Lauren: Pumpkin-Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s pumpkin season, people!

Caro and I have been awaiting the arrival of this particular week on the blog since before it was even a thing, way back in May. In fact, our first food column in Student Life was about pumpkin-flavored muffins and pancakes. Speaking of which I really need to make those pancakes again, they’re so tasty and festive.

While pumpkin is a welcome addition to many foods, it can also totally suck. As Caro and I discovered when making those pumpkin chocolate chip muffins last spring, and which I reaffirmed only a month ago with some pumpkin donut muffins (photo below), it’s easy for pumpkin to be bland, tasteless, rubbery, and pretty much any other synonym you can think of for disappointing.

I knew extra-careful research was necessary for this particular ingredient theme. There would be no more pumpkin disappointments in my house! When I found these “skinny” pumpkin-banana bars, I knew and feared that this would be a recipe so spicy, moist, and seasonal that it wouldn’t tolerate being made only once a year for say, Thanksgiving. Nope. It was practically begging to be made right there and then, and then promptly scarfed down while standing around the kitchen island. Seats be damned!

Let me tell you, this cake is so good that it deserves to be eaten standing up. Preferably while listening to your friend tell you stories of office romances and workplace weirdos. Thanks to the delightful combination of pumpkin, banana, and spices, it’s like the best banana bread and pumpkin pie got together and had a baby. Less than 24 hours since its baking already half of it has disappeared. This is definitely the best thing that has come out of my oven in over a month.

Click me for the pumpkin-banana cake recipe! Do remember to grease the pan (I used unsalted butter) because this cake is extremely moist and will stick to the pan if it is left ungreased. I substituted unflavored Greek yogurt for her soy version and it was great. Secret I: I’m not a fan of frosting in general. Secret II: This frosting is so good that unless you are vegan/lactose intolerant, ignore her recipe for it and make this frosting instead. I used two cups of powdered sugar instead of three, but really just add it until you have your desired sweetness and consistency. As someone who prefers food on the less-sweet side, this would have been even better with just under 2 cups of powdered sugar, but hey, I’m not complaining.

As my mom said upon tasting the cake, “Now we know what we’re serving on Thanksgiving,” and like I said, half the cake is gone. Do yourself (and hopefully lots of friends/family/acquaintances/hobos) a favor and make this cake. It’ll put you in a good mood no matter what kind of craziness you’re dealing with on the holidays. Or have it with some hot cider right now. Until next week I wish you chilly days, colorful trees, spooky music, and lots of Tim Burton movies. Happy almost-Halloween!

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3 thoughts on “Lauren: Pumpkin-Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Chris says:

    Definitely putting this on my to-do list…

  2. Donna says:

    This variation totally excels….I am definitely going with YOUR frosting…The texture/height/color of your version is superlative! Any tips on pan type (material and size) and oven temp..timing to perfect your riff on the pumpkin banana bar?..LOVED the comment about pumpkin pie and banana getting together and having a baby…Extra gift with this blog…great writing and a razor wit!

    • Lauren says:

      Wow, thank you so much Donna! Pan type was a 9×13 Pyrex dish, I used the same oven temperature that the recipe specified, I followed the time it specified too. My oven sometimes under-heats so I tend to go over by 2 minutes if I do at all. I hope yours turn out well!

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