Get ready to indulge in these pumpkin cream cheese bars that are both delicious and easy to make! Light, moist, and packed with flavor, this pumpkin sheet cake is layered with homemade pumpkin jam and topped with yummy cream cheese and pumpkin jam frosting that will make you want more.
Why you’ll love this recipe
These pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting are a must-try! It’s got all the flavors of fall, a perfectly moist and tender crumb, and a frosting that’s out of this world.
First off, let’s talk about the ingredients. We’ve got all the classic fall flavors like pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, as well as the secret ingredient, homemade pumpkin jam! The combination of cake flour and sour cream creates a moist and tender crumb that’s simply perfection.
The frosting. The tanginess of the cream cheese balances out the sweetness of the jam, which creates a perfect flavor combination.
You can serve it as a dessert at a holiday gathering or simply enjoy it as an afternoon treat with a cup of coffee or tea. Plus, the sheet cake format makes it easy to serve and share, so you can spread the joy (and calories) with your loved ones.
Sour cream: it adds moisture to the cake batter, ensuring a soft and tender crumb that won’t dry out. The fat and acidity in sour cream help to tenderize the gluten in the flour, resulting in a more delicate and tender cake texture. The acidity in sour cream helps to activate baking soda, resulting in a better rise and a taller, more even cake.
Vegetable oil: just like sour cream, vegetable oil adds moisture to the cake batter, helping to create a soft and tender crumb. Unlike butter, which can cause a cake to dry out, vegetable oil remains liquid at room temperature and helps to lock in moisture.
Cake flour: it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, which means it creates less gluten when mixed with liquids. This results in a tender, light, and delicate crumb that’s perfect for cakes.
Pumpkin jam: this easy homemade pumpkin jam recipe is like a concentrated version of pumpkin puree. I highly recommend using it instead of plain pumpkin puree. You can make it ahead of time and use it in other recipes, like these pumpkin buns, or simply spread it on a slice of bread.
How to make pumpkin cream cheese bars: step by step
Note! For exact measurements and detailed directions, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Step 2: In another bowl, whisk the rest of the cake ingredients.
Step 3: Add the flour mixture to the wet batter.
Whisk until no dry flour remains.
Step 4: Transfer the batter to a parchment-lined baking dish.
Bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs, but not wet.
Step 5: When the cake has cooled, cut off the dome of the cake.
Step 6: Spread the pumpkin jam over the top.
Step 7: Make the frosting by combining all the ingredients except the pumpkin jam.
Step 8: Spread the cream cheese frosting over the jam.
Step 9: Add the pumpkin jam on top by spreading it using a toothpick.
- Measure accurately: precise measurements are crucial in baking, so be sure to use a digital scale.
- Don’t overmix: overmixing the batter can lead to a dense and tough cake, so be sure to mix just until the ingredients are combined.
- Let it cool: allow the cake to cool completely before frosting, or the frosting will melt and become messy.
- Creative frosting: if you want to get creative with your frosting, consider using a piping bag and tips to create decorative swirls or patterns on the cake.
Storage and reheating
You can keep the cream cheese pumpkin bars covered at room temperature the day you make them. For longer storage, keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze, I recommend wrapping the cooled pumpkin cake without the frosting or the pumpkin jam in plastic wrap or a freezer-safe bag. This way, you can freeze it for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, take it out of the freezer, let it come to room temperature and then spread the jam and frosting on top.
Can these pumpkin cream cheese bars be made into a layered cake?
Absolutely! You can double the recipe ingredients or make a small, two-layer cake.
Can I make the pumpkin cream cheese bars in advance?
Yes, you can make them in advance, but I recommend frosting the cake the day you want to serve it. Bake the cake, let it cool, wrap it in plastic wrap and foil and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. The day you want to serve it, make the frosting and slice it into bars.
More recipes to try
PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE BREAD – Moist, soft, and packed with flavor. It’s easy to make and doesn’t require any special skills. The cream cheese filling adds extra flavor and creamy texture.
EASY PUMPKIN TURNOVERS WITH PHYLLO DOUGH – Only seven ingredients, but packed with flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and fresh pumpkin are the perfect combination to warm you up. Ideal for breakfast or an afternoon snack with a cup of hot tea. You don’t want to skip this one!
PUMPKIN SOUP WITH COCONUT MILK – There is nothing better than a bowl of cozy pumpkin soup on a chilly day. This recipe is full of warming herbs and spices that are perfectly paired with the sweetness of roasted pumpkin puree and coconut milk.
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VIDEO: Pumpkin cream cheese bars
Pumpkin cream cheese bars: easy and delicious
- 230 g Cake flour or AP flour 1 ¾ cups
- 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 135 g Sour cream or thick yogurt 1/2 cup
- 100 ml Vegitable oil 1/2 cup
- 100 g Pumpkin jam or puree 1/3 cup
- 2 Eggs 115g
- 100 g Brown sugar 1/2 cup
- 85 g White sugar 1/3 cup
- 2sp t Vanilla extract
- 275 g Pumpkin jam 1 cup
- 250 g Cream cheese 1 cup
- 115 g Butter, soft 1/2 cup
- 120 g Powdered sugar 1 cup
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract or ½ tsp vanilla paste
- 70 g Pumpkin jam 1/4 cup
- In a bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the sour cream, oil, jam, eggs, sugars, and vanilla until homogeneous.
- Add the dry mix to the wet batter and mix until no dry patches remain.
- Transfer the batter to a parchment-lined baking dish or springform. (If you don't want to use parchment paper, you can brush the bottom and sides of the dish with soft butter or oil)
- Bake the cake at 350F (180C) on the middle rack for about 20 minutes; start checking after 18 minutes. When a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of the cake, it's ready. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool.
- Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, take a serrated knife and cut off the dome of the cake so you have a flat surface.
- Spread the pumpkin jam over the top.
Make the frosting:
- In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, soft butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix everything until smooth and creamy, about a minute.
- Spread the cream cheese frosting over the jam.
- Lastly, add dollops of the pumpkin jam on top of the frosting, and using a toothpick, spread the jam, creating a pattern (see videos or photos). Enjoy!