Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting that Everyone will Love

Pumpkin Bars

Fall is for pumpkin. Pumpkin carving, lattes, coffee, cake, pies and bars. Buying pumpkin puree in a can, in bulk, helps you to be able to make everything pumpkin to your heart’s desire. This Saturday was beautifully sunny and warm, and as a treat to our four kids and a thanks for their help raking, I made these cream cheese frosted Pumpkin Bars.

cream cheese frosted pumpkin bars

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Published November 11, 2022
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Cost breakdown for this recipe

As far as recipes go, with the amount you get, this one is fairly inexpensive. Below is a breakdown for the cost of each ingredient used to make a sheet-pan full of Pumpkin Bars. All of these prices are from a local ALDI.

4 eggs $1.16
1 cup oil $0.64
2 cups sugar $0.58
1 cup pumpkin $1.45
1/2 tsp salt $0.01
2 tsp cinnamon $0.06
1 tsp baking soda $0.01
1 tsp baking powder $0.03
2 cups flour $0.30
3-oz cream cheese $0.87
4 Tbsp vegetable shortening $0.36
1 tsp milk $0.01
3/4-lbs powdered sugar $0.58

The total cost for this recipe was only $6.06.
We were able to get 32 Pumpkin Bars making each cost $0.18. Mind you, this was a baking sheet that was 10″ X 15″.
One slice of Starbucks Pumpkin Pepita Loaf costs $2-$3. Click the link for more pricing and information.

ingredients for cream cheese frosting

In comparison, at ALDI, they sell pumpkin sliced loaf cake for $3.85, which weighs 13.3 ounces making each slice $0.48, not frosted, and more of a cake than a moist bar.

Bakeshop Pumpkin Sliced Loaf Cake
$3.85

I cannot really find a similar bar for a comparison in any other local store except Festival Foods, where a 6-count of frosted pumpkin bars costs $4.99. If you were to buy enough that this recipe makes, you would then pay $39.92. Festival Foods is a local grocery store that is in the Midwest. Very much a Midwest staple.

Pumpkin Bars
$4.99|6 ct

What if you run out of powdered sugar?!

Before starting this recipe, there was a realization that there was no powdered sugar in the pantry cabinet. How can one make cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar?!

Did you know powdered sugar is just finely ground granulated sugar? If you run out of powdered sugar, you can just blend sugar to make your own. When done with the blade attachment in a food processor, you can then make short work of this time-consuming job. Blending 2 cups of granulated sugar took almost 5-minutes using my Cuisinart Food Processor with the blade attachment.
Pro-Tip – place a towel over the food processor during this time as the powdered sugar will then want to become aerosolized and float into the room.

food processor

Recipe

Pumpkin Bar Ingredients

4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
3-oz cream cheese
4 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1 tsp milk
3/4-lbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

ingredients for pumpkin bars

Directions

1. Firstly, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. The parchment paper will then help to remove the bars from the baking sheet easily and without a huge mess.

parchment paper on baking sheet

2. Secondly, in a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt, making sure to NOT add the sugar yet, as it will then be mixed with the eggs at a different time.

Granulated sugar is technically a “wet ingredient”, as you traditionally add it to the other liquids before adding it to the rest of the mix.

Sifting the dry ingredients together not only mixes them, but also helps to reduce any clumps. When all of the other ingredients have been sifted and you have clumps left, use the rounded side of a spoon and press the clumps to break them up.

sifted dry ingredients

3. Then crack four eggs into a mixing bowl and beat them.

crack and add 4 eggs to bowl for pumpkin bars

4. To the eggs, add 2 cups sugar and mix well until slightly fluffy. By adding the sugar to the eggs, the sugar will actually dissolve into the eggs, and you will not be left with a grainy Pumpkin Bar.

5. Add 1 cup oil to the egg mixture and then mix well to combine.

add oil to batter

6. To the egg mixture, add a whole can of pure pumpkin puree, and then blend well to combine.

7. To the pumpkin mixture in the bowl, add the dry ingredients in two small batches; add half, mix until just combined, and then add the rest and mix well until all of the dry ingredients are fully incorporated to the wet. You may have to use a spatula to scrape the sides down and then blend again.

Add half, mix until just combined, and then add the rest and mix well until all of the dry ingredients are fully incorporated to the wet. You may have to use a spatula to scrape the sides down and then blend again.

