Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

We had some nice warm weather during the day and cool evenings this past weekend here in Washington DC. My husband and I spent the day Sunday at a Park in Maryland with good friends where we celebrated the birthday of an extremely cute, lovable, awesome boy who just turned 2 🙂 The kids played, the adults followed in their footsteps and we had a great time in the outdoors stuffing our faces with kielbasa and watermelon. I baked, of course, duh! The brownies were a hit and I took home an empty cake pan 🙂

We are trying to enjoy what is left of the sunshine and warmth until we wave goodbye and welcome Fall. Fall is pretty here. The air is cool and the colorful shades of leaves are beautiful and crunch under your feet. It is a time when we stop and think about the fun summer that passed and wonder what the coming Winter will bring. Fall brings the sweet scent of cinnamon and molasses. It brings the smell of ginger, cloves, nutmeg and pumpkin. Hmmm, I may have just described a pumpkin cake! I know it is not yet October but the earlier we bring on pumpkins, the better. What say you? I baked this cake a week ago for a co-worker. I asked him what his favorite dessert was and he told me it was pumpkin pie. I like to make my own pie crust and found a recipe that would take a bit of time so I asked him if he would settle for cupcakes or cake.

I baked it–with love of course–and brought it to the office. Everyone made a run for the pan, cake was flying everywhere and people had frosting all over their faces and clothes! No, that is not what happened, unfortunately… the cake was eaten, in a civilized manner, and was thoroughly enjoyed by the masses. That was some freaking good cake! Moist, springy, soft, wonderful, and pumpkiny cake. I took a bite and actually thought I heard applause in my head.

The key is to not overload it with frosting because it becomes too sweet and overpowering. Some of you may like sweet and overpowering but for me, in the case of frosting, less is more 🙂  If you only want a thin layer, make half the frosting recipe. Trust and heed, a thin layer is all you need. I found a pumpkin pie spice recipe and used that instead of buying it. There is no cardamom in this recipe but you can go ahead and add it.

I implore you to please bake this cake 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Spice taken from My BAKING addiction

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • Combine spices in a small bow, mix well to combine. Store in a small jar or spice container.

Observe the gorgeous cake straight from the oven all nice and brown.


Ta da! I present the thin layer of cream cheese frosting. Go ahead, stick your finger in the frosting bowl!


After you cut it up into bars and before you dig in…


Take a moment to admire its beauty, the lovely texture and color. Okay, grab a fork, spoon, or use your fingers and go!


Recipe taken from Brown Eyed Baker


For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs

For the Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs until smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk or stir gently until incorporated and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, smoothing out the top with a spatula.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

6. To make the frosting, mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy (you can do this by hand if they are both nice and soft, otherwise use a hand or stand mixer on medium speed). Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and mix until completely combined and smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract.

7. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers covered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. These were heaven. Light and fluffy and not too overwhelmed with spices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marale says:

      I agree. They were heaven 🙂 Glad you liked it.


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