Vegan Pumpkin Cake Bars are made of fluffy, moist pumpkin sheet cake and topped with a “cream cheese” icing. A Fall tradition!

stack of 3 pumpkin bars with frosting

My mother-in-law used to make the most delicious Pumpkin Bars at Thanksgiving, and they were one of my favorite desserts ever.

They were made in a large sheet pan, and the cake was moist, fluffy and full of pumpkin spice flavors. Of course, they were topped with a cream cheese frosting. Yum, yum.

I have been wanting to re-create that recipe the best I can and veganize it for a while now, so I finally got to work! The results are seriously incredible.

I borrowed the frosting recipe from my Vegan Pumpkin Cookies recipe because it has gotten such rave reviews, and it’s just perfect on top of these moist vegan pumpkin cake bars.

spatula taking out a piece of vegan pumpkin cake from the pan

How to make Vegan Pumpkin Cake Bars, Step by Step:

First, mix the ground flaxseeds and water in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a jelly roll pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut oil, sugar and flax eggs until smooth.

wet ingredients before being stirred for pumpkin cake bars.

Dump in the flour, then sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt on top of the flour. Mix until just combined. Don’t you just love 1 bowl baking?

dry ingredients added to wet unstirred in a bowl with wet.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool while you make the frosting.

showing the batter for vegan pumpkin cake in the pan

The most delicious, easy frosting:

This frosting tastes like cream cheese frosting without any cream cheese (vegan or otherwise). The trick? A tiny bit of apple cider vinegar!

Ingredients for the frosting: Softened vegan butter, powdered sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and non-dairy milk.

Use a hand mixer and mix the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Only add as much non-dairy milk as you need to get it creamy. If it’s too runny because you added too much milk, just add more powdered sugar.

Once the cake has cooled completely, frost, cut into bars and serve!

frosted, uncut pumpkin sheet cake

TIPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • I used refined coconut oil, but you can use canola oil, avocado oil or melted vegan butter. You could probably use 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil to cut down on the fat if you wanted, but it will affect the flavor and texture of the cake.
  • For gluten free, use a quality gluten free flour mix. Almond or coconut flour will not work as a substitution here.
  • The recipe makes a lot! If you don’t want so many cake bars, cut the ingredients in half and make it in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • Store leftover bars covered at room temperature for 2-3 days, or the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They also freeze well, with or without the frosting.

very close up of angled pumpkin cake

Want more vegan pumpkin recipes? 

close up shot of a vegan pumpkin cake slice with a bite taken out

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

stack of 3 pumpkin bars with frosting

Vegan Pumpkin Cake Bars

Vegan Pumpkin Cake Bars are made of fluffy, moist pumpkin sheet cake and topped with a “cream cheese” icing. A Fall tradition!
4.89 from 9 votes

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cake

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil*
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Frosting

  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) vegan butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk, as needed

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a jelly roll pan (15 x 10 inches). Set aside.
  • Mix the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl and set aside to make your flax eggs.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, sugar and flax eggs until smooth.
  • Now add the flour to the wet ingredients. Sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt on top of the flour and mix with a large spoon until just combined.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
  • Make the Frosting: Using a hand mixer, beat the softened vegan butter for about 2 minutes until creamy, then add the powdered sugar, apple cider vinegar and vanilla and beat everything together until smooth and creamy, adding a tablespoon of non-dairy milk at a time as needed. If you add too much milk and it gets runny, you will need to add more powdered sugar.
  • Once the cake is cooled completely, frost the cake, cut into bars and serve. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Use refined coconut oil if you don't want a coconut taste. May also substitute canola oil, avocado oil or melted vegan butter. You could probably use 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 oil to cut down on the fat but it will affect the overall flavor and taste of the cake.
  2. I haven't made these gluten free, but like most of my cake recipes a quality Gluten Free Flour Mix would likely work just fine. 
  3. This recipe makes a lot of bars (20) so if you want less feel free to cut the ingredients in half and make it in a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.
  4. Make sure the cake is completely cooled before frosting so it doesn't melt. You can speed up the process by placing the cake in the refrigerator. 
  5. Store leftover cake bars on the counter for 2-3 days, covered, or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They can also be frozen with or without the frosting. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 236kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 189mg, Potassium: 123mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 3309IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here