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I was blessed to grow up with a mom who was a good cook!  I learned how to “improvise” from her and create my own recipes, I am so thankful for the confidence she modeled in the kitchen!  My mom cooked, but baking was a rare thing (she does it much more now).  When she did bake it seemed so special.  The only pumpkin thing I remember her baking was pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting and I LOVED them.

A few years ago I “discovered” baking with pumpkin and ever since then I can’t stop.  I start in the fall and go until my husband says it’s enough, usually right after Christmas.  Last year I realized I had never made my own batch of what started my love of pumpkin so I asked my mom for the recipe.  She pulled out the original copy she got from a friend in 1983 in Naknak, Alaska!  Today I share it with you!

These bars are simple, better when made ahead of time (who doesn’t love that?), and one batch feeds a lot of people!  I think the reason I love this recipe so much is the simplicity of it.  The pumpkin flavor and the rich cream cheese frosting, when chilled, is a perfect combination!  Make sure you serve these bars cold, they are so much better.  I usually make a batch, store it in the refrigerator, and use it over the next 3-5 days.  They last so much longer than a pie when you have a lot of people gathered.

The holiday season is full of hosting and lots of family and friends, make these for for one of your festive gathers soon!

Mom’s Pumpkin Bars

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin (or 1 16oz. can)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
  • 6 Tbs. butter, at room temp
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, or a stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until fluffy.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix to combine.

Spread the batter in a large bar pan, about 15×10 inches.  Bake until light brown around the edges and set in the middle 24-28 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

When the bars are cooled frost and then refrigerate until cold, at least a few hours.  Served chilled.

To make the frosting:

In the bowl of your stand mixer, or with a hand held electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla and powdered sugar until fluffy.

Frost the bars, refrigerate, and slice before serving.