Dorayaki Cake (どら焼き)
Dorayaki is a Japanese cake usually made with two slightly raised round castella cakes (or small pancakes) with azuki bean paste in the middle. If it is baked with honey added then the castella cake will be moist.
It is said that the original dorayaki were made using only one cake with the edges folded over so they were square and the bean paste could be seen on one side. They were thought to be very similar to today's 'kintsuba' Japanese bean cakes. It is said that the current method of using two pieces of castella to sandwich the bean paste was the idea of the Japanese cake shop in Ueno called 'Usagi-ya' which was founded in 1914, and this method became popular around Japan.
The prevailing theory on the origin of the name Dora-yaki is because the shape is similar to a percussion instrument or Chinese gong called a Dora. However there is also an alternative theory as follows.
When Musashibo Benkei (a Japanese warrior monk) became injured, he received treatment at a private house. To show his gratitude, he mixed flour and water, spread it thinly over a hot Chinese gong and used the round baked cake to wrap bean paste and this was the origin of Dorayaki.
Also there are a variety of other theories however now we cannot say for sure which is correct.
In the Kinki region many Japanese cake shops sell this kind of product under the name Mikasa (said to be named after Mt. Mikasa in Nara Prefecture) and Dorayaki are commonly called "Mikasa Manju" (Mikasa bean cakes). For example at Chidoriya Nara Kojika Co. near Kintetsu Nara Station they sell not only the usual size Dorayaki but also large Dorayaki nearly 20 cm in diameter under the product name Mikasa. However, starting with Goshiki Dorayaki (the bean paste is made of five different kind beans) sold at Akanemaru Honpo Dainagon Ltd. in Osaka, there are also many local products sold under the name Dorayaki in the Kansai Region.
Cakes of the same name
There are also examples of cakes which differ in shape to the commonly known Dorayaki which are sold under the name Dorayaki. One example is the Dorayaki sold by 'Sasaya Iori' at 'Kobo-ichi Fair' at To-ji Temple, Kyoto City, which has bean paste drawn into a stick shape and surrounded with Baum kuchen.
Dorayaki related information
The product name at the long-established cake shop called 'Bunmeido' is 'Mikasayama.'
It is also said that this is the origin of the use of the name 'Mikasa' in the Kansai region.
Dorayaki are also known as the favorite food of the cat robot which is the main character in the comic animation 'Doraemon' (created by Fujiko F. Fujio) and for people born between the 1960's and 1980's, the term Dorayaki usually conjures up the image of Doraemon. As a result, licensed products have been manufactured and sold including in the past Dorayaki named after Doraemon by Yamazaki Baking Co., Ltd. and other companies and since 2000 Bunmeido has sold Dorayaki with a Doraemon mark called "Doraemon Dorayaki" around March and September each year. Moreover, in the creation of "Doraemon" Dorayaki appears written in different ways.
Usually azuki bean paste is used, but sometimes Dorayaki also contains chestnuts or sticky rice.
Also, recently alternative Dorayaki are also made called 'Nama-Dora.'
This type contains fillings such as fresh cream, custard cream or chocolate cream instead of azuki bean paste, and also jam or chopped fruit and resembles waffles. They are sometimes sold refrigerated or frozen to preserve freshness. If frozen, they are defrosted naturally or microwaved before eating.