Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pumpkin "Bars" with Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing - made November 30, 2010 from More from Magnolia Bakery (book #16)

I love Magnolia Bakery.  They're based in New York and are famous for their cupcakes but ironically it was their brownies I liked best when I tried them in Manhattan several years ago.  Since then I've bought both their cookbooks as well as the Buttercup Bake Shop cookbook (same owners).  The recipes I've tried from all 3 cookbooks have pretty much always turned out so I had high confidence in this one.  That confidence wasn't misplaced.  This is a perfect dessert to bring to a potluck or any kind of gathering.  It bakes in a 9 x 13 pan so you'll have enough for a crowd and is very simple to make.  I think it took longer for my oven to preheat than for me to mix this together so if you're pressed for time this holiday season, this is a good option.

I wouldn't call them "bars" as much as I would call this a pumpkin cake, simply because the texture is all cake and isn't dense like you'd expect a bar cookie to be.  I omitted the pecans, of course, but if you want to dress it up a little, you could always add on cooled toasted pecans as a garnish to the frosting.  If you wanted to go a little fancier, make in 2 8-inch cake layers and frost with the cream cheese frosting then garnish with pecans.  Regardless of the shape and look, it tastes good, especially if you like the pumpkin-cinnamon-cream cheese flavor combination.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin puree
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil, preferably canola
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (optional)
½ recipe Cream Cheese Icing
½ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans for garnish

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.       Grease and lightly flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
3.       In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
4.       In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the pecans, if using.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.
5.       Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing the top with cream cheese icing.  Garnish with pecans as desired.
Cream Cheese Icing (make only half the recipe for the cake)

16 ounces cream cheese
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
5 cups confectioners’ sugar

  1. Combine butter and cream cheese and beat until smooth.  Add vanilla.  Add confectioners’ sugar gradually until desired consistency.

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