!! So happy to hear this, Marilyn!

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Brenda August 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I made this cake and it is indeed, delicious. I remember my mother buying this cake at the A & P when I was a kid. It was one of the few cakes that she ever bought, since she baked most things herself. I always loved it. I didn’t change a thing. I love buttercream icing on this cake.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Brenda!!

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donna August 27, 2012 at 4:08 am

Just a question
We don’t like raisins….Can you leave them out? Or replace them with something else?

Thanks

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 28, 2012 at 1:27 am

Sure! Just leave them out.

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Susan Beagle September 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

WOW! I’ve looked for this recipe for years, even baked a few that sounded similar to what I remembered as a kid, but THIS one sounds like the real thing!! I had pretty much given up on finding a good recipe for the Spanish Bar Cake, but I can’t wait to try this one. The photos really take me back more decades than I like to admit to… Ha! My Dad and I loved this cake (sadly) more than any other cake my Mom had ever baked. Wasn’t the old A & P something??

Thanks for this version,
Susan Beagle

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 28, 2012 at 1:27 am

I’m so glad to help, Susan! You’ll have to let me know if it’s what you remember :) I hope you love it!!

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Susan Beagle October 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Julie -

Well, I baked “this wonderful Spanish Bar Cake” yesterday, and am pleased that it WAS the one I remembered so well!! I have tried many recipes prior to this one that didn’t turn out (but, the birds I feed STILL liked them). My “significant other” remembered the old A & P cake and said too, that this one really hit the mark. It makes a nice large cake, big enough to share, and I certainly will make it again. Your tips in the recipe were a big help as well.

Thanks for helping me re-live my childhood!
Susan Beagle

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Hooray!! That makes me so happy to hear! I’m so glad you enjoyed it (bet the birds are sad, though ;))

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caroline October 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I woke up last night thinking of this cake ! My Dad used to bring it home from the Parkchester shopping center A&P in New Orleans LA in the 60′s. We loved it. Funny that everyone says their Dad brought it home :) I think it is because the Mom’s were always worried about their weight . I have everything on hand and am going to make it for our potluck at church this coming Sunday. I will post back and let you know what everyone thinks. Thank you for replicating the original. All of the stories were fun to read. c

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Thank you, Caroline! I can’t wait to hear what people think of it. I hope everyone at the potluck loves it!

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Kathleen October 14, 2012 at 3:49 am

Julie:
Thank-you so much for this recipe. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve thought about this cake that I ate in my childhood. It was such a special treat and yes, it was usually my father who brought it home. Maybe more Dad’s did the shopping in those days.

Funny thing is, we were all sitting around in my office reliving memories about this cake the other day. It just happened that one of my gals had a birthday coming up so I decided to make it as a surprise. I was a little hesitant as I’m a pretty good cook but I’m not the greatest of bakers. No problem here though as it was such an amazing and easy recipe and turned out fantastic. The only thing I did different was cut the 9X13 cake down the middle longways (cut off about 1 1/2 inches off each end (which I iced and kept for myself – soooooo good!) and layered and iced the middle so it looked like the original loaf cake. It was a definite hit! I can also attest to this when I later ate my little salvaged, iced ends a couple of days later. At first I thought the icing was kind of sugary but it definitely got better with age and was “right on”!

The whole cake recipe was 97% “right on”. So good that I’m going to bake another one tomorrow. The only thing I’m going to do different is increase the cocoa to 2 tablespoons (to darken the cake) and cut the nutmeg/allspice a touch. Thank-you again for sharing.

Kathleen

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Thank YOU, Kathleen! I’m so glad it was the recipe you loved and remembered :) Let us know how your tweaks go!

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linda October 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I have had such a craving for the Spanish bar cake and just found your recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Looks like the cake I loved as a child. Thank you so much for posting. Linda

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I hope you love it, Linda!!

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Kathleen October 15, 2012 at 5:58 am

Julie:
Thank-you again for this recipe – here’s my two layered version:

http://pinterest.com/pin/173107179398542245/

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

BEAUTIFUL!! You hit the nail on the head, girl! Thank you for sharing!

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Sherree Gray Sanders October 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm

My sister and I were talking about Spanish Bar Cake today. We both remember it from the A&P in Greensboro, North Carolina in the early 1970′s. It was a 4×8 loaf(bar) cake. The cake was divided into two halves and the middle had icing also. I can still smell the wonderful aroma as I opened the end of the cellophane packaging. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

Sherree

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I hope it brings all those memories to life, Sherree!! :)

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Jasmine October 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Just made this – thank you Pinterest! was craving the A&P cake and found this recipe. It tastes almost identical!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

That’s so good to hear, Jasmine!

