Pumpkin Bars is the perfect easy fall or Thanksgiving dessert recipe! Made with spices, butter, cream cheese, and a cake mix crust, this layered cheesecake-like dessert has such rich flavor.
Welcome to one of the oldest recipes I've got on this blog!
The original version of this Pumpkin Pie Bars recipe appeared on the blog in 2012. At that point, I did write some recipes, but it wasn't a focus of my content. Well friends, times have changed a little. And here we are, 10 years later, visiting this recipe again because it's really one of those great recipes that stands the test of time.
Pumpkin Pie...But Make it a Bar!
If you could put the flavors of fall in a cake, it would be this one. With these Pumpkin Pie Bars (and any other gooey butter cake-type recipe), you're going to get two distinct layers. The bottom layer is a thicker version of a pie crust made from spice cake mix. The top pumpkin filling is what's really going to remind you of traditional pumpkin pie; a thick, rich, creamy cheesecake-like layer made with cream cheese and canned pumpkin puree. So with this dessert, you're really getting the taste of that traditional Thanksgiving recipe, just made a little differently.
Think of this recipe as a richer, sweeter version of pumpkin pie. If you need a dessert for a football tailgate or even a holiday gathering like Thanksgiving, give this one a try...it's a total crowd-pleaser! It's one of the most simple (but really yummy) pumpkin bars out there.
Variations on this recipe
Make this Pumpkin Pie Bar recipe your own!
- Add in as many spices as you'd like. I think the spice cake mix and ground cinnamon combination gives it just enough of a kick, but you could also add in pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, ground ginger, or cloves to make it more of a pumpkin spice variety.
- Want less spice? Sub a yellow cake mix for the spice cake mix. A chocolate cake mix for the crust would even be a fun variation on this pumpkin recipe!
- I made this in a smaller baking dish, which made it taller (more of a pumpkin cake). If you want to make this recipe in more of a thin pumpkin bar form, use a larger baking pan so the ingredients can spread out more.
- Get a little nutty! You could add chopped pecans or walnuts to the top of the pumpkin layer before baking to really deepen the rich flavor.
- Give it a top layer of caramel sauce and just a hint of sea salt.
How do I store leftovers?
Because this has a cream cheese base, you'll need to store leftovers of your cake in the fridge. Simply cover your glass baking dish with plastic wrap. This cake is good in the refrigerator for 5-6 days...if it lasts that long!
Pumpkin Pie Bars
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- Mix together the ½ cup melted butter, boxed spice cake mix, and 1 egg. Press mixture in the bottom of a prepared pan sprayed with cooking spray. (it will be thick, almost like a cookie dough.)
- In another large bowl, beat pumpkin puree, cream cheese, teaspoon vanilla extract, cinnamon, and butter together with a hand mixer. Beat eggs in a small bowl and mix them in. Mix powdered sugar in just enough to incorporate well.
- Spread this pumpkin mixture on top of the spice cake mixture in your pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (give or take 5 minutes depending on your oven). Let cool in the baking dish for at least 30 minutes (if you can wait :)). Serve warm with whipped cream.
Thanks for stopping by today! Hope this delectable recipe is one you can use throughout the cooler fall months. Check back on Thursday - I'm planning on sharing one more of my favorite pumpkin recipes!