My mom's famous Pumpkin Bars recipe slathered in the best cream cheese frosting. These will be your new favorite and the only fall dessert you need!
As far as Pumpkin Desserts go, there isn't a bad one to be had.
However, I'm playing favorite with Pumpkin Bars if only because they are the easiest to make.
The recipe is made with 100% pure canned pumpkin, but I tested it for Pumpkin Pie Mix, too - so if that's all you have, scroll down and you'll see how to adjust!
These Pumpkin Bars are made in a 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pan. I love jelly roll pans because the resulting bars are thinner than a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. This means you have a more equal ratio of cake-to-frosting.
The same phenomenon happens with my favorite Frosted Banana Bars. SO GOOD.
Can I use Pumpkin Pie Mix?
If you only have Pumpkin Pie Mix on hand (canned pumpkin mixed with spices and some sugar, as opposed to 100% pure canned pumpkin), no problem! I tested and adjusted my standard recipe just for you.
To use Pumpkin Pie Mix:
- Increase the baking powder to 3 teaspoons.
- Omit the cinnamon and pumpkin spice.
- Substitute 16 ounces of canned Pumpkin Pie Mix.
I know Pumpkin Pie Mix has sugar in it, but I personally felt that the batter benefitted from the full 2 cups of sugar as listed in the original recipe. It tastes closest to the original that way.
When we eliminated the sugar entirely, the bars were flat, unsweetened, and very sad.
I found it easiest to cut the entire pan of bars at once so I could accurately place the Mellowcreme pumpkins. Using a ruler (nerd alert) I aimed for roughly 2 1/2-inch by 2 1/2-inch squares. I ended up with 24 squares in a 4x6 configuration.
If you feel like baking for your neighbors, for your child's preschool, or for your coworkers, make these. Everyone will be so excited to be your friend!
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
For the bars:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
For the frosting:
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 24 MellowCreme pumpkins
To make the bars:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, and oil. Mix well. Whisk in eggs.
- Fold in flour mixture until uniformly combined. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
To make the frosting:
- In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat well. Spread evenly over cooled bars. Cut into 24 bars and top each with a MellowCreme pumpkin.
- Increase baking powder to 3 teaspoons
- Omit cinnamon and pumpkin spice
- Substitute 16 ounces canned Pumpkin Pie Mix