Do you remember A&P Grocery Stores? I remember going to one of the last A&P's in Rhode Island quite a long time again. For those of you who are not familiar with A&P….
The Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) began back in 1859 in New York City, and quickly made a name for itself as an innovator and leader in the grocery industry. Before long, the company even began making its own brand of products, including the beloved Spanish Bar Cake. By the 1930s, there were over 16,000 A&P stores across the country. Sadly, in the 1950’s, A&P lost ground to newer, more modern stores. I'm not sure if there are any A& stores still left operating in the United States, but I'll always have memories of shopping at them when I was little.
I saw this cake on Pinterest and some kind of light bulb went off. I remember this cake. I don't remember eating it or what it tasted like, heck I don't even know if I tasted it, but this cake was familiar to me, so I called my Mom and as soon as I said “do you remember a cake from A&P called Spanish Bar Cake?” she immediately remembered and told me that my great grandparents bought it often from the local A&P. Ah ha!
She said it had raisins and was cut lengthwise and had a buttercream frosting on it decorated with lines running over the top. BINGO! This was the cake! Mom said “oh wow you just took me on a trip down memory lane”. Well, isn't that what the best desserts will do?
So I give you A&P's famous Spanish Bar Cake. Think Spice Cake with raisins layered in between buttercream frosting. Bake yourself up a memory!
Spanish Bar Cake
Adapted from a recipe at Baking Blond
In a bowl whisk together:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs (room temp)
1 1/2 cups raisins (plump in hot water for 15 minutes and drain before adding)
For the Buttercream Frosting:
1 stick butter, room temperature
5 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with baking spray.
Whisk first 10 ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in oil, applesauce and eggs, mix well. Add raisins, stir just until combined. Bake at for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center tests clean. Cool completely before spreading with a butter cream frosting.
For the buttercream frosting:
Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the confectioner sugar one cup at a time. Add in the vanilla and milk.
Note: If you would like to make the cake like the original Spanish Bar Cake, cut the cake length ways into two halves. Spread the frosting between the layers and on top. Use a fork to make the lines on the top.