Breakfast and Brunch, Dessert, Pancakes, Waffles & French Toast

Dorayaki (Japanese sweet filled Pancakes)

Nicoletta February 18, 2016

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If you have never attempted making Japanese sweets, Dorayaki is perfect for beginners (like me): quite easy, fast, and close to a pancake. It will be a pleaser, so sweet, and delicious!


If you’re in pitch blackness, all you can do is sit tight until your eyes get used to the dark ― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

My love for Japan started many years ago.



As a kid I loved spending some of my free time watching Japanese anime and manga (cartoons) on Tv. I was mesmerized by the colors, the songs, the characters. I was intrigued by the beautiful large eyes and the lively, colorful and uniquely styled hair. I was enthrolled by the stories: I felt transported into a different world and waited for those Tv episodes with impatience. As a grown-up I lost myself in the reading of Japanese writers: Yukio Mishima, Natsume Soseki, Banana Yoshimoto, and my favorite, Haruki Murakami: I love that in-between world of realism and fable that permeates his books. In my mid-twenties, and for five years, I practiced and loved a Japanese martial art, Aikido, forced to stop by an ankle injury. In the years I was practicing Aikido, I became familiar with many Japanese words and terms and that led to my interest in Japanese language. I home studied a bit of Hiragana (the Japanese sillabary), some calligraphy and some basic speaking. Later on I started collecting prints (Ukiyo-e) and scrolls, some wood dolls (Kokeshi) and some pottery that are scattered throughout my apartment in Rome and some followed me and found place in our home in Edmonton.

With Loreto we often talk about our plans to go to Japan, being appraisers of Japanese food and art. In the meantime, during our travels, we like to stroll along the graceful and tranquil Japanese Gardens of every city we visit. In Edmonton we often visit the Kurimoto Japanese Garden and every year we attend the Spring Festival and enjoy the Tea Ceremony in the Ozawa Pavilion.


Kurimoto Japanese Garden, Devonian Gardens, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Loreto would like to learn how to make sushi, as for me, I like to eat it 🙂 . I am also fascinated by the colorful, unusual, tasty japanese fruits and sweets. Like the Dorayaki, some kind of east-meets-west small pancakes, that are mostly filled with anko, the sweet azuki bean paste, however, custard, chestnuts and cream (matcha, chocolate, cream with fruits, etc) are also popular.  They are the favorite food of the Japanese anime character Doraemon, he loves dorayaki, and in every episode he tries to eat a pile of them, usually disturbed by some occurrence.

Making the Dorayaki:

I found a can of azuki beans and thought of making something that looked and tasted kind of like the anko (Tsubuan) paste. Since the most lengthy part is to soak them, covered them with water and cook for hours until they’re soft, having the canned beans took all the effort out. I briefly cooked the canned beans with a tiny amount of  sugar (they’re sweetened), mashed them a bit while they were cooking, and until they were the right consistency (I’ve read that when you draw a line on the bottom of the saucepan and see the bottom for more than 2 seconds, it’s done). It may seem like Anko is simple to make, but a lot of Japanese sweet confectionery artisans have devoted their lives to Anko making, so I don’t think I’ve mastered the recipe, but I was quite happy with the result. It was good enough for my first attempt at Japanese dessert making. You can find the anko paste in an Asian specialty store, but here in Rome it’s not that easy to find.

Making the Dorayaki is easy, too, they have few basic ingredients, and it is very similar to making pancakes, but they require some attention:  for example, make sure to wipe off all excess oil on the frying pan’s surface if you want to obtain nice golden brown pancakes. If you leave oil streaks on the pan, the pancakes will have some spots. Pay attention also in shaping them, because the two patties in pair, apart from being round, have to be more or less the same size. Practice is the key, I’ve had a few misshapen pancakes before I could actually sandwich them 🙂 .


Very humbly, bowing in respect, I present you my Japanese inspired production, Dorayaki, Japanese Sweet Filled Pancakes. Good at breakfast, and as a snack for kids and grown-ups. I’ve frozen some individually and they will be ready for my breakfast or to bring to work.


If you have never attempted making Japanese sweets, Dorayaki is perfect for beginners (like me). It is quite easy, fast, and will be a pleaser, so sweet, and simply delicious! I have already ready a version with chocolate hazelnut spread, yummy! 😉 .

Song of the day: Ryuichi Sakamoto/David Sylvian “Heartbeat”.

Recipe for the Anko adapted from “Just One Cookbook“.


Dorayaki (Japanese sweet filled Pancakes)

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Yield: 4 Dorayaki (8 medium pancakes) 1x
  • Category: Breakfast, Snack
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Japanese


If you have never attempted making Japanese sweets, Dorayaki is perfect for beginners (like me): quite easy, fast, and close to a pancake. It will be a pleaser, so sweet, and delicious!


Anko paste:

  • 1 cup dried red beans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • water
  • pinch of salt


  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 100 g cake flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • anko (sweet azuki bean paste) for the filling


For the Anko paste:

  1. Put dried red beans in a pot with 4-5 cups of water. Let boil for 5 minutes and discard water.
  2. In a clean pot, place red beans and 4-5 cups of water, cover, and let it simmer at low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (add more water to keep above the beans). The beans should now be very soft.
  3. Discard water again, put soft beans back in the pot with sugar at medium heat and constantly stir, mix and mash for about 10 minutes until forming a paste that looks shiny but still loose. Add a pinch of salt and turn off the heat. Immediately transfer the paste to a container.
  4. If you have canned azuki beans, they are probably sweetened, so you can cook them to reduce moisture (about 8-10 minutes) with a tiny bit of sugar (I used 1 Tbsp).

For the pancakes:

  1. Whisk eggs with sugar and honey in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add sifted flour and baking soda and quickly mix (but do not overmix).
  3. Slowly add water while whisking until smooth, cover with plastic wrap then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. After that time, drop 2 tablespoons of batter onto a lightly oiled fry pan, over low-medium heat. When bubbles start to appear, flip with a spatula the pancakes and cook briefly on the other side until golden.
  5. While making the pancakes, cover the cooked ones with plastic wrap to keep them moist
  6. Spread about two tablespoons of azuki bean paste on one pancake, then cover it with another to make a sandwich, pressing the edges to close.


The Anko paste may be kept in the refrigerator for three days and then frozen. Wrap each dorayaki with plastic wrap to keep them moist. You can also deep-freeze them.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Angela Chu February 18, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Dorayaki are so yummy, my mom loves to eat them as well 🙂 I remember when I was in Japan last year, you can buy Dorayaki EVERYWHERE! Also, hey have something called Taiyaki which is also very popular!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 18, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Aren’t they super yummy? They’ve become one of my favorites now! I so wish I tasted the original ones in Japan! I am so jealous you were there last year 😉 . Heading out to your blog, saw your review on a japanese Mc Donald’s. Thanks for stopping by, Angela!

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