In keeping with the fall theme I couldn't wait to give these Pumpkin Cake Bars a try! Unlike a lot of dense pumpkin bar recipes these cake bars bake up very moist and fluffy in texture with a delicious spicy pumpkin pie flavor accented with a warm crunch of toasted walnuts that is perfect for this time of the year.
Because you bake these cake bars in a half-sheet pan they are the perfect dessert to bring along to a Halloween party or any fall get together: frost and slice in the pan and just bring it along to your venue in the pan! Super easy and tasty dessert. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with Pam. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the oven is preheated toast the walnuts for around 8-10 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Set nuts aside to cool. When nut have cooled completely, chop and divide the nuts for baking and the rest for the topping. Set aside.
Cake: In a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. I also added 1/8 tsp. of ground cardamon to the spice mix for a little extra flavor. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the sugars and oil until completely smooth and combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated. I added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for some extra flavor.
Beat in the pumpkin puree until combined. Mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until combined, then quickly stir in the nuts, raisins (I used dark raisins because I didn't have any yellow raisins on hand) and ginger chips until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan and evenly smooth batter with off-set spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.
Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the maple syrup and then add the powdered sugar. Beat until a nice frosting comes together.
When cake is
cooled cover with the frosting using a off-set spatula. Sprinkle
frosting with remaining chopped nuts. I like to refrigerate the frosted
cake for at least 30 minutes for easier cutting. When cake is chilled,
remove from pan using the edges of parchment paper and cut into squares.
Tip: You can save yourself some time by making the frosting the night before and storing in the fridge. Let frosting sit out to room temperature for 30 minutes before spreading on cake.