I’ll admit it, one of the main reasons I’m writing this post is so next year, when I’m craving a perfect pumpkin bar, I’ll know exactly where to look. But that doesn’t mean they’re not for you, too. They make an excellent dessert alternative for Thanksgiving. I like pumpkin bars that are thick– I have no time for those weak, thin and flimsy ones. I suppose one could even say that this is more a pumpkin cake, but the fact that I swoop into the pan and eat this treat with my hands, makes me comfortable with the bar title.
One of things that makes these bars stand out is the use of virgin coconut oil. I try to swap out vegetable or canola oil whenever I can. I find the smell and taste of those to be somewhat off-putting. And aside from the better flavor, coconut oil is much healthier. Both the coconut oil and the pumpkin make these bars stay moist for days and days. The maple cream cheese frosting is the perfect way to top them.
These bars would be fantastic on your Thanksgiving table for those guests who aren’t into pie so much. They can be left in a regular cake pan, or to fancy things up a bit, put them on a festive platter. Using parchment paper in the pan makes them really easy to lift out. However you decide to serve them, I know your friends and family are going to love them. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Perfect Pumpkin Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes a 9 x 13 pan)
2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup coconut oil, melted, then cooled a bit
4 eggs, room temperature
1 15- ounce can plain pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Frosting:
3 cups confectioners sugar (about 12 ounces), sifted
8 ounce package of cream cheese (full fat)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
toasted walnuts, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper (let enough hang over the edges to be able to grasp and lift the cake out with) and coat with non-stick cooking spray (if wanting to remove from pan in one large piece) or just grease pan with coconut oil, butter, or spray.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside.
In a bowl of a stand mixer (or using a regular bowl and wooden spoon) fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the coconut oil and sugars together until blended well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until somewhat creamy, 3 minutes or so. Then add the pumpkin puree and blend until uniform.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top of the wet and use a spatula to fold everything until moistened, (this will prevent a big cloud of flour from landing on your countertop), then using the paddle attachment again mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer, or wooden spoon) mix all of the ingredients together, except the confectioners sugar, until smooth and creamy. Then add the sifted confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.
Remove cake from pan once it has cooled, if desired. Or frost it in the pan. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts, if you like. Keeps well for days covered at room temperature. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!