Pumpkin Bars

I know I’ve been obsessed with pumpkin recipes for the last two months, but I promise this is the last pumpkin recipe until next fall.


I made pumpkin bars for the first time on Thanksgiving after chickening out on making the pumpkin cheesecake.  You know, never having made my own crust, never having made cheesecake using springform pan immersed in water, having only three hours before guests arrived, having a bunch of other dishes to complete, it just wasn’t a good time to experiment.

My secretary had brought the pumpkin bars, disguised as a cake to work that week.  She didn’t cut them into individual bars.  In any case, it was delicious.  Simply divine.  So moist and sweet. 

I needed a “birthday” cake for my brother-in-law.  An apple pie just isn’t the same, you know?  With only three hours to go,  I decided to go with the pumpkin bars instead because the recipe was easy and I had all the ingredients on hand.

Brother-in-law loved it.  The end.  Or so I thought.

But, in all the haste, I forgot to take any photos.  At least not any that would really showcase the cake/bars.


What does this show except a lot of icing and some atrocious cake writing attempt?

So, how fortuitous that my secretary gave me a 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree last week.  Because you know, like a normal person, she was done with pumpkin until next fall.

Finally, I can write-up this recipe!

Without further ado… Actually, can I just say, the secretary, who’s a pretty darn good baker said she liked mine better.  I think it was the icing.  I don’t know what I did different, but the icing was slamming.

Ok, finally without further ado…

Most baking recipes have you pre-heating the oven first thing. I don’t know about you, but mine heats up in 10 minutes. I don’t like my oven to just sit there, baking nothing while I’m still getting the batter ready.

I say, do some of the other prep work first. Like sift the dry ingredients.


This ain’t some highfalutin pastry that needs everything exactly so and in so and so order. I just dump all the dry stuff together and sift.


Grease the pan. Get the wet stuff together. Do whatever you can so that once the oven is ready, you can pop the pan in without too much time lag.


Now, pre-heat the oven.  Then, mix the pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil until light.


With the speed on low, add in the flour mixture.


Whip until the batter is just smooth.


Pour into the prepared pan.  At this point the oven should be beeping. Place the pan in the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.


Pumpkin Bars

*From Paula Deen who adapted from Patty Ronning


Prep Time: 15 mins     Cook Time:  30 mins

Serving: 36 bars


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt (I just take slightly less than 1 teaspoon)

4 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/3 tablespoon pulp-free orange juice (1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, sift all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt) and set aside.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (or use baking spray, love it!)  Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil and mix until light. Set the mixer on low and add the flour mixture until all the ingredients are just combined and the batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the middle rack for 30 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.  Spread icing on with a small spatula or for a prettier effect, use an icing bag with a tip.

To  make the icing, combine the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, orange juice and vanilla and whip with an electric mixer until smooth.


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