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Leah October 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Made this on the weekend to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. We go in search of Spanish Bar Cake every year around this time as it is his favourite, but we will search no more! This turned out wonderfully and tasted just like the A&P cake we’re all used to (but much more moist than those we find in the stores these days)!! My Dad really enjoyed it said it was pretty well bang on! Thank you so much!!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Aw, that makes me so happy to hear, Leah! Happy birthday to your dad!!

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Debbie November 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

Through the years, I told my daughter about the Spanish Bar cake that her grandpa would bring home as a treat for our family of 7 to share. This cake wasn’t one we got to enjoy on a weekly basis. Oh no, this cake was a summer time special treat that I and my other 3 sisters and brother could get a tasty bit of only if we were good, and only after we had cleaned our rooms………..argh………….well, being the youngest of all the children, momma and daddy would always let me be the one who got to open the end of the wrapper (making sure to get icing on each and every little finger), but a line was drawn by my siblings on letting me cut the pieces. Only once was I allowed and I thought it only fair since I had to do all the work, I should get the biggest piece. My daughter found your recipe while searching the internet about this wonderful cake I mentioned through the years, finally finding yours. She made it for me, my sisters and brother, and also for her grandma (daddy passing away 5 years ago). We all agree that your recipe hit the nail on the head, and I, well I still found a way to get the icing on all my fingers. Thank you for sharing this recipe with so many and giving us all such cherished memories. Wish daddy could have been here to enjoy this though.
Thank you,
Debbie

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Debbie, what a beautiful memory! I can’t thank you enough for sharing it with us — I am SO glad my cake could bring the memories back for you!!

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ANTHONY November 17, 2012 at 2:08 am

I spent a large part of my life, growing up in Chicago. And about 10 years in Northern Wisconsin. I remember the A & P store in town. I also remember the Spanish Bar Cakes. The A & P didn’t have their own bakery in store, so i don’t remember the cakes. While in Chicago though, i do remember the cakes. I bought mine at The Little Store on the corner, ( that actually was the the name of the store). And they were made by Dolly Madison. Now i live near Louisville,Ky. And i used to go to the Dolly Madison store and could get a spanish bar cake. They even had a coconut bar cake. But every bar cake, was just that, a bar. in the shape of a loaf pound cake. I want to make my own, but not quite sure on the amounts and cooking times for a loaf cake.

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Lillace Christianson November 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Just found your site through Pinterest. I grew up on these cakes. My father’s mother used to visit her other children and would always bring home a Spanish Bar. In my mind I can still see exactly where she would keep it in the refrigerator, and the way we would eat it. You know it has to be sliced in 3/4″ slices which we used our forks to cut into smaller, bite-sized blocks. What a treat! Can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks so much! Have a blessed Christmas season!

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maureen December 8, 2012 at 5:04 am

Hi, just googled Spanish Bar and got your recipe. My Mom is 89 years old and we grew up across from a supermarket called Acme. they carried this Spanish Bar. We were talking about it just the other day. I told her I would google and see if it is still being made. Saw your site and I will be baking this bar tomorrow to surprise my mom. Hope my looks as good as your photos. Thanks. I can still smell that cake….

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Anne December 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hi! Can’t tell you how excited I am to try this…my husband once in a while talks about this Spanish Bar Cake they used to buy at the A&P and how much he loved it. I looked for it for awhile, but soon realized it’s just not on the market any more…I’m not going to tell him about this recipe, just make it and surprise him for Christmas! Many, many thanks! What a great surprise to find this.

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Anne December 19, 2012 at 3:06 am

PS I found the Garibaldi Raisin cookies at the Vermont Store online…same thing, a cookie from our childhood…
Now if I can just find the Lemon Thins that were made by FFV company…

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Anne December 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Okay, I told you I would report back my results…a SMASHING success!! Everyone in our age group who had eaten the Spanish Bar Cake as a child thought this tasted just like it…except the icing was better!! Thanks so much, it was a special Christmas treat this year!

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Dee January 31, 2013 at 1:24 am

Julie,
You indeed are an “Angel in the Gap”. My sister (56) and I (60) were talking about the famous A&P Spanish Bar Cake that never seemed to be enough when Momma would bring it home when we were kids. I have searched the internet for places which may have sold it, but with no luck and recipes, but never were quite right. I’m trying this one as soon as I can get to the store tomorrow. Thanks for bringing back some very good memories and taking me to a place in time when life just seemed “good”. Bless you!

