Blend, bake, and devour. These Gooey Pumpkin Cake Bars are that easy to make and taste like pie meets cake in a healthy vegan and paleo form!
I always thought the words gooey and cake together was a contradiction – if it’s cake it’s cakey, and if it’s gooey you messed up. Well unless the words two sticks of butter were also involved in which case any and all levels of simultaneous gooey-ness and cake-ness are reasonably attainable. But I have found butter-less gooey cake wonderland, and friends it’s a very delicious pumpkin place.
Have you noticed a trend of recipes being labeled “blender muffins” or “blender pancakes” or “blender candy corn”? The thing is I make almost everything in the blender whether it’s labeled blender or not. It would probably be more efficient for me to label recipes “un-blender” for those rare instances the blender won’t do all the work for me. Wait…actual stirring and spoons and arm strength is required? Kay, BYEEEE. I went to yoga, I don’t need to mix muffin batter too.
laziness appreciation for the versatility of the blender has led to not only cameo appearances by my Vitamix in all videos lately, but also some Will It Bake? adventures with random un-measured ingredients blended into a batter(ish) form and baked. Like clean-out-the-fridge smoothies but warmer. Usually they are just blob/bars that never make it to the internet, only to my stomach. But when I found myself recreating one particular pumpkin-y one three times over the course of a couple of weeks, I started to feel a little wrong about not sharing.
Does it even matter though? Crackly golden outside and gooey pumpkin center and loads of spice and DONE. Oh and zucchini! Did I mention there was zucchini too? So with the dates and pumpkin these guys are killing it on the fruit front (even if two out of three feel like vegetables).
Like I said these bars were born of random blending, so effort required is minimal. But I tweaked and refined a little to get the measurements just right and the texture just irresistible.
They are grain-free made with coconut flour and tapioca starch. Sweetened with just a very small handful of dates. Mostly made up of pumpkin and zucchini. With a little added richness from almond butter. And spiced with a heaping spoonful of pumpkin pie spice.
I also tested an oat flour version for you even though I love the grain-free one so much more that I urge you with all my heart to invest in a bag of coconut flour and make the original. Please. For me. Do you accept bribes in the form of pumpkin bars by chance? Oat flour has this way of sucking all the almost-pie energy right out of them and turning gooey into chewy. Not cool.
The coconut flour version (a.k.a. the favorite child), on the other hand, looks like cake but once you bite in you will be hit with all the pumpkin pie vibes. And you can use much less flour which means the pumpkin flavor is stronger and sweeter with fewer dates too.
I guess what I’m trying to say is make the grain-free version. Unless you absolutely HAVE to make the oat version. But make the grain-free version.
P.S. There may or may not be something creamy coming later this week that on top of one of these bars tastes like fall exploded and landed on your plate. Just sayin…
Blend, bake, and devour. These Gooey Pumpkin Cake Bars are that easy to make and taste like pie meets cake in healthy vegan and paleo form!
- 1 medium (175g) zucchini (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup (225g) pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup (70g) almond butter (or any nut/seed butter)
- 3/4 cup (175g) non-dairy milk
- 4–5 (75g) pitted medjool dates
- 2/3 cup (85g) coconut flour*
- 1/4 cup (35g) tapioca starch **
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Combine the pumpkin puree, zucchini, non-dairy milk, almond butter, and pitted medjool dates in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend to combine.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to form a thick batter stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Spread the batter evenly into a baking pan (I used an 8×8″ square) that is lined with parchment paper or lightly oiled.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F or until the top is golden brown and crackly.
- Remove from the oven. Either allow to cool complete before slicing into squares OR serve warm but the texture will be much gooier like pudding.
- Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
*If you want to use oat flour, sub the coconut flour and tapioca starch with 1 3/4 cups oat flour (210g) and increase the medjool dates to 8-10 as the oat flour will dull the flavor and sweetness. The texture will be more chewy as noted above.
**You can substitute cornstarch or arrowroot starch instead.