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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!

Pumpkin Swirl bars on a green plate

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

Top view of a pan of 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.

A package of Philadelphia 1/3 less fat cream cheese

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

Cream cheese filling mixture in a bowl

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.

Ingredients for pumpkin bars, including angel food cake, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and water

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…

Pumpkin bars batter spread in a 9x13 pan

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

A collage of cream cheese mixture being swirled into pumpkin bars

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?

Pumpkin cream cheese swirl bars on a plate
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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


  • Serving Size: 1 Bar
  • Calories: 172
  • Sugar: 18.4 g
  • Sodium: 258.6 mg
  • Fat: 2.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.2 g
  • Protein: 4.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.3 mg

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

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57 comments on “Lightened Up Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars”

  1. 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.

  2. Wendy La Puma

    I just made these using spice cake mix and they taste so good! The recipe was easy and didn’t take a lot of ingredients which made it even better. Thanks for sharing!

  3. just wanted to say..i made these this weekend instead of the original pumpkin pie- omg- we loved them.
    thanks for the receipe

  4. I love the look of these, like they would melt right on my tongue! Beautiful, and of course I can never resist anything pumpkin. 😉

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  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. Made these today and they are FANTASTIC and one of the most obscenely easy desserts I’ve ever made. Thanks so much!!

  9. 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.

    1. maybe? how did they turn out? Did you add the water to the cream cheese? That tablespoon helps thin it out!

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