1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan with vegetable spray or solid shortening. Line with baking parchment, and coat parchment with spray or solid shortening; then dust with flour and tap out excess flour. Remove 8 to 10 nice walnut halves and reserve for garnish.
2. Combine remaining nuts with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and cornstarch in a food processor and pulse until nuts are very finely chopped. Toss mixture in a bowl with bread crumbs and salt.
3. In large bowl of an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, whip 6 egg whites until foamy (reserve yolks). Slowly add 1/4 cup of the sugar, whipping until whites just form stiff peaks. Scrape whites out into another bowl and set aside (don't worry, the whites won't deflate). Return unwashed beater and bowl to mixer stand.
4. In same bowl, whip together 6 yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until thick and very pale in color. This can take 3 to 5 minutes or longer, depending upon type of mixer used. Beat in cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and almond extract.
5. With a rubber spatula, stir about 1 cup whipped whites into yolk batter to lighten it, then alternately fold in remaining whites and nut-crumb mixture in four or five additions, using a light touch to maintain batter volume. Scoop batter into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake about 12 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a cake tester in the center comes out clean. Cool pan on wire rack.
6. While cake is baking, place an 18-inch piece of waxed paper or baking parchment on counter. As soon as cake pan is cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes), invert cake onto parchment and peel off paper stuck to back of cake. Let cake cool, and then cut it crosswise into four equal strips, each about 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide by about 10 inches long. Cool strips completely.
7. To assemble cake, place one cake strip on an oblong serving platter. Spread on about 1/3 cup apricot preserves. Repeat for two more layers. On top, place last layer with smoother side facing up. Press gently to shape the cake and even all edges.
8. Just before serving, whip cream with confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Place small dollops of whipped cream along center of cake and decorate with apricot quarters and reserved walnut halves.
Cook's tip: Elegant but easy, this glamorous bar-shaped cake is a holiday hit.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, November - December 2006