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If you can make pancakes, you can master dorayaki, a classic Japanese sweet.

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What Is Dorayaki?

Dorayaki (gong cake) is a wagashi (Japanese sweet) consisting of two grilled cakes sandwiched around a filling of tsubu-an (mashed sweet red bean paste). The cakes look like American-style pancakes and have a texture similar to sponge cake. In the Kansai region of Japan, dorayaki is called mikasa, a reference to a mountain in Nara Prefecture.

Origins of Dorayaki

One dorayaki origin story links the red bean pancakes to the twelfth-century samurai Benkei, who was allegedly served a similar cake cooked on a metal gong. Dorayaki may also have been inspired by the Portuguese castella cakes introduced to Japan during the sixteenth century. The Usagiya bakery in Ueno, Tokyo, claims to have invented the sandwich style of dorayaki in 1914. Early dorayaki were folded, not sandwiched, around the sweet red bean paste.

4 Types of Dorayaki Filling

Classic dorayaki are filled with sweet red bean paste, but you'll find many variations of the treat in Japanese bakeries and grocery stores. Some of the most popular flavors include:

  1. Matcha: Matcha green tea powder can be mixed into the dorayaki pancake batter, or matcha cream can serve as the filling.
  2. Nama dorayaki: Whipped cream dorayaki, known as nama (fresh) dorayaki are filled with a mixture of whipped cream and red bean paste.
  3. Chestnut: Dorayaki can be filled with chestnut cream or red bean paste with chopped or whole cooked hazelnuts.
  4. Yuzu: Chopped, candied yuzu peels add a citrus flavor to red or white bean paste fillings.
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Classic Japanese Dorayaki Recipe

Makes
6
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
50 min
Cook Time
10 min

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup superfine sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon honey, warmed
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1–2 teaspoons mirin
  • Neutral oil
  • 9 ounces red bean paste
  1. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs.
  2. Add the sugar and warmed honey to the egg mixture, and whisk until light yellow in color, about 3 minutes.
  3. Dissolve baking soda in 3 tablespoons of water.
  4. Add the baking soda to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Add sifted flour to the egg mixture and stir until no lumps remain. Do not over-mix.
  6. Cover and let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  7. The batter should be thick but pourable. To loosen the batter, add mirin 1 teaspoon at a time.
  8. Meanwhile, heat a griddle or large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Lightly coat with oil, using a paper towel to blot excess oil.
  9. When the pan is hot, use an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop to pour circles of batter onto the griddle.
  10. When bubbles appear on the surface of the cake after about 1 minute, flip and continue to cook for another 20 seconds.
  11. Transfer cakes to a wire rack and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
  12. Repeat with remaining batter.
  13. Spread red bean paste on the lighter side of one cake, then top with another cake. Repeat until all cakes are filled. Serve immediately.
  14. Wrap leftover dorayaki in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

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