Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

A lot of people have tomorrow off, but I'm not one of them.  Half our office has taken the day, so for the rest of the staff, I'm baking a little special something:  pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting (surprise!).  They're in the oven now with just a few minutes to go, and they smell soooooo good!  I can't think of anything more appropriate for the day before Thanksgiving than pumpkin bars.  They're spicy, sweet, and the perfect, deep, dark autumn color.  What more could you ask for than something that can do double-time as either a breakfast bar or, later in the day, dessert?  This recipe is adapted from one that Paula Deen has posted on-line.  My changes:  a little less oil, a little more cinnamon.  Paula's frosting is a little too rich for what I am looking for, so I cut the fat in half and no one will miss it.  Here's my take on Paula's pumpkin bars, with a preview of some photos along the way (frosting will have to wait until tomorrow morning!):

Look at those specks of cinnamon ~ it's just plain pretty!

And here they are, frosted and ready for my office!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Prepare 13x9 pan (spray with vegetable spray or line with parchment paper and still spray a little)

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (Paula uses 1 cup)
1  15 oz. can pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In large mixer bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla extract until fluffy.
In separate bowl, stir all dry ingredients together.  Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until very well combined.

Spread in 13x9 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool completely before frosting (a few hours or even better, over night).

Frost in pan.  Cut into bars.

FROSTING (very modified from Paula's - much more my own):

1/2 bar cream cheese (4 oz.) softened - make sure it's room temperature or it'll be lumpy...
1/8 lb. butter, softened (half a stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
2 cups confectioners sugar
a few tablespoons of milk, more if you need it

Beat softened cream cheese and butter until complete combined.  Add vanilla and lemon extracts and mix thoroughly.  Gradually add confectioners sugar, alternating with a little milk at a time, until it's the consistency you want it to be.  Less milk = a firmer frosting, more = softer.  Go sparingly with the milk.  Add a few drops at a time until it's just right. (Remember, you can always add a little more milk, but once you've added too much, you can't take it out.)

Photos and Collage:   my own


  1. good recipe, BUT, my 13x9 pan must be smaller than yours, because mine turned out a CAKE not bars!

  2. Mine was cake-like, too, as you can see in the photo. Paula Deen must consider it a bar if it's cut in a square. Still, quite delicious. I'll post another recipe that is truly a bar, pumpkin cheesecake bars, soon. Thanks for letting me know!