Dorayaki is a Japanese confectionary which is usually made with two slightly raised round pancake-like buns sandwiching sweet red bean paste. By using honey in the dough, it gives the buns sweetness and slight moistness.
The name dorayaki is believed to come from the percussion “dora” meaning gong, because the shape resembles a gong. However, there is another theory. It is believed that when a warrior in the Heian period (794-1185)named Benkei was wounded, he was medically treated at a private house. Benkei showed gratitude by treating a food made from flour and water baked on a gong, and wrapped the baked shell around sweet bean paste.
Dorayaki in Edo period (1603-1767) used only one bun which folded the edges and made into square, and the sweet bean paste filled in the middle was visible from one side. The current way of using two buns was devised in the Taisho period (1912-1926), by a Japanese confectionary store in Ueno, Tokyo. This new type of dorayaki was influenced by the Western pancakes, and until the middle of Showa period (1926-1989), it was sometimes mixed up with pancakes.
In the Kansai region, dorayaki is called mikasa-yaki or mikasa-manjyu, which is because the shape looked like the mountain Mikasa in Nara prefecture. At confectionary stores near Kintetsu Nara station, they sell a huge mikasa- yaki which is about 20cm in diameter. Yet, even in the Kansai region, some are called dorayaki, such as goshiki-dorayaki from in Osaka, which uses five different kinds of bean paste.
Nowadays, there are various types of dorayaki. For example, there is namadora which means raw dorayaki, introduced by a company in Miyagi prefecture. It uses whipped cream and sweet bean paste for the filling. Other companies also introduced dorayaki such as using chocolate cream filling.