JulAug Issue – Recipe: Kara’s Blackberry Rhubarb Dream Bars

Kara Andretta shared this perfect summertime recipe for our “Last Bite” column in our July/August issue.

Kara’s Blackberry Rhubarb Dream Bars

These traditional bar style desserts are the perfect addition to summer picnics, brunches, shared lunches, and just to treat the family. They may seem a bit involved, but they are less fussy than cake and SMBC, so you’ll find that you fly through making them so you can get right to eating.

Makes 1 – 9” x 13” pan
Serves 25


1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar (white)
1 c. brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or good quality real extract)
3 c. AP flour
1 tsp salt

Cheesecake Filling
16 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
½ c. sugar (white)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Fruit Filling
2 c. blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1 ½ c. rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces
⅔ c. sugar (white)
1 ½ Tbsp corn starch

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 Tbsp milk
2 c. confectioners’ sugar

Crumble (optional)
¼ c. butter (softened)
¼ c. sugar (white)
¼ c. brown sugar
¾ c. AP flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Prepare a 9” x 13” baking pan with parchment on the bottoms and up the sides
  3. Prepare the Crumble: mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl with your fingers allowing for larger clumps to remain; set aside
  4. Prepare the Crust – cream the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment; and add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl between each addition; add vanilla and blend together; add flour and salt and mix until combined.
  5. Spread evenly across the bottom of the prepared pan; set aside
  6. Prepare the Cheesecake Filling: blend the cream cheese and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment; add eggs one at a time, scraping between additions; add vanilla and blend to combine
  7. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the crust in the pan
  8. Prepare the Fruit Filling: whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a large bowl to combine; add blackberries and rhubarb and toss to coat evenly
  9. Spread fruit filling across the cheese cake mixture evenly
  10. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit filling
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crumble is olden and the fruit filling is thickly bubbling
  12. Allow to cool (seriously… hands out of the pan)
  13. Prepare the Glaze: whisk all the vanilla, milk and confectioners’ sugar together (add more sugar or milk to get desired consistency)
  14. Allow to cool to room temp and then for 2 hours in refrigeration.
  15. Remove the bars from the pan once cool using the parchment to pull it out intact; drizzle with glaze; cut into bars and enjoy!

– I like a thick crust that stays a bit doughy in the middle. If you like a cakey-er crust, halve the crust ingredients above.If you’re short on time, use premade pie filling in place of the fresh fruit.
– Swap out the blackberry and rhubarb for your favorite pie fruit.
– Whisking the cornstarch into the sugar prevents the starch clumping when mixed with the fruit.

About Kara Andretta:
Kara is a cake and sugar art instructor teaching live and online. She has appeared in multiple magazines and is the creative chaos behind karascouturecakes.com blog and the “Design Bake Decorate Success” virtual mentor series. In a previous life (or when she was a spring chicken) she studied to be a fine arts teacher for school aged children. Now, a two time graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and former intern with Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in New York City, she currently resides in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and three boys. She is a homeschooling mom, average knitter, lover of all things food science, and a Harry Potter nerd. She’s also been referred to as a crazy cat lady, but she unconvincingly denies those accusations.

Instagram: @karascouturecakes
Twitter: @KarasCakes
Periscope: @KarasCakes & @FoodieBTS

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