Pumpkin Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

Pumpkin, O Pumpkin, Wherefore Art Thou Pumpkin? Today I went to the store to stock up on pumpkin and was informed that there was a pumpkin shortage across the entire USA. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and the woman I had asked looked at me and said in all seriousness, “if you find any pumpkin, stock up and sell it for a profit”.  While that may been a solid business model, I want my pumpkin to go towards good and not evil. I was planning on hanging on to my pumpkin until the mood struck and it came way sooner than I was expecting.

I had come across this recipe from Handle the Heat a couple months ago, knowing that it would come in handy.  I had about two hours to kill before I got my hair cut (I always bring the girls in the salon some sweets) so I figured these would be a good thing to whip up beforehand.  I mean seriously, who doesn’t love pumpkin? We were joking in the bakery, after I informed them about the pumpkin shortage, about riots in the streets if people couldn’t get their hands on any.  Thankfully, Starbucks likely has enough PSL syrup to keep the masses at bay.

I am hoping that I can keep my pumpkin stock until more shows up in the store, but I always get the baking itch on Friday’s when I’m not working, so I had to use a little bit of it today.  I am really excited about these for a few reasons.  I love baking bars, I have no idea why, but I love it so much more than cupcakes or cakes.  Also, not having to pipe frosting is a huge plus in my book. Lastly, it’s all about the ratio of cake to frosting and by the looks of it, this is one of the times that gets it right.

This is a great recipe and comes together in a flash! The perfect recipe to satiate your pumpkin craving or for bringing with you as a last minute addition.

Pumpkin Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Print


Cake bars

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk


For the Cake

  1.  Preheat oven to 350º F. Line an 8×8 with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin.  Whisk until fully combined.
  4. Fold in the flour mixture until just mixed.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.


  1. In a mixer (or by hand) beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the cinnamon and salt.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar until mixed.  Add the vanilla and milk and mix until super fluffy.
  3. Spread evenly over the bars.
  4. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.


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