Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my favorite things about fall is baking with pumpkin. It truly is one of those ingredients that you like or don’t like. I always get excited when I see pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pies, and even pumpkin bagels at the local bakeries in my neighborhood. One of my specialty is the elusive and oh-so-delicious pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting.

At work, I’m the resident baker. I love to bring in goodies for my colleagues. I truly love to bake and I know it’s because I love seeing the satisfaction on the faces of those that are eating it. This is by far one of the easiest recipes to use and I’ve had it since 2004. After I graduated from college, I worked at Marshall Field’s that summer before I found a “real” job and one of the best things about working at MF was the cooking demos they had in the kitchen department. One summery day, they were demonstrating pumpkin bars and giving out samples. I think this is where I really had a pumpkin bar for the first time and I fell in love with the flavors. It was so tasty that I had to nab a copy of the recipe that they were handing out, and now I’m sharing that recipe (with minor alterations) with you. Enjoy and happy baking!


1/2 cup butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese

3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


4 eggs

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 can (15 oz.)  solid pack pumpkin (DO NOT BUY PUMPKIN PIE MIX)

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. To prepare the frosting, beat softened butter and cream cheese until well

blended. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. In a separate

bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt;

gradually add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.

4. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13″ pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool

completely. Ice with Cream Cheese Frosting.

MAKES 48 bars.

NOTES and TIPS: You can also use an 11 x 14″ pan – cook time is still between 25-30 minutes. Line the pan with parchment paper and let it hang over the sides so that you can easily lift the bars out of the pan after their cooled – so much easier to ice them and cut them afterwards.


should I set a plate for you?

I’ve tried the whole blogging thing several times in the last three years and it’s never really stuck. I write avidly for a month or so and then I’ll stop all together. It happens. So why another blog? Good question. My past blogs didn’t work because I didn’t have a focus – I was just writing about random crap and it got boring really fast. So this time, I have a focus. I love to cook and bake and every time I post a picture of something I make, people are always requesting the recipe. I figured it’d be easier to share my recipes all in one place, so I bring to you my new blog – PERPETUAL APPETITE (great name, if I do say so myself…) – a blog that will feature recipes, ingredients, wine, and restaurant reviews – a blog totally dedicated to all things related to food. I like it. I hope you’ll enjoy this journey and culinary experience with me.

With the holidays coming, I’m sure my blog will be buzzing with updates as I add recipes to it – examples of a few of my  Thanksgiving favorites – pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, caramel pecan pie, double-layer pumpkin pie, Granny M’s potatoes, baby reds mashed potatoes – I better stop, I’m getting hungry here. Sit back, enjoy, and I dare you to use my recipes. Trust me, they’re simple and absolutely full of flavor. Even if you’re inexperienced, I guarantee that you’ll knock the socks off of those around you when you use my recipes.

I leave you this advice – always see,  touch, hear, smell, and taste your food. Use all your senses when it comes to appreciating food while eating or preparing it.

SIGHT: The appearance of food always makes my mouth water

TOUCH: When I cook, sometimes some of the ingredients have smooth, bumpy, soft, and hard textures – it’s amazing what cooking or baking will do to an ingredient

HEARING: Some food items have a sound and you can experience it by listening to the snap of pea as you bite into it or hear the crackling of rice krispies as it’s drowning in milk

SMELL: coffee, citrus, vanilla, pizza, pasta, chocolate chip cookies, a beautiful bold Cabernet, a fruit-forward Pinot Noir – yes, I just described some of my favorite food scents

TASTE: Nothing beats the ability to taste and savor something delicious

Let’s start this food journey…