If you haven’t tried pumpkin cake before, imagine carrot cake but different. I realise that isn’t helpful but this recipe has the familiar flavourings of cinnamon and the moistness of carrot cake, but the pumpkin provides something slightly different.
I hadn’t tried pumpkin until an American friend I used to work with brought in pumpkin bars for Thanksgiving. I’d never had anything like them, they had such a unique taste and of course because it’s an American recipe they had a lovely cinnamon flavour. Becky was kind enough to give me the recipe so I could make them myself.
These are by far my boyfriend Rien’s favourite cake I have made. He loves carrot cake but he really loves these pumpkin bars and would like me to make them more than the once a year I do.
When I’ve mentioned the pumpkin bars before people automatically assume I spend hours preparing the pumpkin from scratch, but the recipe uses pumpkin puree from a can so it really couldn’t be easier. Libby’s pumpkin puree was recommended to me to be the best to use because it is what Americans use. You can’t get it in every shop so you might have to look around for it. I think Waitrose stock it all year, I have seen it very occasionally in Aldi and I found it the last time in the ethnic food isle in Tesco.
When Rien has taken my carrot cupcakes into work before, his colleagues were surprised that they actually had carrot in them. They then gave me the challenge to see if I could bake with other vegetables and for it to taste good. I knew Rien loved these bars and they were a tested recipe so I decided to make these. No one guessed that they were pumpkin bars but everyone thought they were delicious. I think I passed their test!
The measurements are in cups because it is an American recipe. If you want to make the recipe but don’t have cup measurements, I advise you invest in some as trying to convert the measurements to grams would just cause you a headache and you’d wish you spent the couple of pounds on some cup measurements in the first place! Check out an article on one of my favourite blogs; Sally’s Baking Addiction, to get some tips on how to measure correctly – it’s not as easy as it sounds!
For the cake
1 2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup sunflower oil
1 can pumpkin puree
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC and line a baking tray with baking parchment
- Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly and pour into the baking tray. Use a spatula to ensure the mix is level and right to the corners
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Test with a tooth pick, when it comes out clean the cake is ready
- Cool on a wire rack
- When the cake is completely cool, frost
For the frosting
3oz full fat cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar
Mix all of the ingredients together and spread evenly across the cake. Cut into bars and then watch as everyone keeps coming back for more!