Category: Banzai!


Kyoshi's Chocolate Pistachio Cake

Congratulations, Kyoshi Colahan! Banzai!!

A couple of months ago our karate instructor was promoted to 6th Degree Black Belt and awarded the title of Kyoshi.

This is a big deal in our system! It takes 3 1/2 or more years to earn your first degree black belt, and even longer to earn higher ranks. Kyoshi’s been studying karate for over 20 years.

Our club was at the belt test to celebrate with Kyoshi, and when we returned to class the following week decided an additional celebration was in order. Celebrations for us include food, of course! We love our Banzai Treats!

One of Kyoshi’s favorite cakes is a Chocolate Pistachio Cake. This is also a favorite of several friends at work. I’ve made this several times and in many forms – as a bundt cake, layer cake, regular and jumbo muffins, and as a sheet cake. This time, in celebration of Kyoshi’s promotion, I wanted to make a cake that represented his new rank / belt, so I went with a sheet cake.

This is a super moist cake, thanks to the pistachio pudding and it’ll hold for several days, assuming it lasts that long. If you want the cake a little bit greener, add a couple of drops of food coloring. I did to this batch and you can see the color in the picture below, but normally I don’t add any extra green.

Chocolate Pistachio Kyoshi CakeThe cake is just sweet enough that it doesn’t need a rich frosting. I frosted this with the butter cream frosting typically used to decorate cakes. If I wasn’t decorating it, I probably would have either dusted it with powdered sugar or just used a light chocolate glaze.

The Kyoshi belt in our system is red and white, so I used fondant to create the belt for the cake. I haven’t used fondant much, and could probably have done a better job, but it turned out OK. The more I use it, the more skilled I’ll become. At least that’s the hope!

Don’t wait for a big karate promotion to try this cake. 😉 It’ll quickly become one of your favorites!

Chocolate Pistachio Cake

Adapted from Ann Byrn’s The Cake Doctor

Stuff you need:

1 (18.25 ounce) package white or yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package INSTANT pistachio pudding mix
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1/3 cup chocolate syrup* [I reduced this from 1/2 c. It was sticky with too much syrup.]
A few drops of green food coloring (optional)
Powdered sugar or light chocolate glaze, if desired

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pudding mix and sugar.
Add water, oil and eggs and mix well.
Reserve 1 cup batter and pour the rest of it into the prepared pan.
Stir the chocolate syrup into the 1 cup reserved batter.
Pour the chocolate batter over the pistachio batter and use a butter knife to swirl them. Don’t overmix or you will lose the swirly effect.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

NOTE: If you choose a different pan size / shape, follow the baking directions on the cake mix box. This will make a 9 X 13″, about 2 dozen normal sized muffins, 2 9″ cake layers…basically, whatever the cake mix would make.

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Banzai to Alex! We celebrated Alex’s birthday with these cinnamony Snickerdoodle Bars.

Banzai Birthday: Snickerdoodle Bars

Alex showing respect for Sensei (me!) who made his Banzai Birthday Treats! 😉

They have the flavors of a snickerdoodle cookie without all the effort and patience required to roll the dough into balls and then dip them in cinnamon sugar. (Have I ever mentioned I’m not the most patient person?) Once the bars are baked a simple sugar glaze tops them off.

This is one of the few recipes where I could just eat the batter off a spoon! I don’t say that often because I don’t like batter or raw dough, but there’s just something about these that I find irresistible! If you’re a cinnamon and vanilla fan, you need to try these! Click for recipe.

I found this recipe at Grin and Bake It awhile back and made a pan for The Pretty One to take back to school. He had to take them – – if I had kept them for myself, I would have eaten them all within a day! The Pretty One is a veteran snickerdoodle taster and raved about these, so I knew they were good. I even forgot to put on the glaze and neither of us missed it!

When I asked Alex what he wanted for treats, he told me he prefers vanilla over chocolate “if it comes to a cake-like creation” but didn’t specify anything other than that. Since these were so good the first time, I thought they’d be something the Karate Club would enjoy.

Snickerdoodle BarsThere’s not much to this recipe, and maybe that’s the key to it. The vanilla batter layered with the cinnamon sugar filling really work together for an enjoyable treat.

The most wonderful aroma will fill your kitchen when you bake these!

 

 

Snickerdoodle Bars

From Grin and Bake It

 

Stuff you need:

2 1/3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon-sugar filling:

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Now what?
Heat oven to 350. Spray or grease the bottom only of a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar and cinnamon for cinnamon-sugar filling in a small bowl and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed until creamy. Beat in sugars.

Gradually beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. [Batter will be very thick and sticky.]

