Spiced Pumpkin Bars
1-2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 (15- to 16-ounce) can pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 15-x10-x1-inch baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper.
In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until wooden pick comes out clean when poked into middle of cake.
Cool completely. Frost as bars, with either Orange Cream Cheese Frosting or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, or cut pumpkin shapes with a cookie cutter. Cut each little pumpkin shape in half to make two thin pumpkin shapes. Spread a thick layer of Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting on one half of each pumpkin shape. Put together like a sandwich. Frost the outside with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting and decorate as desired. Frosted pumpkin-shaped bars can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed plastic container. Bring the bars to room temperature before serving.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
12 drops yellow food coloring
4 drops red food coloring
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla and blend. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating well until smooth. Add food coloring and blend.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon chunks, room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
In a large mixing bowl, use electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese together until blended and smooth. Add powdered sugar gradually, beating until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat mixture until thoroughly combined.
Tip from the cook
--To melt chocolate, coarsely chop, then place in a double boiler or a glass bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Use a metal spoon or rubber spatula to stir chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Avoid any moisture getting into the chocolate. It will stiffen into a coagulated mass unsuitable for use.