Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll Bars

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll Bars

I made this once before, a long time ago, and I remember thinking it was a bit undercooked. The flavor was there, but it was a little too wet and not cakey enough, so I figured I’ve made about 20 new things since then, and maybe I’ve acquired some baking skills along the way.

Also, I want something to bring to work tomorrow that won’t make me have to give up all the peanut butter cookies and lemon poppy seed sugar cookies that I made yesterday, because we all love them.

I’d also just returned from taking Juliet to a birthday party where the kids ate potato chips, Doritos, cupcakes, pizza, and cotton candy, and I wanted to make a dessert with some depth.

So there you have it: Cream Cheese & Pumpkin Roll Bars.

ingredients assembled

Ignore the bananas and the grilling spray. They had no part in this experiment whatsoever. They were just hanging out.

First task was to use the stand mixer to beat together the butter and the sugar. The problem, though, was that the recipe said to use melted butter, so I didn’t quite get that creamy smooth texture that I’m used to in recipes that start with “beat butter and sugar until smooth”. Instead it got kind of slushy.

eggs pumpkin more

So I quickly added in the eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and water just to ease my baking nerves.

Juliet came by to show off some trains.

juliet trains

And the mixture started to take shape.


Next up, dry ingredients. Whole wheat white flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. I made the cinnamon teaspoons heaping instead of level, and threw some extra nutmeg in as well. I didn’t mess with the cloves or the ginger.

dry ingredients with spices

I whisked everything together, then pulled the other bowl off the mixer stand to combine the two by hand.


Once properly blended, I put that bowl aside and got out the ingredients for the cream cheese part. I used a portable hand mixer for this one since the stand mixer’s bowl & beaters were already in use.

I threw in (light) cream cheese, an egg, vanilla, and sugar, and mixed as best as I could. I felt like this didn’t quite hit the texture I wanted either, but I took a taste and nothing seemed amiss.

cream cheese filling

And then came the part I know have trouble with: layering. I don’t do it well in clothing or baking. (And I love when it’s done well in either one.) I did the best I could to spread two thirds of the mixture out across a 9 x 13 inch pan.

layer 1

Then I vainly tried to create a true layer of the cream cheese filling on top, but things didn’t go exactly as I planned.

layer 2

The final step was to dollop the remaining pumpkin-based batter on top, spread it “evenly” (hah!), and then try to create a swirl with a knife.

layer 3


I popped it into the oven and set it for 30 minutes, but I ended up giving it another 5 after that, in small increments as I checked it. I was still wary of underbaking.

It came out looking rather good and smelling delicious.

fresh from the oven

And after it had cooled a bit, I cut a piece to see how my cream cheese layer fared.

one piece

Look at that! I think that’s actually how it’s supposed to look! Quelle surprise.

And then it passed the final test: would Nathaniel consider it enough of a treat to finish the piece I gave him?

Nathaniel tasting

It’s a hit! I took a wee bite myself, and it’s pretty irresistible. We’ll see how it fares at the office tomorrow, and if the kids look dismayed by how much of it I take with me.


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