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar filling evenly over batter. Dollop teaspoons of remaining batter evenly over cinnamon-sugar filling. [You won’t be able to spread it!] Gaps are okay. The filling can peek through.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In a small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over bars.

The Best Blueberry Cheesecake

A title like that promises a lot, doesn’t it? I found this recipe online; the title pulled me in. I make really good cheesecake, but I wondered if this was better than mine. Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes - fresh from the oven!

Our karate club was about to have a reason to celebrate, and I was looking for a special Banzai Treat. One of our students was testing for a big milestone rank and the treats needed to be something beyond our usual bars and cookies. Our group likes cheesecake (seriously – what don’t we like?!?) and I had a lot of blueberries in the freezer, so I went looking for a blueberry cheesecake recipe. I would have used my standard recipe, but was curious to see what I would find online. This one, from Food.com, had great reviews and the name intrigued me.

The original recipe is for a regular sized cheesecake but things that are “grab and go” are easier than desserts requiring plates, utensils, etc. So instead of making one large cheesecake, I made minis! Making crust for tiny cheesecakes is a pain (and I’m impatient!), so I dropped a cookie in the bottom of the tin to give the cheesecake filling some support. You could choose any cookie that works well with the cheesecake flavors, and I went with Golden Oreos. Why? So I could eat the rest of the cookies that weren’t used for the cheesecakes! Why else?!?

I loaded up muffin tins with muffin liners, a Golden Oreo, and the creamy filling and popped them in the oven. The recipe made 26 minis. Well, in my case it made 24 minis plus a 6 oz. ramekin which I’m calling a Quality Control mini. Other than changing the crust and leaving off the topping, I made the recipe as it was written. Click for recipe.

Mini Blueberry CheesecakesThese cheesecakes puff up in the oven and will sink and shrink while they cool, but don’t be alarmed. I didn’t add the topping suggested in the recipe, but might next time. Alternately, you could top your creation with whipped cream and fresh blueberries.

Oh yeah – you probably want to know if they’re any good. Yes, they definitely are! And coming from someone who has made and eaten as much cheesecake as I have, that’s high praise.

The filling is smooth and creamy, and the lemony cheesecake base highlights the blueberries nicely. I still prefer my cheesecake recipe, but I really enjoyed these and so did our Karate Club! If you’ve never made a cheesecake, don’t be scared by these – they’re hard to mess up. You’ll be surprised at how easy they are, and I think you’ll like them!

Chocolate Madness! That’s the name of the Pinterest board I share with TL. She started it and invited me to participate, and with a name like Chocolate Madness! I had to play along. TL finds most of the desserts on our board and it’s difficult to decide which one to make. I hope to make them all, so let’s get started!

I met TL freshman year at Drake University. We were neighbors on Hooker Heights, one of the women’s floors, and roomies later on. I remember more than once sharing a dessert with the Hooker Heights girls. We’d put the treat in the middle of the group and everyone would dig in with their spoon or fork — no bowls needed, thank you very much! Unfortunately, TL lives in Albuquerque and I live in KC, so it’s tough to share treats these days. Regardless, I’m going to blog my way through our shared board. I’ll take responsibility for tasting the goodies for both of us; she’ll have to enjoy them vicariously, the poor dear!

TL’s twice posted a picture of Knock You Naked Brownies, so I was getting the idea that she thought they sounded good. Knock You REALLY Naked BrowniesThe second time she posted it was the magic time for me. I was looking for a gooey, peanut buttery, chocolate dessert for our Karate Club and this looked a good candidate.

Even though we don’t have any May Banzai Birthdays to celebrate, one of the other students and I decided we needed treats anyway, and we were due for something chocolate! The only thing it was missing was peanut butter. Well, as it turned out, I found a version that used a peanut butter caramel, so I was able to include that yumminess and dubbed them Knock you REALLY Naked Brownies!

Boy, are these good!! They may be one of the most delicious brownies I’ve ever baked!! I don’t know what else you’d need in a gooey, chocolate recipe – chocolate, pecans, chocolate chips, peanut butter and caramel. My, my, MY!! It took all my willpower not to eat the entire pan myself, although I thought about it.

Other than the addition of peanut butter to the caramel, the only other tweak I made to the recipe was to use a 9 x 13″ pan instead of the square used in the recipe. The recipe mentioned it had been cut down from a 9 x 13″, and I needed a full pan of brownies to feed a bunch of hungry karate students. It worked! The brownies baked up perfectly and had enough crust, both bottom and top. Click for recipe.

Don’t be scared off by having to unwrap and melt down the caramels and create layers. It’s easier than it looks, and the reward is definitely worth the effort! If you need some help eating them so you don’t eat the entire pan, give me a call. I’ll make the sacrifice and help you out. That’s what friends are for, right?