I was making taiyaki, and most of my friends said that the dough is too hard and dry. I have:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup water.

I use an electric whisk to combine the dry first, then add the liquid ingredients. I use the electric whisk/mixer again for around 30 rotations at the highest speed and let the dough rest in our refrigerator.

I heat one side for 2 minutes in a taiyaki pan and then the other side for 2 minutes. Can you kindly help this newbie serve better taiyaki to children and friends?

  • How are you cooking these @FishCake? Are they pan fried in oil? Baked? Grilled?
    – GdD
    Jun 11, 2019 at 10:57
  • 2
    @GdD they are typically cooked in a taiyaki pan mold. It is designed to be closed. There are stove top varieties and electric ones. These "hand cakes" are often filled...but not with fish! :-)
    – moscafj
    Jun 11, 2019 at 11:02
  • 2
    @GdD expanding on moscafj's clarification, a taiyaki pan is similar to a waffle iron, but in a particular fish shape instead of a waffle shape, and the preparation is very similar, with the exception of adding the (typically sweet) filling after adding the batter to the molds.
    – Allison C
    Jun 11, 2019 at 17:46
  • 2
    The proportions of this recipe are very similar to a traditional American biscuit recipe. I won't post as an answer since I'm not familiar with taiyaki and don't know if the potentially more acidic flavor would be acceptable, but I can't help wondering if substituting buttermilk or sour milk, as is often done for biscuits, would better activate the baking powder to make the result lighter.
    – jmbpiano
    Jun 11, 2019 at 19:06

3 Answers 3


I have never made these, but this is what I observe from comparing your recipe to the most readily found online ones:

  • Your mix is dry. Other recipes tend to have up to twice as much liquid as yours, by proportion to the flour.
  • Your mix has no egg. Every recipe I found included egg, in quantities ranging from 1 egg per 1 cup flour to 1 egg per 1/2 cup flour.

  • You include water in your mix. Other recipes I've found contain no water.

These recipe differences mean that your mix has much less liquid than most and also, importantly I think, much less fat. Eggs and milk both contain fat which will give a more tender result.

You also mix all the ingredients directly together. Recipes I found recommended whisking the flour, salt and baking powder together then beating the egg in a separate bowl, creaming the egg with the sugar then adding the milk and only then gently combining the wet and dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. I'm not sure how much difference this makes, but mixing the sugar and dissolving it into the egg rather than putting it directly into a lower hydration mix will allow you to capture tiny air bubbles into your batter which will also tend to make the crumb more tender.

  • Thank you so much @Spagirl for this reply. The process I have is soooo different, so I will try your suggestion. Thank you! Jun 11, 2019 at 11:16

The recipes I see online are slightly different from yours, and could help in solving your problem. In addition to most of your ingredients, they include baking soda and egg. While baking powder does most of the leavening when used in combination with baking soda, that addition, plus the leavening power of the egg will make a significant difference. By the way, 6 tsp of baking powder seems like a lot for the amount of flour in your recipe. Also, check the consistency of your batter. It should be somewhere between the viscosity of pancake and waffle batter. Finally, I would be careful not to over mix. Like pancakes, you don't want to build up the gluten structure of the flour, which would make the cake's texture tougher. This appears to be a good resource.

  • Thanks for the very in-depth advice! I will try these after the kids have stopped teasing me as a bad baker Jun 11, 2019 at 11:15

You need some oil.

I see these are basically pancakes. You need some oil or butter to make a good pancake, or it is too dry, like your fish pancakes have been.

Use an oil with no flavor or a flavor that will be good in the fish cakes. I have some sunflower oil in the refrigerator I use for making pancakes. Corn oil is good too. Or melted butter would be delicious. A tablespoon per cup of flour would be a place to start.

  • 1
    egg and milk also provide fat Jun 11, 2019 at 18:05
  • Closer to waffles than pancakes; they're cooked in a closed pan and cooked from both sides.
    – Vivian
    Jun 12, 2019 at 19:58

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