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Kathy March 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Thank you for sharing… I’ll give this a try….just loved this cake as a child. I’ll do mine in a loaf pan to recreate the original!

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Ellie Hasson July 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I will try not to repeat most of the comments on here. My Dad, also, was the culprit that brought home this special cake from our local A&P in New Jersey. We all loved it. I’m so glad to be able to try your recipe. From the comments I’m sure I will be enjoying the very same cake from back in the 50′s. I’m now 81 yrs. old and so anxious to sink my teeth into a “Spanish Bar Cake again. Thanks for your recipe.

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Julie Ruble July 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I can’t wait to hear what you think, Ellie! I hope it is exactly what you remember!!

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Joy July 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I made your A&P cake today and I closed my eyes to take the first bite. It all came back, the times, the 60′s, hmm, the Spanish Bar cake lives again! Can’t thank you enough for putting this recipe together. You’re a pretty good cook!

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Julie Ruble July 23, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Hooray, so glad you enjoyed it, Joy! :)

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Betty August 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I haven’t tried your version of the spanish bar cake. I remember it being very dark in color. I have been searching for years for this cake recipe and have not found it yet. but my grandmother had a recipe for a spice cake, she added blackberry jam with seeds and cocoa and that recipe comes very close to the color and texture of the spanish bar cake that i remember, with the exception , she used a sugar glaze instead of buttercream icing. I had wondered if this was the spanish bar cake without the frosting. also the cake has no eggs.

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Jim August 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I’ve made this recipe about a half dozen times since finding it here. It is absolutely spot on the same as the A&P Spanish bar I remember from the 70′s. This is the best Spanish bar cake I have ever tasted. Thank you Julie!

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Julie Ruble August 25, 2013 at 3:23 pm

That is so great to hear, Jim!! Yay!

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Dee September 10, 2013 at 3:36 am

Hi, Julie,
I have been looking at this recipe for quite some time. My dad used to buy them at A&P. We got one a few years back at a Market Basket here in New England and it was rather dry. I made this cake last week as a Groom’s cake for my brother’s wedding. It tasted precisely like the Spanish Bar cake we remember. It was so good – even covered in mounds of buttercream icing. So good! Thank you.

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Julie Ruble September 10, 2013 at 3:43 am

Aw, this makes me so happy to hear, Dee!! Thank you for sharing!

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Geri. I September 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I tried a recipe I had found, before I found this one. Your recipe is slightly different. I recall the Spanish Bar cake as a little darker (like yours) and denser then cake. The one I’ve just made is very good, but not quite right. I’m going to try again with a darker cocoa, more raisins and your recipe. BTW, my father was also the culprit for bringing home that cake and I’ve missed it I’m going to try yours as soon as my “panel of peers” can free up my cake pan, LOL.

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Julie Ruble September 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I hope it fits the bill, Geri! Let me know what you think :)

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Mandy Ga;;oway October 30, 2013 at 10:43 am

I found this Spanish Bar Cake in an Independent Grocery store in Peterborough, Ontario, Canda last summer.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. My Dad loved this cake and bought it whenever he could. I told my brother who lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada about it and he remembered Dad bringing it home. It was a 2 layered cake with a date filling and boy was it ever yummy. I’m going to figure out how to make this cake using the recipe I found on your site . Happy Baking, kid.

Blessings and love,
Mandy

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Debbie November 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

I can’t wait to make this for my hubby. When we were dating our Sunday afternoon consist of going to the grocery store to get things for his lunch a Spanish Bar cake was always on his list. This was back in 1972, we were married in 73 and have celebrated a wonderful 40 yrs. I’m going to earn some brownie point for this.
Thank you so much.

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Julie Ruble November 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

Aw, Debbie! Congratulations on 40 years! That’s amazing. I hope he loves this trip down memory lane :)

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Gwen November 14, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Oh, I just loved to go grocery shopping with my Mother. Mother taught me to love the A&P as much as she did. We ALWAYS went home with the Spanish Bar Cake. It was our treat for the week. Our treat at Christmas time was the Ann Page Fruitcake. I have such fond memories of the A&P stores. Does anyone remember the A&P potato chips, the were packed in a box, like todays large cereal box. I loved those chips!!! The good ole days.
Plan on making the Spanish Bar Cake this week-end, I’m sure my friends will love it.
Bless you all and thanks for reading.
Gwen
Charlotte, NC

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Julie Ruble November 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

What sweet memories! Thank you for sharing, Gwen. I hope you loved the cake!

