Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Dear Future Children of Mine (assuming you exist)*,

*I understand that is a weird way to start a heartfelt letter to your children, especially if you’re trying to be sincere-sounding, and especially if you DO exist, in which case you’re probably like “jeez Mom, way to be all mean and just like, ASSUME I wouldn’t exist or something. You’re an awful mother and this letter will prove it.” 

I’m afraid I have cursed you with a life-long family curse.

Well, okay, not life-long. That just added to the drama of this ominous internet letter.

As a food blogger, I’m constantly creating and developing new recipes, photographing said recipes, and blogging about them (obvi). But since this hobby began, my family has been plagued with the Food Bloggers Curse. And now, sadly, you’re a recipient of said curse. Allow me to explain this hex, since you’ll probably want to put it on a medical record or three or mention it to your shrink one of these times (also, I’m sorry about that, too. I swear I didn’t know being neurotic was genetic).

Food Bloggers Curse means that the family members directly related to the food blogger in question will be affected the most severely. This includes, but is not limited to:

-Being swatted at when you’re trying to grab a brownie while I scream “THOSE HAVEN’T BEEN PHOTOGRAPHED YET!!”

-From now on, asking whether or not any given food item has been photographed yet

-Staring longingly at the baking shelf in the pantry, desperately hoping I won’t notice if a couple cookies or a handful of chocolate chips went missing

-Knowing that I will know and suffering the subsequential wrath to follow

-Developing a complex between “ugly” and “pretty” foods; e.g., “you can have the ugly cupcakes over there, but please don’t eat the ones on this plate. I’m photographing them tomorrow.”

-Further development on aforementioned complex because you’re forced to eat “ugly” foods and really, what does that say about your psyche?

-Having an angry daughter/sister/parent who spent her whole friggin’ day in the kitchen and why can’t you just have cookies for dinner? Now I have to cook real food, too?!

-Eating out-of-season or early-season food way beforehand; e.g., eating Christmas cookies before Halloween has begun, or sharing a Valentine’s Day dinner with your sweetie with a plate of Easter cupcakes

Among others, I’m sure. I’d ask my family to give me more details, but they’re shivering in a corner, rocking back and forth, obviously too distraught to deal with questions about food of which they’re denied.

So again, kids, I’m sorry for A) starting off this letter with the assumption you wouldn’t exist, and B), cursing your now-existent life with the Food Bloggers Plague. Please accept these “early season” Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars as a token of my sorrows.

Really, I’m not sorry though. They’re friggin’ delightful.

I found this recipe in one of my mom’s old work cookbooks and had to try it. It sounded so perfect and it definitely delivered. It tastes like a creamier, richer pumpkin pie but in bar-form (no muss, no fuss). And the crust is amazeballs, peeps.

Make them, and let your family actually have a taste of a pretty piece. They deserve it.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars *adapted slightly from a recipe in my mom’s work cookbook

For Crust:

1 box pound cake mix
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

For Cheesecake Layer:

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened slightly
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the crust ingredients until crumbly. Gently press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add in the milk, pumpkin, eggs and pie spice until combined. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the crust evenly.
4. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes (mine took exactly 32 mins) or until the center is just set. Cool for an hour at room temperature before allowing the cheesecake to chill in the fridge for several hours. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
5. Store leftovers airtight in the fridge up to 2 days.

You may want to bookmark this recipe for the holidays, because this could be the easiest (and best tasting!) pumpkin pie recipe around. No fancy shmancy crust, no hassle. The pound cake crust is flaky and buttery and holds the substantial weight of the surprisingly light and fluffy pumpkin cheesecake layer. If you like your pies spicy, feel free to be a bit heavier-handed with your pumpkin pie spice, but I found this was perfect.

Please enjoy!! Now tomorrow, I’ll be featuring some Christmas cookies. Just kidding. Er, well, kind of.

