Apricot Mud Hen Cake Bars

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling


24 servings

Updated: Jun. 08, 2023
These mud hen bars have been in my family for generations. My maternal grandmother gave this recipe to my mother, who shared it with me. I’ve been told the name comes from the speckled meringue topping that resembles the coloring of hens. —Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New York


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup apricot preserves


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour and salt; beat into creamed mixture. Spread into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 12-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile for meringue, with clean beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form; gently fold in pecans.
  3. Spread preserves over hot cake. Spread meringue over preserves, sealing meringue to edges of pan. Bake until meringue is golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

Test Kitchen tip
  • Raspberry, peach or other preserves may be used in place of apricot.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 piece: 163 calories, 9g fat (4g saturated fat), 31mg cholesterol, 69mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.