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Super moist and flavorful Apple Pumpkin Cake Bars, crowned with an apple-pear streusel topping and a cinnamon cream cheese drizzle! Your new favorite fall treat is here!
Yes, indeed. Another pumpkin recipe.
I told you last week, it was here to stay, at least for a few weeks. But I promise, I’ll try to mix it up.
For instance, these Apple Pumpkin Cake Bars; they have apples and pears inside the pumpkin.
You have to be prepared! The people, they want all the gourdy goodness!!
These Apple Pumpkin Cake Bars, you guys.
I’ve had some pretty wonderful pumpkin flavored treats throughout my life, from homemade to store bought; but this cake is really something special.
I had a hard time deciding what to call it, because, to be honest, it kind of turned out the way it did by accident. A string of them, actually.
My besties’s mom nailed it – it’s a dump cake.
I can’t stand that name. It sounds like something you clean out of a diaper.
Nothing against dump cakes! They’re delish; but this cake doesn’t LOOK like a dump cake.
It has so many components, I couldn’t fit them all in the name without ticking off Twitter and Google. And, if I’m being real, I’m not even sure I can call them bars, since you need a fork to eat them.
They’re seriously so moist, they practically fall apart when you try to pick them up.
I maybe should have par-baked the cake before I topped it with the apple-pear compote.
I maybe should have taken the advice I give in this recipe and cooled and strained the compote before dumping it on the cake. (I still recommend this – there was a LOT of juice left over.)
Then, I maybe would have gotten the end result I desired – of a lovely apple-pear-pumpkin-streusel bar you could eat with your hands.
But then, I maybe wouldn’t have ended up with the most incredibly moist, crumby fall cake I’ve ever tasted, much less made myself.
The denseness of the fruit, plus the buoyancy of the cake batter allowed the two components to come together so perfectly; some of the apples and pears sank partially into the batter, ensuring every bite contained an even mix of cake and fruit.
I admit, I had no problem eating this for breakfast.
And second-breakfast. And all those other meals.
I could have taken down the whole pan single-handedly, which is why I sent most of it home with my bestie.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I can work in a bakery, and then bake so much at home, and not weigh 1000 pounds.
For some people, self-control is key. For me, it’s guilt.
Sweets are my guilty pleasure, and I stop eating them when the guilt kicks in. Maybe reluctantly, but I stop.
And I go to the gym as often as possible (which is never enough).
But I could never forsake the good things in life. YOLO. Annoying, but true.
Apple Pumpkin Cake Bars
- 2 pounds apples peeled and chopped (I used 4 Gala)
- 1 1/2 pounds pears diced (about 3)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter slightly softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 large eggs
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
- 2 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place apples and pear in medium saucepan with ginger, water, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean paste. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer under a lid for 16-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is semi-translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain before use.
- Place dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Cut in butter with your fingers, a fork, or a pastry blender until butter is incorporated and streusel chunks have formed.
- Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together until combined.
- In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, applesauce, and eggs. Stir with wooden spoon until combined.
- Add the dry mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour mix into prepared 9x13 pan. Gently drop strained Apple-Pear compote on top of cake, then top with streusel mixture.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in pan, then cut cake into 2-inch bars.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
- In a small bowl, stir the sifted confectioners sugar and cinnamon into the cream cheese with a rubber spatula until well combined.
- Microwave icing for 30 seconds until thin and drizzle on cake bars.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?