Vegan Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting | Living Healthy in Seattle

Cake cake cake cake cake cake cake….

(Bonus points if you repeatedly belted out “cake” Rihanna style… in your head of course.)

And if you’re now thoroughly confused.

Don’t worry about it.

Because Rihanna groupie or not, today I’m presenting you with pumpkin spice cake!

Slathered with none other than maple cream cheese frosting.

Yeah yeah, I guess they’re called “bars,” but technically this right here is a little sheet cake.

A sheet cake that you + another lucky individual yourself could easily polish off in one sitting.

But really you should savor and share because the holidays are approaching wayyy too dang fast and I know your goal is to make it onto that nice list this year.

This cake is actually quite nice itself because it’s on the healthy end of the cake spectrum (while still tasting tasty of course) and it’s friggin’ vegan!

Whaaa… how?

Well it turns out you really don’t need eggs to make cake and there are some decent butter and cream cheese substitutes floating around out there.

Ahhh okay.

See, the cake itself contains a generous dose of canned pumpkin, plus some unsweetened applesauce, peanut oil (or whatever neutral oil you got hanging around), pure vanilla extract, coconut sugar, whole wheat flour, AP flour, ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, plus a pinch of salt!

Lick the batter remenants out of the mixing bowl because yeah it’s that good.

Now for the frosting, all you have to do is beat a few tablespoons of a vegan buttery stick (woo hoo) with vegan cream cheese, pure maple syrup, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract.

Slather time.

(Do make sure your bars are cool, or the frosting is going to melt then consequently slip and slide all over the place.)

Top your mouth-watering cake/bars with roasted salted pecan pieces then you’re all set!

Slice and serve.

Or take a fork to your creation right out of the pan when no one’s watching.

Fido did it…

P.S. Make this thing gluten-free by swapping in gluten-free all-purpose flour. (You’ll need one cup total.)

P.P.S. Baking times can vary quite a bit depending on your oven, pan, and elevation (life’s complicated, get used to it) sooo watch the thing like a hawk and start jabbing the center with a knife around 20 minutes to check for doneness. It could take 25 minutes so don’t get too eager because the center will be a bit battery still.

P.P.P.S. You could easily swap in walnuts for the pecans but I do highly recommend nuts if you’re not allergic. This cake isn’t worth dying for, really.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 8

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (I use peanut oil)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or all-purpose gluten-free flour); plus more for dusting pan
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose gluten-free flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Frosting:
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter (I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks); room temp, plus more for greasing pan
  • 4 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti); room temp
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup salted toasted pecans; roughly chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl fitted with the wire whisk attachment, beat the pumpkin, oil, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
  5. Grease a metal 9x9" baking pan with vegan butter then dust with flour, discarding any excess flour that doesn't stick.
  6. Pour the batter in the greased pan and spread to even out if necessary.
  7. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (The bars will continue to cook a bit after you remove them from the oven.)
  8. Cool completely on a metal rack before frosting.
  9. For the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese, cinnamon, vanilla, and syrup together until well combined.
  10. Spread over the bars then top with the pecans.

 

 

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