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Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced Pumpkin Bars are topped with cream cheese frosting to create the perfect Fall dessert.

Side view of a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting with a bite taken out of it

Hello, November!

I can’t believe I am admitting this publicly, but I am sitting at my kitchen island with the smell of banana bread wafting through the air while I’m completely surrounded by Christmas bins.

Yep, we’ve started decorating for Christmas. Now before you tell me I’ve skipped Thanksgiving, or I’m all kinds of ridiculous, hear me out.

We’re actually leaving for vacation this month and I have zero desire to rush around trying to get the house ready once we’re back, so we’re those people with a leg lamp in our front window on November 4th.

I promise, I’m not going to bombard you with peppermint and cookie recipes just yet because I’ve got a few more pumpkin recipes on my agenda just like these delish pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting!

Pumpkin bars topped with cream cheese frosting, sliced and arranged on a countertop

EASY PUMPKIN BARS WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

I love these Pumpkin Bars for so many reasons – first of all, there’s pumpkin involved.

I mean, you all know by now that pumpkin recipes are my jam. And I’m fairly certain I could eat a piece of notebook paper if it had enough cream cheese frosting on it.

Batter for pumpkin bars in a glass mixing bowl

Combined, they’re the perfect way to please a crowd of party-goers, end a day of fall activities, eat your feelings…whatever strikes your fancy.

There are not a lot of things in life that define fall more for me than the combination of pumpkin and cream cheese. It’s a favorite in my pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, and pumpkin brownies.

In these Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, the tangy frosting is the perfect accompaniment to the moist pumpkin cake base.

Baked pumpkin bars in a parchment-lined jelly roll pan

The cake is made using oil instead of butter, so you can whisk everything together pretty quickly. It’ll go faster if you use an electric mixer, but it’s definitely not required for the cake itself!

Once the bars are baked and have cooled, all you have to do is whip up a simple cream cheese frosting to spread on top. Since you leave the bars in the pan to frost them, you don’t have to worry about frosting the sides or even making the top super smooth.

If you’re feeling fancy, you could even sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice on top of the cream cheese frosting for decoration.

Frosted pumpkin bar with a bite taken out of it next to a fork on a white countertop

HOW TO FREEZE PUMPKIN BARS

This recipe makes a lot of bars, so they’re also perfect for any upcoming holiday function or potluck.

But you want to make some just for yourself, you can freeze these Pumpkin Bars for later.

Frosted pumpkin bars sliced and arranged on a white countertop

Just place the bars in an airtight container. If you need to stack the bars, be sure to separate the layers with parchment paper.

To thaw, pull out as many Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting as you like and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Overhead view of a fork with a bite of pumpkin bar on it, next to a sliced pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting

Because let’s be honest. Having Pumpkin Bars in the freezer, ready to snack on any time is about the best move I can think of.

Frosted and sliced pumpkin bars scattered on a white countertop, one with a bite taken out of it

Side view of a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting with a bite taken out of it

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Spiced Pumpkin Bars are topped with cream cheese frosting to create the perfect Fall dessert.

Ingredients

For the Bars

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon homemade pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350&degF. Line a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, pumpkin and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined.

3. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow pumpkin bars to cool completely before frosting.

4. When pumpkin bars are completely cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Turn speed down to low and gradually add in confectioners' sugar until incorporated. Turn speed back to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes. Use an offset spatula to frost the pumpkin bars.

Notes

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting can be stored in an airtight container within the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 24 Serving Size 1 bar
Amount Per Serving Calories 278Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 46mgSodium 225mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 1gSugar 24gProtein 3g

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Terry

Saturday 21st of November 2015

Have you ever frozen these after frosting/cutting?  Did it work out?

Jamie

Monday 23rd of November 2015

I have tried this, Terry. Sorry I am not more of a help.

ck

Monday 19th of October 2015

how is this a bar? it appears to be more like a cake. 

Jessica

Monday 1st of December 2014

Hi Jamie, the recipe looks great! I'd love to make this but I don't have a jelly roll pan and would hate to go out and buy one just for one recipe. What would the bake temp and time be for 9 inch rounds / 9x13 pan / cupcakes / or jumbo muffins? Those are my current options.

Thanks! Jessica

Jamie

Tuesday 2nd of December 2014

Jessica- You could bake them in any of those pans, I would start checking at about 18 minutes but depending on which pan it could take a little longer. You can check it by inserting a wooden pick until it comes out clean. I hope this helps.

-Jamie

Teresha

Monday 1st of December 2014

Just made these for Thanksgiving and it's more a cake than bars, they are very light and fluffy and entirely fine on their own, no need for the frosting which was frankly sickly sweet (even though I seriously cut the sugar). I will certainly cook this again and have been asked for the recipe but I'll do it as a round cake next time and either use lemon/orange cream cheese frosting with far less sugar or omit the frosting altogether.

Jamie

Monday 1st of December 2014

Teresha- I'm sorry to hear that you didn't care for the frosting. I am glad that you will be making the bars again as a cake. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

Kirsten

Wednesday 22nd of October 2014

Would these work as cupcakes? I wouldn't get the height of a normal cupcake but would that small size dry out fast while baking?

Jamie

Wednesday 22nd of October 2014

Kirsten- I haven't tried these bars as cupcakes, so I can't really tell you whether it would work or not. My guess is that they might be be a little dry. Thanks for stopping by. -Jamie

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