Perfect Pumpkin Bars are soft, cakey and full of Fall spices, pumpkin, raisins, nuts and a simple orange glaze. This three generation family favorite recipe will soon become your favorite too!
This pumpkin bar recipe has been made by three generations of my family. After one bite, you’ll know why.
They are soft, moist and full of warming fall flavor. The best part is how easy and fast they are to make.
Perfect Pumpkin Bars
These simple cakey Pumpkin Bars are bold with seasonal flavor largely from the spices; ginger, cinnamon and mace.
Mace, is a spice that brings my grandmother to mind whenever I use it.
Rarely found in modern day recipes Mace feels like a tie back to the baking of last century.
Mace is availalble in grocery stores but Allspice cam be substituted for it too.
The blend of spices creates an earthy flavor to this lovely cake, deepened with the pumpkin puree and simple orange glaze.
The consistency is like a cake more than a dense, firm bar.
Alternative Baking Idea
The original recipe was adapted from a 1967 Sunset Magazine recipe in my Grandmother’s recipe box.
The baking instructions were different with the original recipe.
- Spreading the batter in a greased 11-inch by 16-inch pan (a jelly roll pan basically)
- Baking at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes until the bars are pulled away from the side of the pan
Somewhere in my family’s making of the bars, the pan size changed along with some of the ingredients.
The larger, cakey texture have become the family tradition and I’ve never made them the other way.
If baking in the alternative method, I’m sure they would be flatter more like a cookie bar.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars
It’s easy to make this pumpkin bar recipe gluten-free.
To make them gluten-free swap the all-purpose flour for a measure-for-measure gluten-free blend.
Measure-for-measure gluten-free flour is intended to swap directly into recipes using gluten flour to provide the same result.
There are several measure-for-measure gluten-free flour brand. My current favorite is from Bob’s Red Mill. It has great flavor and works well to create an excellent baked goods result.
Pumpkin Bars Ingredients
- Unsalted Butter
- Light Brown Sugar
- Pumpkin Puree (canned or homemade)
- All Purpose flour (regular or gluten-free blend)
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Ginger
- Mace (Allspice can be substituted)
- Baking Soda
- Pecans (refer to recipe card for substitution ideas)
- Confectioner’s (powdered) Sugar
- Orange Juice (freshly squeezed)
Easy Orange Glaze
The glaze is made with freshly squeezed orange juice and confectioner’s sugar.
The flavor IS different when using bottled orange juice.
The orange glaze only requires a small amount of juice so squeezing one fresh orange (probably half a juicy orange).
It’s really worth it.
A reader recently shared “Don’t forget the orange glaze-it is delicious and you must use fresh orange juice. I have used the glaze on my pumpkin bread and muffins too‘.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars – Step-by-Step
For a detailed printable recipe refer to the recipe card at the end of the blog post.
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch by 9-inch square pan.
STEP 2: In the bowl of a standing mixer cream together butter and sugar. NOTE: a handheld mixer may also be used.
STEP 3: Add the egg and pumpkin puree (photo 1); beat together .
STEP 4: In a second medium bowl stir together the dry ingredients: flour, spices, baking soda (photo 2 & 3) .
STEP 5: Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture beating until combined (photo 4 & 5).
STEP 6: On low speed mix in raisins and pecans until fully combined.
STEP 7: Pour the batted into the prepared baking pan. Smooth batter with a spatula.
STEP 8: Bake for 25-30 minute until lightly browned and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
STEP 9: To make the glaze whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and orange juice.
STEP 10: After baking cool the pumpkin cake in the pan on a cooling rack. Brush on the glaze while the pumpkin cake is still warm (photo 6).
Allow to cool completely. When fully cooled cut into bars.
More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love
- Pumpkin Chipotle Cream Sauce for Pasta
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds + VIDEO: The Best Method Ever!
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins + VIDEO – An Easy Favorite Fall Recipe
- Black Bean Pumpkin Tamale Pie
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Baked Mac and Cheese
- Pumpkin Blondies
Perfect Pumpkin Bars
- ½ cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter softened
- 1 cup firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Egg , room temperature
- ½ cup Pumpkin Puree (purchased or homemade)
- 1 ½ cup All Purpose Flour (regular or a gluten-free measure-for-measure blend)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Mace (Allspice can be substituted)
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ cup Raisins
- ½ cup chopped Pecans substitution: chopped walnuts or filberts
- 1 cup Confectioner’s (powdered) Sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed Orange Juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch by 9-inch square pan.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer cream together butter and sugar.
- Add egg and pumpkin; beat to combine fully.
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, spices, baking soda.
- Slowly add into butter-sugar-pumpkin mixture until combined.
- n low speed blend raisins and pecans until fully combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out batter to be even.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While the bars are baking prepare the Orange Glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice. When the cake is just out of the oven, brush on the glaze while it is still warm.
- Allow to cool. When fully cooled, cut into bars.
Originally published: October 16, 2011
Moist, soft Pumpkin Bars are full of pecans, raisins and warming spices everyone loves!