Old Jew Cake

We served these bar cookies at a large party. Over the next few days we received several requests for this recipe, and all the callers had two things in common: they were over 45 and Jewish. We renamed the recipe shortly thereafter. But what age is “old” these days, anyway?
Makes 20 bars
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1 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup packed almond paste (about 3 ounces)

5 eggs

1/2 pound (2 sticks) margarine

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1/4 cup milk

11/2 teaspoon almond extract

13/4 cups finely chopped unblanched almonds (see tips)

1 cup yellow cake crumbs (see tips)

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Powdered sugar

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 101/2– by 151/2– by 1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan) with heavy aluminum foil, letting the foil extend over the edges of the pan. (If you don’t have a pan that size, you might have to adjust the baking time: I have made this in a 9 x 13 x 1 inch pan successfully.) Grease the foil by ATTNputting a pat of margarine on the pan and placing the pan in the warm oven for 30 seconds, and brushing the softened margarine around.

Sift together and set aside.

  • 1 cup cake flour (or 1 cup less 2 tablespoons of sifted all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Whip together to form soft peaks

  • 3 egg whites (reserve yolks for next step)

Reduce the speed to medium and slowly beat in

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Reserve egg whites for use at end of recipe.

In the mixer beat on medium speed until blended smoothly, about one minute

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed almond paste (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 egg

Add and mix until blended, about one minute

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold or slightly softened margarine, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Add, one at a time

  • 1 egg (yes, the remaining whole egg)
  • 3 egg yolks (reserved above)

Beat for one minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl during the process. Decrease the speed to low and add

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 11/2 teaspoons almond extract

The mixture may look curdled: fear not. Add

  • 11/4 cups finely chopped unblanched almonds
  • 1 cup yellow cake crumbs (see note below)

Also add the flour mixture, and mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter looks smooth. ATTNDo not overbeat.

Using a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the almond batter, working just until no white streaks remain. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes.

Cool thoroughly in the pan. Use the overhanging edges of aluminum foil to lift the bars out of the pan, then peel the foil away from the sides. Invert the bars onto the back of the baking pan and remove the foil carefully. With the bottom side up and the long side facing you, cut the bars in half. You will have two pieces measuring about 10 by 71/2 inches each. Spread one piece with

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

Use the removable bottom of a tart pan to invert the remaining piece and slide it, top side up, on top of the jam-covered layer. Spread

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

over the top. Sprinkle with

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped unblanched almonds

evenly over the top and dust the top with

  • powdered sugar

You will have one double-layered piece measuring about 10 by 71/2 inches. To cut into 20 pieces, cut four rows the long way and five rows across. This makes 20 bars, 2 by 11/2 inches.

ATTNYou can process the almonds in the food processor until some are ground but larger pieces up to 1/4 inch in size remain. A combination of ground and finely chopped almonds gives the best results.

ATTNGrate 1/3 of a Sara Lee or other commercial pound cake to make 1 cup of cake crumbs.

You can also assemble this as a single-layer cake. Either way, ATTNthe top layer looks best if you put the nuts on 6 hours or less before serving. The cake keeps up to a week in a cool kitchen, but it won’t sit around that long.

Adapted from 125 Cookies to Bake, Nibble and Savor by Elinor Klivans

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