Make pumpkin bars with only 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree for a "Micro Ladies Girls Night" tonight. Source of the original recipe unknown (from a collection of recipes in a fundraiser cookbook).
I can adapt a recipe for a 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly roll pan to fit an 8" cake pan by cutting the recipe in thirds, then adjusting the weird volumes to standard measurements.
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (approximately 1/3 of a 15 oz can)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg + 1 egg white
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
dash of cloves
dash of cardamom
1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease one 8" round cake pan.
2. Mix pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, egg and egg white until well combined.
3. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves and cardamom until smooth.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the middle springs back when you touch it.
5. Cool completely (in the pan or out of the pan if you want to serve it on a plate).
6. Top with Cream Cheese Butter Frosting (recipe follows).
The finished product was slightly domed in the middle and a nice orange color with good flavor. The spices were not overpowering. The volume of batter was perfect for the 8" cake pan. The finished product was not tall enough to be a cake so can accurately keep the title "pumpkin bars."
Discussion and Future Directions
The pumpkin bars were delicious and disappeared quickly. For fun, I frosted the cake with light orange frosting, made a texture that reminded me of a pumpkin and used green frosting to make a stem. Not only was it cute, it was also fun to cut! It is hard to cut a circle into squares, so we cut it like a jack-o-lantern and gobbled it up piece by piece.
These pumpkin bars were very simple to make. The flavor is good as written, but could easily be made spicier with more cinnamon and spices. The cardamom isn't necessary, but it's a spice I don't use often, so I get excited when I get a chance to use it! These were delicious. And the best part--I didn't have to make a full jelly roll pan! Living alone, it's disappointing to bake and either get sick of a flavor before I've eaten all of something or not eat it fast enough and it goes bad. This was the perfect size for a gathering of 5 girls who were so busy chatting that only 1 or 2 of the 5 felt the earthquake that hit during dessert! I say one or two because I felt something, but nobody said anything so I just assumed I had imagined it. Thirty minutes or so later someone else asked if we'd felt the floor shaking. Strange!
As an aside: when I use egg yolks for recipes, I freeze the whites in an ice cube tray then store them in labeled baggie in the freezer. One egg white is approximately one cube. When a recipe calls for egg whites, I thaw a cube and use that instead of cracking open a fresh egg. For baked goods, a fresh egg white is no different than an egg white that has been frozen, though I would recommend bringing it close to room temperature before using it (and don't try microwaving it to thaw it..).
Cream Cheese Butter Frosting
1.5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 Tbs.) butter, softened
1/2 tsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.