Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

The end of October is the start of what I like to think of as “baking season”.  I love this time of year because it gives me free license to bake as much as I want and there are always plenty of opportunities to give away the treats.  One of my favorite holiday desserts are pumpkin bars, and this moist cake from King Arthur Flour is a definite repeater!  Most pumpkin cake is filled with golden raisins, chunks of crystallized ginger.  I chose to omit the nuts that were called for in this recipe as I like my pumpkin bars to be nice and soft.  Cream cheese frosting is always good, but mix it with a little maple syrup and it’s even better!  These bars also keep very well, so they can easily be made the day before.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
Moist pumpkin bars packed with ginger bits and golden raisins and topped with creamy maple cream cheese frosting.
  • For the Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup crystallized ginger mini chips

  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (low fat ok)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a large rimmed half-sheet pan, about 18" x 13"; or line the pan with greased parchment.
  2. For the cake: Put the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside. Beat the oil and the sugars together until well blended. Beat in the eggs and then the pumpkin.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and add the raisins and ginger. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and turn onto a rack to finish cooling; or leave it right in the pan, if you've lined the pan with parchment. Frost the cake and cut into bars when cool.
  4. For the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Beat in maple syrup and stir well, then mix in the confectioners' sugar. Adjust the consistency of the frosting with additional maple syrup or confectioners' sugar, if necessary; it should be nicely spreadable. Frost the cake and then cut into bars.

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