The real A&P Spanish Bar Cake

The ORIGINAL Recipe Jane Parker Spanish Bar Cake (and famous JP Fruitcakes) Are Back – and Here’s How You Can Get Them!

buy original recipe Spanish Bar Cakes
Buy the ORIGINAL RECIPE Spanish Bar Cake online from JaneParker.com

Disclosure: I am a member of the affiliate program of Janeparker.com. If you purchase something through a link from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation at no extra cost to you. The views and opinions on any products expressed here are strictly my own.


One of my most popular posts is the one for my version of the famous Jane Parker Spanish Bar Cake found in the well-known A&P chain grocery stores for decades.

Generations of us grew up with this familiar snack cake bought on a regular basis by families during the weekly trip to the A&P to get “the store order”, as we called it here in The Coal Region.

When the A&P stores started disappearing from the landscape, many of their well-known brands and items disappeared, too.

At the time I authored the post on my version of the Spanish Bar Cake, my research had uncovered that some A&P/Jane Parker recipes had been bought at an auction in 2017, including the famous Jane Parker fruitcakes but the original Spanish Bar Cake was not among them.

I was never expecting the surprise of receiving an email from the current owners of the Jane Parker brand who had seen my post. They informed me that, in fact, the original Jane Parker Spanish Bar Cake was once again being produced and was available for on-line ordering.

Alex Ronacher, co-owner of Jane Parker along with his brother Chris, graciously offered to speak with me and share some history on the brand, products, and availability of the original Spanish Bar Cake along with the famous Jane Parker fruitcakes,

I thank them for this opportunity to gain some “insider knowledge” and am happy to be able to share it with my readers here on A Coalcracker In The Kitchen’s blog.


The change in the landscape

At one time, with over 16,000 stores, A&P was the largest baker in America operating 37 of their own bakeries. A leader in the modern grocery store concept in the 1930’s, the chain suffered later on from competition and changes in the industry and by 1982 had closed their bakery division.

A&P also began closing stores across the country as their business declined. Some products, including the fruitcakes, were later produced in Canada and available in the remaining stores, seasonally in specialty shops, or on-line until 2015. Following the final closing and sale of the remaining stores, the Jane Parker Fruit Cakes were no longer available. 

Enter the Ronacher brothers

In 2017, the rights and recipes from A&P for some Jane Parker products were up for auction. Brothers Alex and Chris Ronacher, New York City, had previously sold Jane Parker fruitcakes online through their specialty candy store during the years that the cakes were still in production. Seizing an opportunity, they purchased the recipes and set about making plans to have the cakes produced themselves under the Jane Parker brand that they now owned.

Production was lined up with the previous Canadian baker, the “i’s” were dotted, the “t’s” crossed and the Ronachers were all set to bring back the beloved Jane Parker Fruitcake to the thousands of fans who were clamoring for it when they received some news that created an unexpected hurdle — the Canadian baker was no longer going to bake the cakes.

Jane Parker Original Fruitcake, 16 ounce in holiday tin
Photo from Jane Parker

When one door closes

Determined to forge ahead and clear this unexpected hurdle, the brothers took to the phones and started to contact bakeries across the US in search of one who would help them resurrect the popular Jane Parker fruitcakes.

After reaching out to several bakeries, the Ronachers were able to secure a baker in the heartland of the US who could produce the products. After successfully relaunching the fruit cakes, the company started receiving requests from customers regarding a product that the brothers had been unaware of — the Spanish Bar Cake.

The Ronachers researched the bar cake and learned that it had been a popular, everyday item for the A&P / Jane Parker product line. Unfortunately, the recipe for the beloved cake was not included in the recipes the brothers had obtained.

Meanwhile, Chris Ronacher had started looking for additional contract bakeries to produce other high quality items for the new Jane Parker and happened upon what turned out to be a very fortuitous moment during a call to one of those bakeries.

Chris lamented to his contact at the bakery that, although they had the original recipes for the fruitcakes, the purchase from A&P did not include the recipe to produce the famous Spanish Bar Cake which was being frequently requested by customers.

A pleasant surprise

As Chris tells me, “There was complete silence. I mean complete. I thought to myself, ‘Did I say something wrong?’ It lasted a long time. Finally, the voice on the other end said, ‘I think I have that. We used to bake the Spanish Bar Cake for A&P.”

