Pumpkin Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

November 20, 2011 by Ali

A few weeks ago for a choir potluck, my friend Emily made these rockin’ pumpkin bars. I took a few home, but of course they promptly disappeared. So a week later, I decided to make a batch of my own!

I thought about making a more creative frosting, but some classics are meant to be untouched. So behold — a simple recipe for classic pumpkin bars (or cake!), topped with some decadent cream cheese frosting. They are super-simple, and if you’d like, you can even substitute in white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. I tried it and mine were still wonderfully moist.

Definitely a great recipe for a pumpkin craving…and always a crowd pleaser!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting


    Pumpkin Bars Ingredients:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, storebought or homemade
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional Toppings:
  • toasted walnuts or pecans (whole or chopped)
  • additional sifted powdered sugar


To Make Pumpkin Bars:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin on medium speed until light and fluffy.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

Add the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix. Spread the batter into the prepared 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

To Make Cream Cheese Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars. Top with nuts or additional sifted powdered sugar if desired.

Ali’s Tip:

Feel free to also mix in 2/3 cup of your favorite chopped nuts into the batter as well!


Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, originally from Paula Dean.

filed in Desserts

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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8 thoughts on “Pumpkin Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Just made this recipe last night- frosted it this morning. The “cake” bar portion is AMAZING! Excellent recipe, flavorful and definitely NOT dry! I admit I ate a piece before I added the frosting and it was good. I am not a huge frosting fan, so I was hesitant to add one. But I definitely think the frosting balances it out and completes it. Then I forgot to add the vanilla… *facepalm* Still a great classic recipe with pumpkin and cream cheese.

    - Andrea

  2. Made these for my sister’s birthday. I did add cinnamon to the frosting and baked in a jelly roll pan and my own pumpkin pie spice, but she said they were the BEST she had ever had. And, she doesn’t just say those things! Love your site! Thanks.

    - Connie

  3. Just made these. Very good! I thought there was an error I’m the recipe since it calls for both cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, but if I had left out one or the other it would not be flavorful enough.

    - KatyAnne

  4. Hey Alison! This looks delish! Is this they same recipe that you used for the cupcakes Saturday night? I’m planning on making some this Friday for a friend’s get together. :)

    - Lindsey E.

  5. one of my favorite fall desserts! I made a very similar recipe and top each square with a pecan! Yum! :)

    - natalie (the sweets life)

  6. Yum, this looks so yummy, I adore cream cheese frosting!

    - Mal @ The Chic Geek

  7. Mmmm….definitely one of my favorites this time of year! :) I am so glad you enjoyed them too!

    - Christina @Sweet Pea's Kitchen