A fall spice flavored cake-like bar topped with everyone’s favorite cream cheese frosting. Mine uses acorn squash but you can substitute with pumpkin or even butternut squash!
I made a bunch of acorn squash puree to bake some quick bread. Since I didn’t use up all the puree, I had some leftover and wasn’t quite sure what to bake. I wanted to make something that would feed a crowd (namely the parents of Addie’s gymnastics classmates) and give everyone plenty of slices to taste.
I found a recipe for pumpkin bars and made multiple tweaks to fit my tastes. I swapped out the pumpkin puree for acorn squash since that is what I had. I also replaced the oil for applesauce and reduced the sugar (and substituted some of it with brown sugar). I also subbed the cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice.
Not going to lie to you here. These bars turned out more like cake, but I am definitely not complaining. It was soft and fluffy like a cake, and the frosting made it even more cake-like. If you are looking for a sturdy bar with a shortbread-like crust, this is not it.
I told our friends that this was a pumpkin cake. Nobody knew the difference and it was a hit with everyone who tried it. Even Addie gobbled hers down very quickly and didn’t leave a crumb on her plate. Looks like another winning recipe.
Acorn squash (or pumpkin) cake bars with cream cheese frosting
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup acorn squash puree can substitute with pumpkin puree
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 recipe cream cheese frosting
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9"x13" baking pan and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix together the eggs, sugars, applesauce and squash/pumpkin puree on medium speed until the mixture is uniform.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Frost the top of the bars with the cream cheese frosting once the bars have cooled completely.