Lyndon Hill


Dorayaki are a traditional type of Japanese cake. They are made from two small flat cakes joined together with a filling. The most common filling is a sweet red paste made from azuki beans. The great thing about Dorayaki is that they are a fairly light snack and ideal with tea or coffee.

Dorayaki

Watch Dorayaki being made in Kyoto.

The cake part is considered to be a form of Castella (kasutera), a sponge cake originally from Portugal. The azuki beans are cooked with sugar and can be considered a type of jam known as anko. The anko can be mashed (koshi) or beans left whole (tsubu).

Green tea (matcha) flavoured Dorayaki are very common. Mochi, a type of sticky rice, is also popular as part of the filling. During Autumn and Winter, chestnut Dorayaki are often found.

As I started to do some background research, it seems that dorayaki-zuki (Dorayaki lovers) are far more common than I imagined. The most famous is Doraemon, the cartoon cat. A well known university professor once told me he likes to pop Dorayaki in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them up for breakfast. Not everyone likes Dorayaki though; some people don't like anko.

Origin

The word dora means gong. In the Kansai area of Japan, Dorayaki are called Mikasa due to an association with a mountain in Nara called Mikasa-yama, you can find it on this map (the recognised name is Wakakusa-yama).

I often see Dorayaki called Torayaki (tora written in katakana). These Dorayaki have a striped appearance to the castella, rather like the pattern on Tiger fur.

Dorayaki and Torayaki
Left: Dorayaki, Right: Torayaki

Since tora means tiger, I am guessing that this is the reason for the name shift (until I find a better answer). The appearance of the castella does not have a noticeable effect on the taste.

I heard that in Osaka city there is a 5 colour Dorayaki. I am also told that in Hirakata, they have a type of Dorayaki called akatsuki (red moon).

How to eat Dorayaki

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
1. Tear open packet. 2. Carefully remove. 3. Discard oxygen absorber. 4. Enjoy with tea.

Please take care when removing your Dorayaki not to damage it and don't forget to remove the oxygen absorber. In most of the photos on this page the Dorayaki has been cut in order to show the filling, this is only for explanation. There is no need to cut Dorayaki.

Types of Dorayaki

Anko (azuki beans) anko anko
Shiro Anko (white anko) shiro anko shiro anko
Matcha (green tea) matcha matcha
Goma (sesame) goma goma
Oimo (sweet potato) oimo oimo
O-dora (large size), bought at Shop 99 large large
Azuki Dorayaki (mini), bought in Shikoku azuki  
Mikasa (cinnamon mochi sandwich), from Kyoto cinnamon mochi cinnamon mochi
Mikasa (chestnut), from Nara chestnut chestnut
Mikasa (plain), from Kobe anko anko
Irodori Mame (coloured beans, including white kidney beans and chickpeas) irodori irodori
Yume Dora ("Dream dorayaki" made with fresh cream), from Kobe yume yume
Anko, from Nagoya anko anko
Kurenai Anko (crimson anko), from Nagoya crimson anko crimson anko
Matcha, from Nagoya matcha matcha
Mochi, from Osaka Mochi Dorayaki Mochi Dorayaki
Mini Mikasa, from Kyoto Mini Dorayaki Mini Mikasa
"Mo" character, from Osaka Mo Dorayaki Mo
Whole chestnut, from Dazaifu Dazaifu Dorayaki Dazaifu
Anko, from Okinawa Okinawan Dorayaki Okinawa
Tsuki (Moon) Moon Dorayaki Tsuki
Senfuto ("Fat Hermit") ? Fat Hermit Senfuto
Cream Custard, from Thailand. Only 10 Baht (27 Yen or 20 pence)! A dorayaki in a Japanese supermarket would normally cost about 150 Yen. Thai Cream Custard Dorayaki Cream Custard
Almond Cream, from Thailand. The maneki neko on the packet is saying "Very delicious". Thai Almond Cream Dorayaki Almond Cream
Green tea mascarpone (with anko), from Japan Centre in London, UK. Green tea mascarpone Green tea mascarpone

Torayaki

Sakura Mochi (cherry mochi), bought at Muji sakura mochi sakura mochi
Kinako Mochi (soybean flour mochi), bought at Muji kinako mochi kinako mochi
Matcha Mochi (green tea mochi), bought at Muji matcha mochi matcha mochi
Saku saku choco crunch ichigo cream (chocolate-strawberry), bought at Family Mart choco crunch choco crunch
Yuzu (Japanese lemon), from Akihabara Yuzu Torayaki Yuzu
Custard made by Chiisana Okashiyasan, bought at Family Mart in Kyoto Custard Torayaki Custard

Other Manjyu and Okashi

This section is included to help you identify manjyu that are not Dorayaki.

Momiji (Maple leaf) Manjyu is from Hiroshima Momiji Manjyu Momiji Manjyu
Nokori tsuki (Remnants of the moon (?)), from Kyoto Nokoritsuki Nokoritsuki
Maru-yaki (Ring yaki) - this is my personal name for a generic manjyu made using a metal ring as a mould. Left: Kiyomizu-yaki from Kyoto, Right: Similar manjyu from Kanagawa Kiyomizu-yaki Kanagawa-yaki
Ajari Mochi, from Kyoto Ajari Mochi Ajari Mochi
Taiyaki (bream), from Inari near Kyoto Taiyaki Taiyaki
Ningyo-yaki, left: custard, right: anko, from Tokyo Ningyoyaki Ningyoyaki
[Something] kurabe, (Sorry I can't read this kanji) Kurabe Kurabe