Moist and tender pumpkin spice bars with white chocolate chunks are the ultimate autumn dessert or sweet snack! This flavorful cake is perfect for those inevitable pumpkin spice cravings, and the bits of sweet white chocolate just make it that much better.
Bonus: these are super easy to make, with no electric mixer needed. You can also change up the recipe by substituting semisweet chocolate chips or chopped nuts instead of white chocolate. Whatever floats your boat!
White Chocolate Pumpkin Snack Cake
This buttery pumpkin snack cake is super moist and oh so delicious. It did not last long in our household, that’s for sure!
We enjoyed this cake without any frosting on top, but you can definitely add any sort of topping you want. Cream cheese frosting would make it even more decadent-tasting.
These pumpkin bars are perfectly spiced, with plenty of pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice flavor without being overpowering. This recipe uses a homemade mix of spices that tastes just like pumpkin spice, without having to stock up on a pre-made pumpkin spice mix.
If you’re ready to immerse yourself in the spirit of fall, this is definitely the way to do it. 🙂 You might also like these no bake pumpkin cheesecake bars, these pecan sweet potato blondies, or these mini apple crumb tarts!
A few notes on the ingredients in these pumpkin cake bars:
- Use plain canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Libby’s is one of my favorite canned food brands, and their pumpkin puree has a good texture for baking (not too liquidy).
- Brown sugar gives these bars a nice hint of caramelized flavor, but you can use all white granulated sugar (instead of just 1/4 cup) instead if preferred.
- For the pumpkin spice flavor, we’re tossing in a combination of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves. (If you’re using a pre-mixed pumpkin spice mix, use about 2 teaspoons total.)
- For the white chocolate chunks, I recommend using a high quality white chocolate bar like Lindt or Ghirardelli. White chocolate chips can be substituted if needed.
Have extra white chocolate? Try these strawberry white chocolate cheesecake bars or these oatmeal white chocolate raspberry cookies! These blueberry white chocolate muffins are also delicious.
Have extra pumpkin puree? Try this maple pumpkin panna cotta!
How to Make Pumpkin Bars
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients in a small bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices).
In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter and both types of sugars until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
Then, sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir with a spatula until just combined. Gently fold in the white chocolate chunks.
Pour the batter into a parchment paper-lined square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Do not overbake, or the cake may turn out dry! The center of the cake will feel soft to the touch, but will continue cooking and firm up after it’s out of the oven.
Allow the cake to cool completely, then slice carefully with a large, sharp knife.
Pumpkin Snack Cake Storage Tips
Cover the pan tightly (or move bars to an airtight container) and store on the counter at room temperature for up to 3 days.
If you do decide to add frosting with dairy in it (like cream cheese frosting), you’ll need to store these bars in the fridge. (Keep in mind: refrigerating the bars can dry them out, so avoid making them too far in advance).
Here are a few tips to make sure your pumpkin bars turn out perfect:
- Don’t overbake. You want moist pumpkin cake, and overbaking will cause it to dry out.
- Be sure to whisk the melted butter and sugar well to ensure it dissolves enough.
- Sift your dry ingredients (flour, spices, etc.) into the wet ingredients to avoid any flour clumps or large bits of spice.
- Make sure your bars cool completely before slicing, or the slices will be messy!
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Spice
You can easily make a pumpkin spice mix at home! It starts with a good amount of cinnamon, some ground nutmeg, some ground ginger, and a touch of ground cloves.
You can always put in more or less of your favorite spice, of course. Allspice is another popular spice included in pumpkin spice mixes. Feel free to toss in a pinch of that, too, if you want!
If you’re looking for a fun dessert for spooky season, check out these Halloween Oreo dirt cups!
Mix-Ins & Topping Ideas for Pumpkin Spice Bars
There are lots of ways to change up this recipe. For example, swap out the white chocolate chunks for:
- semisweet chocolate chips
- chopped pecans or walnuts
- shredded coconut
And if you want, add some topping! Here’s some inspiration:
- cream cheese frosting
- Greek yogurt & maple syrup “frosting”
- maple buttercream
- chocolate ganache
I honestly can’t believe I hadn’t tried the white chocolate and pumpkin combination before. This is the perfect snack cake to satisfy your autumn-inspired sweet tooth. 🙂
If you make these pumpkin spice bars, I’d love if you shared your thoughts with a rating and comment below!
More baked desserts to try:
- Raspberry Almond Blondies
- Biscoff Mug Cake (No Egg)
- Matcha Brownies with White Chocolate
- Hazelnut Banana Bread Bars with Nutella Swirl
- Mini Baked Blueberry Glazed Donuts
- Oatmeal White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
- Blueberry Walnut Blondie Bars
Pumpkin Spice Bars with White Chocolate
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled to measure)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup plain pumpkin puree (canned, room temperature)
- ½ cup white chocolate*, chopped (plus more for topping, if desired)
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit (176° Celsius). Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, vigorously whisk melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Whisk well until combined.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir with a spatula until just combined, with no flour streaks. Gently fold in white chocolate chunks.
- Pour the batter into the lined baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. (The center will feel somewhat soft to the touch, but will firm up.)
- Let cool, then slice into bars!