8. Dump out the pumpkin bar batter out onto the prepared baking sheet and then spread it out evenly with a spatula.

9. Lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it onto the countertop to level the batter and remove any bubbles, then, do the same to the other side of the baking sheet.

spread out batter to make pumpkin bars

Bake the Pumpkin Bars in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the center springs back when touched.
This baking sheet was 10″X15″ and additionally took 27 minutes to fully look baked with the middle to spring back.
At 24 minutes, there was still a small spot that still looked uncooked. Don’t pull it out too soon, or you may have spots that are uncooked and then will fall flat.

place baking sheet with pumpkin bars batter in oven to bake

11. When done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and then let the Pumpkin Bars cool completely.

pumpkin bars cooling on rack

You can also help the bars cool by carefully lifting the parchment paper and then slide the bars onto a cooling rack, which can help to evenly cool the bars on all sides quicker.

cooling pumpkin bars

Frosting Ingredients

3-oz cream cheese
4 Tbsp shortening
1 tsp milk
3/4-lbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting

Making cream cheese frosting is quite easy, resulting in a delicious and creamy topping for these moist Pumpkin Bars. Just add all of the ingredients to a bowl and then using an electric hand beater, mix the ingredients well until fluffy.

ingredients for cream cheese frosting for pumpkin bars

1. Measure and then add powdered sugar to a medium bowl.

measured powdered sugar in bowl

2. Measure and then add 3-oz cream cheese to the powdered sugar in the mixing bowl.

cream cheese in bowl with powdered sugar

3. Next, measure and then add 4 Tbsp vegetable shortening to the powdered sugar.

vegetable shortening for cream cheese frosting

4. Measure and then add 1 tsp milk to the bowl.

milk in a small bowl for cream cheese frosting

5. Finally, add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the ingredients, and then whisk until fluffy and fully combined, using a spatula to scrape the sides to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated well.

As we were out of vanilla extract, and still waiting for homemade vanilla extract to mature, butter and Rum extracts were used instead. Hindsight, only the butter extract should have been used as the Rum was just a bit too much.

Finishing the Pumpkin Bars

Once the pumpkin bars were completely cooled, and by cooled, they need to NOT be warm, it is then time to frost them.
Use a spatula to place dollops of cream cheese frosting over the completely cooled Pumpkin Bars.

cream cheese frosting on cooled pumpkin bars

Then, use an offset spatula to spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the entire top of the pumpkin bars.

fully frosted pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

Finally, cut and then enjoy!
~Monica

frosted and cut pumpkin bars

Pumpkin Bars Recipe

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour

Directions for Pumpkin Bars

1. Firstly, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. The parchment paper will then help to remove the bars from the baking sheet easily and without a huge mess.
2. Secondly, in a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients; add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. Then crack four eggs into a mixing bowl and beat them.
4. To the eggs, add 2 cups sugar and mix well until slightly fluffy.
5. Add 1 cup oil to the egg mixture and then mix well to combine.
6. To the egg mixture, add a whole can of pure pumpkin puree, and then blend well to combine.
7. To the pumpkin mixture in the bowl, add the dry ingredients in two small batches; add half, mix until just combined, and then add the rest and mix well until all of the dry ingredients are fully incorporated to the wet. You may have to use a spatula to scrape the sides down and then blend again.
8. Dump out the pumpkin bar batter out onto the prepared baking sheet and then spread it out evenly with a spatula.
9. Lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it onto the countertop to level the batter and remove any bubbles, then, do the same to the other side of the baking sheet.
10. Bake the Pumpkin Bars in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the center springs back when touched.
11. When done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and then let the Pumpkin Bars cool completely.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

3-oz cream cheese
4 Tbsp shortening
1 tsp milk
3/4-lbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Directions for Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Measure and then add powdered sugar to a medium bowl.
2. Measure and then add 3-oz cream cheese to the powdered sugar in the mixing bowl.
3. Next, measure and then add 4 Tbsp vegetable shortening to the powdered sugar.
4. Measure and then add 1 tsp milk to the bowl.
5. Finally, add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the ingredients, and then whisk until fluffy and fully combined, using a spatula to scrape the sides to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated well.
6. Once the pumpkin bars were completely cooled, and by cooled, they need to NOT be warm, it is then time to frost them.
7. Use a spatula to place dollops of cream cheese frosting over the bars.
8. Then, use an offset spatula to spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the entire top of the pumpkin bars.
Finally, cut and then enjoy!
~Monica

cut pumpkin bars

One response to “Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting that Everyone will Love”

  1. popsiclesociety Avatar

    I think one of the reasons why I love autumn is because of the pumpkin 😉 What a delicious way to enjoy pumpkin 😋

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Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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