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Phyllis November 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Hi Julie,
I have tried so many recipes for the A & P Spanish Bar, and yours is the closest I have found to the original taste and texture.
I used your recipe, with just a few changes. Instead of white sugar, I used 3/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup dark molasses. This makes the cake a darker color and adds the moistness and flavor of the molasses. Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder is also very good, instead of the Dutch cocoa.

Try a traditional “birthday cake” white frosting made with shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla with just enough milk to made it easy to spread. (No butter, as that makes it a yellow buttercream) and the original cake frosting was pure white.

It smelled SO good while baking, and I couldn’t wait to try it. Do you know this cake is wonderful when it’s still warm from the oven, even without the frosting? (I really couldn’t wait ~ Yum!)
I am 65 yrs old, and this cake was one of my favorite treats. No one has mentioned that it could also be purchased in individually wrapped slices in some convenience stores. My friends would buy candy and laugh at me for buying a slice of that “funny, brown cake” with my allowance.

Final note: I think the name “SPANISH BAR” refers in some way to the chocolate and spice in the recipe.
Those two ingredients are in Mexican hot chocolate and other traditional Spanish recipes.

Thanks for helping me remember some happy childhood memories!

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Julie Ruble November 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I’m so glad you found it so close, Phyllis!! :) Thank you for sharing your tweaks.

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Harris Wilensky January 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Thanks, for making my New Years start off in an amazing way. As a lifetime lover of A & P Spanish Bar cake, Seeing these amazing pictures, has my mouth watering for my all time favorite desert. I spent endless nights over the years eating and enjoying this amazing cake, my favorite for sure. I sure miss, going to the local A & P and buying this cake, of course, I can still dream of the amazing taste of it. Twice a year I visit a Market in Oaks, Pa. And one of the booths there, they have a small bakery, that sells there Spanish Bar Cake and I am lucky enough to get a sample to taste and after the first bite with tears in my eyes as I lick my lips and enjoy each bit taste of this, I go away smiling. I know I just stepped back in time to great memories. Thanks for those memories.
I know, as a person that has to watch his sugar and carbs for now, just a taste is all I can do, I always say if this was my last meal, damn I would eat the whole Spanish Bar Cake, and really enjoy every last bite. Thanks for the memories of great yesterday,.

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Julie Ruble January 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm

What happy happy memories! :) Thank you for sharing, Harris!

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Joe Klingman January 30, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Can you make a Spanish Bar Cake for Sale and ship it to Charlotte, NC 28277
Joe Klingman
P>S> Whatever your price is its ok with me

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Jacky Pare March 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Oh my i just saw this . Have been thinking or Spanish bar cake recently. I remember when my dad would bring it back from our local A & P . I can’t wait to try this , i will be making for sure for my grow kids , i had talked to them about this cake for years. My daughter and her husband live in Australia and will be with me next December for the holiday’s , so there will be lots of great occasions and this is just what i was looking for. Looking at the ingredients and the pictures perfect !!! I am already a fan. Thanks for doing this.

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Lisa Graepel May 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I made this recipe last night and it tastes EXACTLY like the A&P cake that I remember from my childhood. My husband agreed. His mother used to bring it home as well. The only thing I would do differently, would be to make the cake in loaf pans, cut them in half and front the middle. The icing recipe made way too much for a 9 X 13 pan, in my opinion. I loved it!!!

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Bonnie May 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm

This was the closest recipe that I found to the original but wasn’t quite it. I upped the cocoa to 4Tbs, and added a tsp of ginger, and it was perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

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cheryl ames June 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Spanish Bar Cake THIS IS THE ORIGINAL, IT DID NOT HAVE COCOA OR APPLESAUCE IN IT

4 cups water
2 cups raisins
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
Buttercream Frosting (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 13- by 9-inch baking pans. Set aside.

Combine the water and raisins in a saucepan, heat to boiling and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shortening, then allow the mixture to cool.

Meanwhile, into a bowl, sift the sugar, soda, flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Add the cooled raisin mixture, then blend well. Add the eggs and stir well.

Turn into the prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks. If desired, ice with Buttercream Frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

1 pound confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 tablespoons milk, more if needed
In a large bowl, beat together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk until smooth. If necessary, add more milk until the frosting is of spreading consistency. will frost a 2-layer cake, 13 x 9 cake or 2 doz cupcakes.

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Julie Ruble June 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Hi Cheryl, I was under the impression no one had the original. Where’d you get this? Thanks for sharing.

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Marge Larson June 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I made this recipe in two 7×11 pans and baked for 25 minutes. The layer size was perfect. I brought it to my parents for Father’s Day. My Dad took one bite and said to my Mom, “This tastes like the cake you used to buy at A & P.” Success!!

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