They say pumpkin is an autumn thing, but for some reason, the craving I have for this flavor only increases when autumn has passed and left the room for winter. However, I’m not talking about pumpkin coffee, but pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.
- 1 What are Pumpkin Bars?
- 2 Ingredients for Pumpkin Bars
- 3 Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 Steps to Perfect Pumpkin Bars
- 5 Pumpkin Bars Expert Tips
- 6 FAQs about Pumpkin Bars
- 7 Best Dessert Recipes for You
- 8 Pumpkin Bars and Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
What are Pumpkin Bars?
Many people would say pumpkin bars are pumpkin cake baked in rectangular molds, and I’m not totally against them. But are pumpkin cake and pumpkin bars the same?
If you have two distinct recipes for similar weight of products, the pumpkin bars recipe should have less baking powder and fewer eggs, because they are the main source of cakiness and softness in a pumpkin cake. Therefore, they basically taste the same, but the feelings are different.
Besides the amazing taste, I also love pumpkin for the health benefits it brings. (1)
- Rich contents of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin A, which protect your eyesight.
- Low calorie and nutrient density that aid in weight loss.
- Antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer and chronic diseases.
- Pumpkin is packed with compounds that are beneficial for your skin.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Bars
- Pumpkin puree: Pick a ripe pumpkin that will be softened when boiled so you can get a smooth puree.
- Wet ingredients: Vegetable oil and eggs will easily bind the dry ingredients together.
- Dry ingredients: flour, baking soda & powder, sugar, cinnamon, and salt will give the pumpkin bars a perfect texture if you measure them right. You can use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, but the moisture won’t be as much.
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream cheese: I recommend full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. The cream spread will be rather soggy after you mix it with other ingredients.
- Butter & Milk: They provide the frosting with enough fats to be creamy and tender.
- Sugar & Vanilla extract: The frosting won’t be delicious if it’s not sweet and scented!
To save some time, get store-bought frosting. It won’t be the same with the homemade cheese cream, but it is good enough!
Steps to Perfect Pumpkin Bars
1. Prepare the batter. You will mix pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil first before adding the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder).
2. Mold and bake. Grease a baking tray or pan and mold the dough before baking it as directed in the recipe. Keep the height of the batter between 2 – 3 centimeters to achieve the thinness of pumpkin bars.
3. Mix the frosting. The main supply is cream cheese, flavored by butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
4. Decorate. Frost the bars and slice them to your desired size.
Pumpkin Bars Expert Tips
- Wrap the mashed pumpkin in paper towels will remove unwanted moisture and give the pumpkin bars that consistency.
- There might be little lumps in the batter, and you shouldn’t stress yourself over something completely normal. Overmixing the ingredients might result in a tough dough.
- Since it’s technically a cake, you can test doneness by pricking the center with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean, or tapping it with your finger to see if it springs back.
- Even though we have such an irresistible topping with cream cheese, we can still be greedy and top these pumpkin bars with more flavorings like confectioners’ sugar and some garnishes. Furthermore, spicing your frosting directly with cinnamon or pumpkin spice will give you an interesting twist too.
- The basic sponge and the versatile frosting allow us to have many variations. You can add some nuts or chocolate chips to the batter and sprinkle the top with candies, pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon.
FAQs about Pumpkin Bars
Can I make pumpkin bars ahead?
After baking the bars, give them some time to cool before putting them in a specialty container or covering them with cling film for freezing in the refrigerator. Frozen bars will last up to 3 months. When you need some pumpkin bars, thaw them overnight and bring them to room temperature, then prepare the frosting.
Does pumpkin spice work?
If you are into a stronger flavor, try a homemade spice with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, ginger, and clove each.
Do I need to refrigerate pumpkin bars?
If there is any leftover (I doubt you would be able to resist these bars, but still!), you need to put it in the fridge, because the cooked eggs in the recipe won’t survive room temperature.
Best Dessert Recipes for You
- Homemade Hot Chocolate & Dalgona Coffee
- Cream Buns (no oven)
- Apple Yogurt Cake
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Orange Drizzle Cake
You should definitely try one of those recipes, but let’s focus on acing the pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting first!
Pumpkin Bars and Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Pumpkin bars need to be soft yet sturdy instead of spongy and cakey, and this recipe will help you achieve the most incredible bars with cream cheese on top.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- 210g pumpkin puree
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 170g sugar (granulated)
- 140g flour (all-purpose, enriched)
- 2g salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
Cream cheese frosting:
- 86g cream cheese
- 200g sugar (granulated)
- 30g butter (unsalted)
- 15ml milk (whole, unsweetened)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Part 1: Pumpkin Bars
- Remove the pumpkin peel and seeds thoroughly before cutting into smaller pieces. Let the boiling water cook them until soft and mash them for the puree.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk vegetable oil with 2 eggs, sugar, and the pumpkin puree until they form a smooth yellow substance with bubbles.
- Get another bowl to toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Slowly add this mixture to the liquid part and use a mixer to blend the ingredients. Don’t dump everything together in one go, for it will only be more difficult for your batter to come together.
- Grease your baking pan and pour the dough into the mold, baking it at 180oC in 30 minutes. We will move to the next step while waiting for it.
Part 2: Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl, put in cream cheese cubes, sugar, butter. Use the whisker(s) of the mixer to soften the cold fats before turning the motor on and blending the dry supplies.
- Dilute the thick cream with milk and flavor it with vanilla extract before you continue with the mixing. The color will change from soft yellow to creamy white.
Part 3: Decorating & serving
- If your baking pan isn’t like mine, use a thin knife or spatula to separate the baked sponge from the walls (be careful!) and place it on a cutting board for easier slicing.
- Let the bars cool a little before spreading the frosting and refrigerating the treat in 30 minutes for the cream to set, so you can cut the baked good more easily.
- Since I have a round pan, I need to trim the edge a bit to obtain a rectangle that I can divide into neat bars. A rectangular tray will make the task much simpler for you.
- Although I prefer homemade puree for a totally healthy, preservative-free dessert, canned pumpkin puree works just fine for this recipe. In fact, it has a pleasant flavor as well.
- If the amount of oil intimidates you, try half applesauce and half oil, they provide enough moisture. I recommend vegetable oil and coconut oil, as they function well under high temperatures and have no strange smell.
- Lining the baking pan with parchment paper is another brilliant way to prevent sticking and make it easier to remove the whole bars.
- Serving Size: Bars
- Calories: 404kcal
- Sugar: 41.6g
- Sodium: 201mg
- Fat: 20.6g
- Saturated Fat: 15.7g
- Carbohydrates: 54.8g
- Fiber: 0.7g
- Protein: 3.8g
- Cholesterol: 54mg
Keywords: pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
Pumpkin Bars with cream cheese topping is a classic dessert you would love to try again and again regardless of seasons and weather. Don’t forget to share your experience with me and let me know if you still have questions. Share the recipe with your friends and subscribe to the channel for a new recipe every day!