Grilled Sweets

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

The Japanese word for baking (yaku) can also mean grilling, and many Japanese baked goods are actually grilled. A batter of flour, sugar, egg, and milk poured into heated metal molds around lumps of sweet azuki bean paste makes Grilled Dolls (ningyōyaki), bite-sized treats in the shape of puppets. Pouring the same mix into a mold shaped like a fish yields Grilled Sea Bream, a sweet invented by vendors in Tokyo in 1909, and one that remains a favorite sold at festivals. Gong Cake (dorayaki) consists of two round pancakes sandwiching a lump of sweet azuki paste. This sweet dates to the early modern period; eggs were added to the recipe in the late 1800s. In the area around Kyoto, Gong Cakes are called Mikasa, in reference to a famous poem about viewing the moon from Mount Mikasa in Nara City.