Lightened Up Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

These Lightened Up Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars are an easy Fall dessert idea that tastes amazing! They’re full of pumpkin flavor and Autumn spices, but light on the calories so you can enjoy them guilt free!

Yes, you are in the right place.

I made something “light”.

Not to be confused with “diet”.

Because honestly your definition of diet is probably WAY different than my definition of diet.

I’m not going to get into semantics today…but this recipe starts with an Angel Food Cake Mix.  And for anyone who has ever eaten Angel Food Cake, it’s basically like eating sugar air.

And sugar air is on my list of diet foods.



And I went ahead and used 1/3 less fat cream cheese.  Because really, why not?


And beyond making you skinny, these bars are totally delicious.

They start with a cake mix…so they’re simple too.

You guys totally want to marry me right now, don’t you?


How to Make These Lightened Up Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars


Start with your cream cheese…if you are opposed to lower fat cream cheese, please, by all means use regular.


Mix that with a little powdered sugar and a tablespoon of water and it will look kind of like this…


Then get your other stuff out.

Here’s the thing with a lot of my cake mix recipes…I try and be clear on this, but unless I specify “make according to package directions”, I just want you to use the DRY MIX.

That’s what is happening here.  Just the dry mix, guys.


Mix all that stuff together (oh yeah and some cinnamon…I forgot to take a picture of that).

Spread it into a 9×13 pan sprayed with nonstick spray…


Then get your cream cheese mixture ready.  Drizzle that all over the top of the batter and swirly-whirl it around.


Bake it up and let it cool.

Then eat.

And eat more, because the thing about diet food is you can eat twice as much.

I mean, right?



Lightened Up Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 Squares 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These Lightened Up Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars are an easy Fall dessert idea that tastes amazing! They’re full of pumpkin flavor and Autumn spices, but light on the calories so you can enjoy them guilt free!


  • 1 (8 oz) block 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 (16 oz) package Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray
  3. In your stand mixer combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp water mixing on medium high for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl combine box of dry cake mix, pumpkin, 3/4 cup water, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Stir until smooth and combined.
  5. Spread pumpkin mixture into your prepared pan.
  6. Drizzle your cream cheese on top of the pumpkin mixture and swirl it in with a butter knife.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until center is set and toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely and cut into squares.


Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Refrigerate if desired.
recipe adapted from tj’s test kitchen

Keywords: pumpkin desserts, pumpkin blondies, pumpkin bars, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cake, fall dessert idea, thanksgiving dessert


57 Responses

  1. Have you tried these bars with the fully loaded cream cheese? Just wondering. I have this weird aversion to low fat no fat dairy. I’ll eat a Twinkie, no problem. But when I think of a reduced calorie dairy product I think to myself, “How did they do that? What dangerous chemical process did the food scientises use to alter that cheese in order to suck those calories and fat out?” I am such a weirdo! Anyway, these look really good, Thanks!

  2. Cindy

    I’m so going to make this for my next Hospice Pot Luck. As a widow, it is so nice to be able to not eat alone once a month. This will be perfect. I really appreciate your blog and your humor (kinda sick like mine — LOL) Thanks for doing a great job!

  3. This recipe is a perfect way to lighten up a fall delight — pumpkin! I thought I pinned this recipe from another baker back in June when I made it, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Thanks for the informative tutorial.

  4. ColleenB.

    These look wonderful.
    For me tho; I gotta use the regular cream cheese.
    I do make my own spice recipe other wise the store bought sits in my cupboard for at least a year before it’s used again so by making yourself, it’s easy to make and can very easly mixed up just what you need when the time comes.
    Pumpkin Pie Spice:
    Substitutions: 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/8 tsp ground allspice + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg = 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  5. Wow this looks wonderful and so easy – that’s the best way. I just mentioned in a previous post that I’d never been to your site but I don’t think I’ve been to this one before only your other one. Looks great!

  6. kathy

    What did I do wrong? 🙁 the cream cheese didnt sit on top of the batter, it sunk in. Did I not beat it long enough? I still swirled it but I’m afraid its not gonna come out right now.

  7. I just made these and they are delicious! I could not dribble the cream cheese mix on because it got too thick. I dropped it in spoonfuls and blended with a knife. It worked out but next time I am going to make the cream cheese mixture after I have the batter in the pan because it was soft and runny right after I made it, just thickened as it sat waiting for the cake to get mixed. Either way these bars won’t last long in my house!

  8. Jen

    Made this Saturday night, and the pan was 85% GONE on Sunday. I used full-fat cream cheese, and made my own “pumpkin pie spice” mixture. Loved the texture, very soufflé like. Yummy!

  9. Deb Young

    I made these last night! Delicious, and so easy. I used regular cream cheese and only needed to add additional water to get the desired drizzling consistency. I have to share this recipe!

  10. Alicia

    omg… made these today and they are AMAZING! I think people liked these better than the steak that was for dinner. can’t wait to try some other recipes now.

  11. You are hilarious and think EXACTLY like I do! I rarely leave comments but had to say thanks for your fun twist to recipe posting! I’m trying to eat less sugar for no real reason except that I think I eat about 100 times the recommended intake so thought I would try “baking” myself.


  13. Susan

    I put the info in points calculator…Pretty sure that it is a little over 1 pt. if cut into 24 pieces…a little over 2 points if cut into 12…can’t wait to try this!!!

  14. patricia

    i am going to try this recipe but i am going to use a spice cake mix. i hope it doesn’t make a difference. i am a novice cook and not very successful at times but i keep trying! wish me luck!

  15. Carol

    My cream cheese mixture didn’t drizzle. It was too think both times I made it. it’s very good if you are on Weight Watchers…to take the place of a heavier dessert. People like it that weren’t looking for a low calorie dessert.

  16. MelB

    Made this for a work potluck and got SOOOOOOO many compliments. Everyone was asking for the recipe! It was a hit. My husband was sad there were no leftovers, so guess I’m going to have to make again for him to try. Very tasty, easy to make & a super hit!

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