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Monday, June 29, 2015

Grandma's Frosted Pumpkin Squares

Soft and simple pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting, you may know them as pumpkin bars or pumpkin squares.  Either way, these are the things fall dreams are made of! A perennial family favorite. 

piece of pumpkin bars/cake with cream cheese frosting sitting on glass plate

     Soft pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting. These bars are a fall must make.  They are a perfect dessert for a crowd.  You can whip up the batter in just a few minutes.  The cream cheese frosting makes them creamy and irresistible. Pumpkin bars are the perfect autumnal treat!

    My grandma turned 80 a couple of days ago!   It is hard to believe she is 80.  

    She is still so vibrant!  After raising six kids, it is amazing she has any energy left. 

    She drums in an Irish band and always has something fun going on.  She grew up on Lake Michigan and goes home for a class reunion almost every year.  

old picture of grandma on the pier on lake michigan

    A bunch of us got together for dinner to celebrate her big day.  We met at a local restaurant where my uncle runs an open mic night.  

   So, grandma read a poem and then drummed while my uncle piped.  He also played guitar and harmonica while singing a few songs.  

    We all had the best time.  I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate grandma's birthday (other than maybe all going up and partying lake front!)

Collage of pictures from grandma's birthday party

    So, I thought it would be fun to make one of her recipes.  With all of the rain lately, I have been in a baking mood.  

    So, I looked through the stack of recipes I have from her and ended up on her pumpkin squares.  I know it is an strange time of year to post pumpkin baked goods, but I had all of the ingredients on hand.  

   Plus I was already planning on making another recipe that used the rest of the can of pumpkin, so it worked really nicely.  Besides, I could eat pumpkin treats and cream cheese frosting any time!!

little dude stirring up ingredients for pumpkin squares

  I had a very good helper for this recipe.  He loves to dump things in the bowl and help stir.  I love having him help, even if it does mean a bit of extra mess!

half sheet pan of pumpkin bars with corner piece missing

Some more recipes that make me think of grandma:

piece of chocolate texas sheet cake being lifted out of pan

creamed chipped beef on toast with peas

glass mug of grandma's peach punch

pumpkin bars, pumpkin sheet cake, easy pumpkin cake, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting
Yield: 24 servings
Author: Cooking With Carlee
Grandma's Frosted Pumpkin Squares

Grandma's Frosted Pumpkin Squares

Soft pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting. These bars are a fall must make. They are a perfect dessert for a crowd. You can whip up the batter in just a few minutes. The cream cheese frosting makes them creamy and irresistible. Pumpkin bars are the perfect autumnal treat!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 40 Min


Pumpkin Cake
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk (or more, as needed)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a half sheet pan (about 13x18x1).
  2. Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Cool completely, then make frosting.
  7. To make frosting, combine all ingredients. You can add more milk a few drops at a time if you'd like to thin it out. You want a nice spreadable consistency.
  8. Spread over cooled bars and enjoy!



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Soft pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting. These bars are a fall must make.  They are a perfect dessert for a crowd.  You can whip up the batter in just a few minutes.  The cream cheese frosting makes them creamy and irresistible. Pumpkin bars are the perfect autumnal treat!


  1. Could I borrow your little helper when I make these?

  2. Sounds like your grandmother is one awesome lady! These pumpkin squares sound delicious.

    1. She really is! She always has something going on and is so much fun! Thank you!

  3. Happy Birthday to your grandma, sounds like you all had a wonderful celebration! These pumpkin squares sounds so good, my son loves pumpkin bread and I make it year round too, he would absolutely love these squares with the cream cheese frosting, pinning to try!

    1. Thank you! She is the best, that is for sure. She is one of those ladies that has never met a stranger and is a terrific story teller. I hope your son loves these!

  4. The cake squares look great... and they are even better with all of the great memories attached. :)

  5. Happy birthday to your grandma and also I loved your cute helper. Grandma's recipes are always a treasure so it is good that you have them. Thanks for sharing with us at #WednesdaysWisdom

    1. Thank you! He has been a very good help. Grandma's recipes are always good, she puts a little extra love in them!

  6. Grandma Rees sound like a pretty fab lady! I love family favourite recipes, there is something lovely about making the same thing for your kids that you had made for you when you were little.

    1. It is a lot of fun reenacting some of your favorite childhood memories with your kids. My grandma really is the best! I am very lucky to have her so close.

  7. I LOVE the traditional old-time recipes. I so WISH I had my grandma's cookbook. She used to cook for a gang on the farm homestead, Millbrook Farm in Schoolcraft, Michigan. That is where I remember her the best.

    1. A lot of my favorite memories with grandma are in the kitchen too. I used to get to go over early on some holidays and help her get ready. We keep saying we need to go through her stack to get some more of her mom and grandma's recipes. Hopefully we get to that soon!

  8. I'm drooling right now! This looks so good. Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for bringing this to our party and we hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm. Lou Lou Girls

  9. Looks delicious! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! This post has been pinned on the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! I love having you and can't wait to see you next week!

  10. Happy birthday to your sweet Grandma! She looks amazing, and this recipe does too! It's almost fall and time for all things pumpkin - I'll definitely be giving these a try!

    1. Thank you! She really is the best. Always up to something. Between the coffee girls, book club, the band and drum circles she keeps pretty busy. These really are amazing, I will certainly be making more in the fall!

  11. This looks so delish! Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at Funtastic Friday. Please join us again this week.

    1. Thank you! They are a family favorite, that is for sure!

  12. These look absolutely divine Carlee. I am loving some pumpkin spice and cream cheese! I will have to try this very soon! I am sharing and saving this recipe. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I hope to be getting around like your Grandma at 80! Such a blessing. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you and yours in all your endeavors!

    1. We are very lucky that all 4 of my grandparents are octogenarians and still getting around and doing most everything they love on their own. They might play fewer rounds of golf than they used to or accept help mowing the lawn, but they really haven't slowed down much! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you love the pumpkin squares!

  13. I love Grandma recipes - well you can tell because I make a couple of these! I'm keeping that punch in mind, too, for a future summer party! This cake sounds divine!!



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