Have a great day!

xo, Hayley


  1. Very funny and true! My family will be sick of pumpkins and fall flavors before one pumpkin is actually seen at the grocery store!!! At least my kids get treated to home made goodies, or at least I tell myself that! Perhaps ripping open a box of neatly stacked Oreos that don’t need to look good on a plate is better for my family’s mental stability!

  2. Oh, by the way, your pumpkin cheescake rocks! I love the color and I can just taste our creamy that pumpkin layer is! Pound cake mix crust is a spectacular idea too!

  3. These are wonderful and what we have had several times at Thanksgiving instead of traditional pumpkin pie – just so much more easy!

  4. Mr. Savory would certainly relate to this!

  5. MMMMMM Hayley these are awesome. And I can tell you first hand, any and all kids will have those problems. Jordan totally does. 🙂

  6. Hahaha! So funny, Hayley, and so true 😉
    These are the most perfect bars I’ve ever seen. Look at those straight edges! That crust looks so yummy!

  7. These are the perfect “I-am-in-denial-that-it-isn’t-fall-in-Sacramento-yet” treat. I have a pumpkin dump cake recipe that I love, but it is totally lacking cream cheese, so obviously I need to try these. yum.

  8. You never cease to amaze me with both your recipes and your way with words! These look amazing and I am totally making these!!

  9. Great looking bars and my family is trained about NEVER ever ever touching something that’s a baked good unless they ask first b/c they never know if it’s been photographed and they know that not only would I freak out on them, but that eating it would put me right back at square 1 and then I couldn’t take them to the park/run their errands/make them more food/etc. so they keep their mitts off 🙂 Lol

  10. Food bloggers curse? Nah, unless I have guests over, I just make one pretty plate and I usually give it to my wife. Also, how do you get your seasons so off? Normally, I get a dish published on the website within a a week so my dishes are usually seasonal…

    Thes cheesecake bars look good and easier than my pumpkin cheesecake I made for Thanksgiving dinner last November…

  11. LOVE these Hayley! You know I’m a pumpkin freak!! I love this… the food bloggers curse… Kevin is usually left with the half bitten pieces of cookies and bars and the ones that are lop-sided. And my coworkers get the defected leftovers. Oh well! All tastes the same, riiiiight???

  12. Oh and I made my birthday cake 3 weeks before my birthday. And I had to pre-slice KEvin’s birthday pie. Ooops.

  13. I love that you’re posting pumpkin recipes now! I may just need to make this for thanksgiving!

  14. This is a gorgeous slice of pumpkin goodness, Hayley!! My two year old asked my sister the other day if she was going to take a pic of the brownies that she was frosting…hahaha – she’s catching on quick 😉

  15. Bwahahaha! This is SO TRUE. Doodle instructed my mom a few weeks ago to take a picture of his lunch (mac and cheese) so that she could post it on her blog. I guess he thinks everyone must take pictures of their food. =) These pumpkin bars look awesome, by the way. I love anything pumpkin related–and this looks so easy and sounds SO GOOD.

  16. It is a very real curse here too! My family knows that I make up 2 plates of everything I make…one is fair game and one you better not touch under penalty of death! LOL maybe not quite that extreme, but…and as for baking ahead of the seasons. Yeah…who needs to eat the real stuff on the actual holiday anyway right? I will pretty much be serving Valentines goodies at Thanksgiving dinner this year. I guess blogs are like magazines in a way:-) Now as for this pumpkin dessert…love it! But then again I am on a pumpkin roll right now:-)

  17. These look so yummy! Would love if you’d join our Countdown to Fall link party! Hope to see you there! Have a great day! 🙂

  18. Nanna Blanna says:

    I have to ask! Im from Australia and we just don;t have Pumpkin Puree or anything of the kind in canned form. Sooo… how do I make my own? I seem to miss out on so many amazing American recipes because of this amazing yet frustrating hurdle!!

  19. Haha this just cracked me up. My poor husband has totally experienced the “ugly foods” and hand slap for trying to grab something not photographed yet.


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