Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Cake Bars & Cream Cheese Frosting

browned butter pumpkin bar with cream cheese

We spend our Thanksgiving holiday hopping from one meal to the next. So the weekend after Thanksgiving in our home is always the time when we put on our own feast. And let’s face it, the one food group I never get tired of is dessert! So we use our usual weekend baking to create a festive Thanksgiving treat.

This year we had an abundance of pumpkin. Canned pumpkin, fresh pie pumpkin puree, we had it all! So, you lucky readers, are about to see the tale of the greatest pumpkin dessert you will ever taste.

If you have ever pondered a way to add a nutty, amber, aromatic and elevated oomph to a dish, you must try brown butter. Brown butter will instantly boost the depth of every and all flavors of a recipe while bringing them together simultaneously. Brown butter is butter that is cooked until the milk solids become toasty, nutty, and brown.

Since Brown Butter, Clarified Butter, and Ghee have similar properties, there is often confusion on the difference between them.  A wonderful source of clarity between these three can be found on Epicurious, Clarified Butter, Ghee, and Brown Butter: What’s the Difference?

As butter browns you will notice how it foams and the brown bits form. It only takes about three minutes on medium heat from start to finish. When you get that nutty aroma and see the color turn from golden to amber, you know it is time to transfer the brown butter from the stove top. This intriguing creation is so simple to make. Just take a look at this video on How to Make Brown Butter.

While I went to work on the Brown Butter, Bea measured out brown sugar and Pumpkin pie spice in a big bowl.

Once the brown butter is ready, pour it right into that mixture of brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice.


Just smell that flavor. There is nothing like the toasty power of brown butter! While some opt to leave out the bits that form on the bottom of your pan, I add it all in for that extra intensity. Then add your egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.


In a separate bowl you will have your flour, salt, and baking powder whisked and ready to incorporate.


Flecked with warm, bold spices and that amber brown butter, this batter is Fall-icious!


Once it is spread into your buttered pan, bake this for about 25-30 minutes.

After it cools you will get to work on your frosting. Beware of thieves with a sweet tooth!

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As you can see form this slideshow, these are too tasty to wait for! What was left, we frosted with a creamy, whipped frosting that consisted of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. This flavor combination enhanced without overpowering the pumpkin pie and brown butter flavors of this dessert bar. Your hardest decision with this recipe? To frost or not to frost!


The texture of this bar is a cross between pumpkin pie and a cake, hence the name!

And the taste… oo la la! Intense, nutty, buttery, pumpkin spiced, creamy, and just dreamy that gets even better the next day!


Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Cake Bars & Cream Cheese Frosting

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Cake Bars


  • 8 Tablespoons of Brown Butter – See video above
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 cup of pure pumpkin puree (1/2 a can)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×9 pan. Mix your brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Make your brown butter by melting a stick of butter over medium heat, swirling, then taking it off the heat once it is amber in color and giving off that nutty aroma. Add this to your sugar, spice mixture.Then add an egg, the pure pumpkin puree, and the vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. In a small bowl mix your flour, salt, and baking powder before adding that to the pumpkin mixture. Spread into your pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting!

Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 4 tablespoons of Butter
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup of powdered sugar


With a hand mixer cream butter and cream cheese. Then add in powdered sugar and vanilla and whip it all together until fluffy. Then spread over cooled bars and/or eat by the spoonful!

Note- this can easily be doubled! Questions on how to do this or anything else within this recipe? Send me an email!