In between bars and a crowd-friendly sheet cake is this autumnal dessert. Moist and tender pumpkin spice cake is lavished with cream cheese frosting for bars that are simply irresistible.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush bottom and sides of an 8-by-12-inch cake pan with butter. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Brush parchment with butter.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree and milk; set aside
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until combined. On low speed add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of pumpkin mixture, and beating until just combined after each.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth top with spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, and pinch of salt until light and creamy, 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until incorporated.
Assemble: Unmold cake. Using an offset spatula, spread icing over top of cake. Cut into 12 bars.