Pumpkin Bars with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting


I just couldn’t wait any longer. I say it’s officially time for a Fall inspired post. I love all the flavors of Fall. The aromatic spices, the caramel apples, the pumpkin pie and the fresh off the cob corn. One of my favorite Fall flavors is pumpkin. It’s natural sweetness and moisture along with it’s power packed nutrition makes it a perfect choice for countless dishes and desserts.

I created this recipe to be a thicker bar than my banana bars because I received several comments of people saying they’d like a thicker bar. These are basically the same thickness of cake, so you can call it pumpkin cake if you’d like. I chose to make this a bit lower fat than your average pumpkin bar by using half butter and half applesauce (rather than all butter or  oil). You would never know it is halfway healthy =). I love when I can turn a Superfood into a dessert (if you top them with walnuts you can get two Superfoods between the pumpkin and walnuts). Try these bars and they are likely to become one of your new favorite fall desserts!

Pumpkin Bars with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting


Yield: 20 bars


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter , melted and whisked to cool slightly
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • Cinnamon and whole or chopped pecans , for garnish (optional)

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/3 cup butter , softened
  • 6 oz cream cheese , softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, blend together light-brown sugar, granulated sugar, melted butter and applesauce until well combine. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well blended, then add pumpkin and mix until well blended. Add dry mixture and mix just until combine. Pour and spread mixture evenly into a buttered 13 x 9 inch baking dish and bake in preheated oven about 35 - 38 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Allow bars to cool completely (I covered the baking dish after 15 minutes of cooling to seal in moisture) then cut into bars and frost with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting (alternately you can frost bars first then cut into squares) and dust lightly with optional cinnamon and garnish with optional pecans.

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl, using and electric hand mixer, whip together butter and cream cheese on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 3 -4 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix until well blended and smooth.
  2. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Loie Low: Yum…..these look soooooo good! August 27, 2012 at 3:53pm Reply

  • Chiropractor St Charles: I love pumpkin season!!!! August 27, 2012 at 5:59pm Reply

  • Chloe: Yum, I can’t wait to start decorating and cooking for Fall! My favorite season. :) August 27, 2012 at 6:19pm Reply

  • Anu: looks delicious, but never used pumpkin in baking. Have 2 try August 28, 2012 at 6:01am Reply

  • Katie: Pumpkin is my all time favorite flavor to bake with. I’ve already made two batches of pumpkin muffins over the last week or so. August 28, 2012 at 6:58am Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: I love seeing pumpkin stuff during this time of year! I seriously need to make this ASAP! I think I can find a can or two of pumpkin puree somewhere in the kitchen! August 28, 2012 at 11:37am Reply

  • Angela @ AnotherBitePlease: Beautiful pics – love that small plate. I know it is so hard to stay away from pumpkin recipes..I’ve started quite the list on what to make and now added this one. Yum! August 28, 2012 at 2:25pm Reply

  • Joan: Yum the cake looks so good! Gotta love fall. August 28, 2012 at 3:52pm Reply

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction: LOVE everything about this Jaclyn. I am embracing the fall with open arms! The applesauce is a lovely trick… a sneaky one too! I can’t wait to see all your pumpkin recipes this fall. :) August 28, 2012 at 6:15pm Reply

  • Kel: I made this today and it was fantastic! SO moist!
    September 8, 2012 at 8:12pm Reply

  • Lisa: Oh yes, bring on the pumpkin! September 9, 2012 at 4:27pm Reply

  • Ged: Can I use an actual pumpkin? Or does it have to be canned? :-\ September 20, 2012 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Ava Capin: Hi! I’m new to your blog but I’m loving it so far! Same question as the previous comment: I don’t have canned pumpkin (they don’t sell it in Mexico, where I live), but I do have some lovely pumpkin puree. I know it tends to be more liquid or less dense than the stuff in the can. Can I use this? Do you think I should make any substitutions or even skip the applesauce? Hope you can help because I’m dying to make these! October 4, 2012 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Ged – I’m so sorry, I published your comment then forgot to answer it! But thanks to Ava for the reminder =). I think it would be fine to use as long as it’s a similar texture once your puree it to the canned pumpkin. You may want to drain of some of the liquid if there’s quite a bit (just by using a fine mesh sieve). I hope that helps! October 4, 2012 at 2:25pm Reply

  • Anonymous: Hi, I just made this today for dessert after out Thanksgiving Dinner (canada). It was just perfect, everyone loved it! thank you! October 7, 2012 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Ivy P Motuyang: hi, i was wondering what can i use to substitute applesauce, it there a recipe for homemade applesauce. Thanks

    Ivy/Malaysia June 19, 2013 at 5:24pm Reply

  • TJ {Sugar Blossoms}: Hi there! I wanted to let you know I featured you on Sugar Blossoms today. Stop by and check it out! http://sweetsugarblossoms.blogspot.com/2013/09/i-freakin-love-pumpkin.html September 2, 2013 at 7:30am Reply

  • Karly: I made these bars today and I really enjoyed them, they weren’t too sweet and the frosting was delicious. The only change I would make next time would be to use a slightly larger pan, maybe a 10 x 15 so they were not so thick, these seemed almost like a cake in a 9 x 13. October 24, 2013 at 6:48pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked them Karly, and yes I agree it is basically a cake – it was just the last time I made bars (before this post) a lot of people mentioned they were thing so I went for a thick bar :). October 29, 2013 at 7:39pm Reply

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