I absolutely adore these scrumptious Pumpkin Bars, a delicious fusion of a moist, spicy pumpkin sheet cake topped with a swirl of fluffy cream cheese frosting. Your tastebuds are in for a real treat!
As Fall gets underway, a pumpkiny, cinnamony treat feels right, doesn’t it? And these pumpkin bars totally fit the bill, whether you want to serve them as a snack or need a sweet bite after dinner. These easy pumpkin bars are a richly flavored sheet cake, generously topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting, and are full of Fall flavor with a moist texture. Everything about this recipe is simple, but the result is incredible!
Why This Recipe Works
- Perfectly Moist: The pumpkin bars are moist and tender because of the pumpkin puree and the vegetable oil in the cake.
- Spiced for Fall: The blend of spices hit the spot with a warm and cozy taste.
- Sweet Frosting: The fluffy cream cheese frosting adds sweetness to the spiced cake and adds creaminess to the texture.
Pumpkin Bars Ingredients
- For The Cake: all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon cloves, nutmeg, eggs, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and pure vanilla extract.
- For The Frosting: cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars
- Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Add the Wet Ingredients: Using a spoon, stir the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla into the flour mixture until incorporated. Pour the batter into a buttered 15×10-inch baking dish and spread it evenly.
- Bake, Cool, and Frost: Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for two hours on a rack before frosting.
- Make Frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Then beat in the powdered sugar, a little at a time until you’ve reached desired consistency and sweetness.
- Add the frosting over the cake, cut it into bars, and enjoy!
Tips for Success
- Softened Butter and Cream Cheese: Be sure to use room-temperature softened butter and cream cheese to avoid lumps in your frosting and to ensure a smooth texture. It’s a small step that makes a big difference.
- Substitutions: You can tweak this recipe – make it gluten-free for instance or change the sweeteners – but know that it will change the taste and texture.
- Cool It: Cool the cake thoroughly before adding the frosting. The cream cheese frosting is very delicate and may melt if the bars are warmer than room temperature.
- Chocolate: Garnish with chocolate shavings on top, or add chocolate chips to the batter. Chopped pecans are also welcome.
- What goes with pumpkin bars? I love a good Iced Mocha Coffee or a hot cup of tea with these.
How To Make Pumpkin Bars In Advance
Make the pumpkin bars as directed, then store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for 3 to 4 days.
How to Store
- Leftovers can be stored in airtight containers and kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
- You can freeze the bars, but don’t add the frosting until after you defrost them. Once they’re baked and cooled, wrap them first in cling film and then in foil and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw them out in the fridge overnight.
More Pumpkin Recipes
For the Bars
For the Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 to 6 cups powdered sugar
For The Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly butter a 9×13 or 15×10 inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves, and nutmeg; whisk until well combined.
- Using a spoon, stir in the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish; spread evenly.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and transfer the pan to a wire rack; cool in pan for 2 hours.
- Spread the prepared cream cheese frosting on top.
- Cut into bars and serve.
- Cover leftovers and keep refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.
For The Frosting:
- While the pumpkin cake is cooling, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl; using an electric mixer set on medium, beat until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar, little by little, and beat until incorporated. Start with 4 cups, and if the consistency is too thin, add more sugar until you’ve reached the desired consistency and sweetness.
- Softened Butter and Cream Cheese: When making this recipe, it’s important to use butter and cream cheese that have been softened to room temperature. If they’re too cold, you will end up with lumpy frosting that doesn’t have the perfect, smooth texture we’re aiming for. So, give these ingredients some time out of the fridge before you start baking. Trust me, it makes all the difference!
- Swaps: Feel free to play around with the recipe, like switching it to gluten-free or trying different sweeteners. Just a heads up, though – it might mix things up in terms of flavor and texture.
- Cooling: Make sure that the cake is completely cool before adding cream cheese frosting.
- Chocolate and Nuts: Sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top for an extra treat, or toss in some chocolate chips when mixing the batter. Add chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts, to the batter for a bit of a crunch.
- Storing: Keep the bars in the refrigerator, covered in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.