Sure enough, the bakery did have the original recipe. The owner came back to the Ronachers and said, “I have it. It’s in my hands right now, printed out on that computer paper with the holes down the side.” (That paper he referenced is from “the old days” — aka 1980’s — when dot matrix printers were the office norm. The printers used a continuous feed paper with tear-off edges.)

“Tractor-feed” computer paper

Back on track

It was now full speed ahead on not only the fruitcakes, but the highly requested Spanish Bar Cake — made once again in the USA!

The original recipe Jane Parker Spanish Bar Cake can now be purchased on-line at Janeparker.com. The cakes are currently baked in small batches and you may order anytime.

buy original recipe Spanish Bar Cakes
Buy the ORIGINAL RECIPE Spanish Bar Cake or Fruitcakes online from JaneParker.com

Also available online are the original recipe Jane Parker fruitcakes in assorted styles (including light, dark, and bourbon and rum) and several sizes, some available in collector tins.

Some changes needed to be made; the new bakery did not have the same size pans as those in which the cakes were originally baked, but these are otherwise the same, original recipe Jane Parker Fruitcakes we grew up with.

Disclosure: I am a member of the affiliate program of Janeparker.com. If you purchase something through a link from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation at no extra cost to you. The views and opinions on any products expressed here are strictly my own.

Janeparker.com currently offers the following products. They can be ordered online at JaneParker.com:


Jane Parker Original Recipe Spanish Bar Cake and 16 ounce loaf Original Recipe Fruitcakes review

Full disclosure: The following is a review of products I received, at no cost to myself, from Janeparker.com. Any opinions expressed within the review are strictly my own honest opinions and are not influenced in any way by Janeparker.com or any other party.

As I opened my shipment from Jane Parker, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the items weathered shipping. The fruitcakes are packed in a clear inner wrapper then nestled snugly in their own boxes. The Spanish Bar Cake was enclosed in a shipping container designed to keep it cool accompanied by two cold packs that were still partially frozen upon arrival.

The original Jane Parker Spanish Bar Cake

Having had my fair share of Jane Parker Spanish Bar Cakes during my childhood in The Coal Region, the first thing that struck me was the cake was enclosed in a sturdy clear clam shell container — not simply wrapped in cellophane as were the Spanish Bar Cakes of old.

As I raised the lid of the container, the pleasant scent of warm spices and vanilla drifted out to meet me. The familiar two layers of cake and frosting, complete with the decorative striping of the frosting, were like seeing a long-lost friend.

With barely enough discipline to stop to take a photo, I lopped off a slice, grabbed a fork, and took a bite. The not-too-sweet cake has a pleasant blend of spices, none of which overwhelm the others, but all of which come together nicely to create the taste I remember (this IS the original recipe, after all).

Studded with raisin pieces, the cake is nicely moist without being sticky or heavy. Two layers of sweet, vanilla frosting add just the right complimentary touch to the nicely spiced cake (and those signature “stripes” are still there!).

The once-again-available original recipe Jane Parker Spanish Bar Cake took me right back to my family’s little Coal Region kitchen so many years ago; Mom unpacking the weekly “store order” from the A&P, while my Pop would sneak away with the Spanish Bar Cake, unwrap it, cut off a big slice, and disappear into “the parlor” to enjoy his treat uninterrupted.

If you want to re-introduce your taste buds to this classic treat created from the original recipe and baked in the USA, here’s your opportunity!


The original Jane Parker Fruitcakes

As I opened the boxes of the 16 ounce fruitcakes, the first thing I observed was that the top surface shouldered a thick layer of pecan pieces. Each fruitcake is wrapped in a clear, stay-fresh wrapper inside the box.

Upon opening the wrapper, the first thing that immediately came to my attention was that I could feel the cake’s moistness.

Along with the carpet of pecans, large maraschino cherries studded the top of the fruitcake. Slicing into the fruitcake revealed a plethora of plump and tender fruits, including sweet, juicy raisins and even more cherries.

I found the Jane Parker fruitcake to be a pleasant level of sweetness, moisture, and spice. The “cake” portion serves as a wonderful vehicle to hold together the many fruits inside. And, the fruitcakes, like The Spanish Bar Cake, are created from the original Jane Parker/A&P recipe!

Today’s Jane Parker fruitcakes are perfect for those who enjoy a walk down memory lane and a moist, tender, enjoyable fruitcake.

1948 A&P Jane Parker Fruitcake ad
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