Traditional Japanese Cake-Dorayaki: The Basics
Dorayaki, a traditional Japanese cake which combines many traditions and gastronomies has been a delicacy for such a long time in this country that it has expanded to the point of crossing all seas and oceans.
This posting is only a summary of common knowledge but I hope it will help many to understand the delicacy and make it themselves for the pleasure of all, adults and children alike!
I will eventually post a basic recipe for it!
Dorayaki (どら焼き, どらやき, 銅鑼焼き, ドラ焼き) is a type of Japanese confection which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of sweet red bean paste (anko/餡子).
Incidentally Castella (カステラ, Kasutera) is a popular Japanese sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup, very common at festivals and as a street food.
Now a specialty of Nagasaki, the cake was brought by way of Portuguese merchants in the 16th century.
It originally only had one layer, and the current shape was invented in 1914 by the Ueno Usagiya.
In Japanese, dora (銅鑼) means “gong”, and because of the simililarity of the shapes, this is probably the origin of the name of the sweet.
Legend has it that the first Dorayaki were made when a samurai named Benkei forgot his gong (dora) upon leaving a farmer’s home where he was hiding and the farmer subsuquently used the gong to fry the pancakes, thus the name Dorayaki.
In Kansai area, such as Osaka or Nara, this sweet is often called mikasa（三笠）. The word originally means triple straw hat, but also an alternative name of Mount Wakakusa, a low hill with gentle slope located in Nara. Many local people picture the shape of this hill while eating a mikasa. In Nara, a larger mikasa of about 30 cm in diameter is famous.
Probably thanks to the French Macarons vogue, modern dorayaki also come in various colours, with the bean paste, usually made of red bean paste and sometimes of white bean paste, replaced with creams of many colours.
Here in Shizuoka Prefecture which produces half of all Japanese green tea, they make dorayaki with matcha (抹茶) tea, both in the castella and in cream combined with the anko/bean paste!