These healthy Pumpkin Bars are 100% whole grain with a simple maple cream cheese frosting. Use whole wheat or oat flour for a gluten free version. The bars are perfect with your afternoon coffee and even make a yummy sweet breakfast!
There really isn't much not to love about fall! A break from the sweltering heat of summer, nature showing its colorful side and of course all things pumpkin!
Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving and even pumpkin hummus - there really isn't much I shy away from turning pumpkin flavored during this time of year. Especially not a yummy spice cake!
These pumpkin squares are almost like a quick bread only baked in a larger pan. The pumpkin puree makes for a super moist, soft and fluffy texture - even though it is made with 100% whole grain flour.
And then there are the rolled oats that give the cake a wonderful chewy texture contrast. The entire cake is naturally sweetened with unrefined sugar. I use muscovado cane sugar but you can also use coconut sugar.
Even the simple cream cheese frosting has only pure maple syrup added for sweetness! Freshly grated nutmeg sprinkled over top gives this cake its final touch.
Paired with a mug of hot coffee or tea these pumpkin oat bars spell a perfect fall afternoon to me. You may even find me enjoying it for breakfast - there are oats in here after all!
How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Bars
This is a really easy pumpkin bar recipe. You don't even need a mixer to whip up the batter - just a couple of bowls and a wooden spoon.
Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. This includes the whole wheat (or oat) flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl whisk together the brown (muscovado or coconut sugar), pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until everything is smoothly combined.
Then add the dry mix to the wet ingredients and stir just until everything is combined. Don't overmix! Only stir until no dry pockets flour remain.
Bake the batter in a greased 9x13-inch pan for 30-40 minutes. Then let the pumpkin cake bars cool before frosting.
Simple Cream Cheese Frosting
While the baked pumpkin cake is cooling you can whip up the frosting. This is the simplest cream cheese frosting ever!
All you need is softened cream cheese and maple syrup for sweetness. A hand mixer is easiest to combine the two. But with some arm muscle strength you might also get it done with just a hand whisk.
Spread the frosting over the cooled pumpkin bars. And grate some fresh nutmeg over the frosting or sprinkle some more pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon over the top.
This recipe only adds a thin layer of frosting to each pumpkin square. If you prefer a thicker frosting layer, double or even triple the frosting recipe.
How to Store Pumpkin Bars
Once you have frosted the pumpkin dessert bars with the maple cream cheese frosting they need to be stored in the fridge, where they'll last about 4-5 days. They are best when covered to keep from drying and to keep the frosting from taking on other smells from the fridge.
Without the frosting you can store the pumpkin spice bars at room temperature for a few days. Unfrosted the healthy pumpkin bars can also be frozen. Wrapped airtight they will last several months in the freezer.
Items I used to make these Pumpkin Bars
For healthier sweetness with more minerals than refined white sugar I like to use Muscovado Sugar in my baking. It is cane sugar that is less refined and still retains the natural molasses. So in a sense it is natural brown sugar.
I baked these easy pumpkin bars in my 9x13 glass baking dish. It comes with a cover which is perfect for storing the bars in the fridge or when you want to take these pumpkin oatmeal bars to a potluck.
More healthy Pumpkin Recipes You'll Love:
Healthy Pumpkin Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1.5 cup whole wheat or oat flour
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1.75 cups muscovado sugar (unrefined brown sugar) or coconut sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 1 cup cream cheese softened
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with butter or oil.
- In a large bowl whisk together rolled oats, flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine muscovado sugar, pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, eggs and vanilla.
- Add the dry to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in pan.
- For the frosting, beat together the softened cream cheese and maple syrup with a hand mixer until smooth. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Then grate some fresh nutmeg over top (alternatively you can sprinkle a little more pumpkin pie spice over the frosting).
- Store the Healthy Pumpkin Bars covered and in the fridge.