One of my all time favourite bakes, this easy almond slice recipe features a crisp pastry base, raspberry jam layer, and is topped with a soft almond frangipane topping. Perfect for afternoon tea, picnics, and bake sales, it is a favourite with young and old.
As I published my bakewell blondie recipe, inspired by the bakewell slice and with very similar flavours to this almond traybake slice, I realised I hadn’t shared one of my childhood favourite cakes! The almond slice was always my choice of cake when out for afternoon tea with my mum and grandmother. Even overtaking a brownie or chocolate cake. Sweet from almonds and raspberry jam, with a topping of crunchy flaked almonds, this almond traybake is an almond lovers dream! (If you have memories of this childhood cake, you may also remember school cake with its colourful sprinkles.)
Why we love this recipe
- A thin layer of crispy sweet pastry, generous layer of jam topped with a soft and moist almond sponge layer make this almond slice look impressive, but it is actually easy to make (and you don’t need to be too neat for it to still look great 😉 )
- The slice travels well, making it a popular recipe for picnics and bake sales.
- The four ingredient pastry recipe is made with icing sugar, which not only provides a hint of sweetness but gives the pastry a nice crunch.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
- Pastry – the simple pastry base is made from non salted butter, plain flour and icing sugar (confectioners sugar). If you don’t like making pastry then you could use bought shortcrust pastry instead. I encourage you to make it yourself for that lovely crisp texture!
- Ground almonds – also known as almond meal or almond flour. Use bleached almond flour.
- Jam – raspberry jam is traditionally used in this slice recipe. However you can use strawberry jam, or blackberry jam, peach jam, apricot jam, plum jam… they all go so well!
- Margarine – I have used margarine in the almond sponge, as a nod back to this being some thing of a retro cake. You can use unsalted butter instead if you prefer.
- Caster sugar – superfine sugar. These smaller sugar crystals help make a finer textured sponge. If you don’t have caster sugar you can use white sugar / granulated sugar but be aware the sponge texture may not be the same.
- Almond essence – almond essence, for me, makes this a true almond bakewell slice. It adds a sweet strong hint of almond that makes the sponge taste like the ones in the cafes and coffee shops. If however you are not a fan of almond essence, leave it out.
- Flaked almonds – flaked almonds add a delicious crunch and extra almond flavour as they become toasted as the slice cooks in the oven, however you can top the slice with nibbed almonds, or bake the slice without any almonds on top.
How to make this recipe
- Make the pastry: Mix flour and icing sugar together in a medium bowl, then grate in the chilled butter.
- Mix the butter in to the flour lightly with your finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add cold water and mix to form a dough. Knead lightly, then cover in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out in between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper / baking parchment.
- Carefully place the rolled out pastry in to the lined tin, using any leftover pastry scraps to fill any holes (this will be covered by the almond sponge so it doesn’t matter if it’s not super neat.) Place in a preheated oven for 7-10 minutes until lightly golden.
- To make the almond sponge: Beat the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Whisk the eggs with the almond essence then add them to the flour and mix well to combine.
- Spread the raspberry jam out in an even layer over the cooked pastry.
- Spoon the almond sponge on to the jam and gently spread out in an even layer with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and place in to the oven to bake.
Frangipane is a type of pastry cream used in pies, tarts and galettes, whereas marzipan is a sweet paste that can be moulded into figures and decorations, and enjoyed as a sweet, on its own or dipped in chocolate.
Whilst both Bakewell and frangipane are flavoured with almonds, Bakwell is the name given to a British dessert/sweet recipe made from pastry and jam, whereas frangipane, from the Italian frangipani, is a type of pastry cream used as an ingredient in making many desserts and baked goods, many of them French in origin.
Yes, frangipane usually contains a small amount of flour.
My recipe tips
- Make the pastry using butter straight from the fridge, and grate the butter straight into the flour with a coarse grater. This helps keep it as cold as possible, which is good for making crisp pastry.
- The pastry for this almond jam tart is thin and fragile – the best way to roll it out without sticking is between two sheets of baking paper. If you prefer you can roll it out and then press it in to the lined tin with your fingers.
- Cook the pastry until lightly golden as this will provide a slightly crunchy base. If you undercook the pastry it can become soggy when you add the jam and sponge.
- Wait until the slice is cold before you cut it, otherwise it can be crumbly. If you want a very clean slice, use a sharp knife – this will make it easier to cut through the flaked almonds.
- Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Freeze. You can freeze this traybake, cool completely then wrap the slice well (either whole or in individual slices) and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature
- Jam – you can adjust the jam to suit your tastes, strawberry, cherry, blackberry and apricot jam would all work well.
- Chocolate – add a layer of Nutella or other chocolate spread in place of the jam, or drizzle some melted chocolate over the top of the slice once cold.
More almond recipes
- 20 x20 cm (8" x 8") square tin
- 100g (½c + ⅙c) plain flour
- 50g (1.7oz) butter cold
- 15g (⅛c) icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1½-2 tablespoons cold water
- 100g (3.5oz) margarine or unsalted butter
- 100g (⅓c + 1½ tablespoons) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 100g (1c) ground almonds (almond flour, almond meal)
- 40g (¼c) plain flour
- 2 eggs size L
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon almond essence
- 5 tablespoons raspberry jam
- 30g flaked almonds
Make the pastry
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour with icing sugar.
- Grate in the cold butter.
- Gently rub the butter in to the flour with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add 1½ tablespoons of cold water and mix, if the pastry seems a little dry add a little more water. Bring together and gently knead for a minute until it becomes smooth.
- Roll in to a ball, wrap in cling film / cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C fan / 220˚C / 392˚F convection / 428˚F
- Line a 20cm x 20cm (8" x 8") square tin with baking paper / baking parchment.
- Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper lightly dusted with flour (the pastry can be delicate and can stick to a work surface).
- Carefully lift up the rolled out pastry with the bottom sheet of baking parchemnt and then flip upside down and lay it over the lined tin, trimming any excess and patching up any gaps as needed.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for 7-10 minutes until the pastry is light golden.
- Take the tin out of the oven and place on rack / heat proof surface to cool slightly.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 170˚C fan / 190˚C / 338˚F convection / 374˚F
Make the frangipane sponge
- Beat the margarine and sugar together with a spoon until light and fluffy
- Add the ground almonds / almond meal, flour, and baking powder.
- Whisk the eggs and almond essence together with a fork then add to the flour and margarine and mix with a spoon to combine.
- Spoon the jam over the slightly cooled pastry base and spread out in an even layer.
- Spoon the almond sponge over the jam and then smooth out with the back of a spoon.
- Sprinkle with flaked almonds then place in to the cooler oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden on top and a skewer insterted in to the sponge comes out clean.
- Cool completely in the tin.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 months.