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Taiyaki Japanese Fish-Shaped Cakes

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raw vegan gluten-free Taiyaki Japanese Fish-Shaped Cakes

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free ~

Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake that is most commonly filled with red bean paste which is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings might be custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato. Traditionally, it is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. The batter is poured into a fish-shaped mold for each side. The filling is then put on one side, and the mold is closed, and cooked on both sides until golden brown.

Breaking tradition…

I was contacted by a Nouveau Raw Member who wanted to know if I could create this dessert for her husband’s up and coming birthday.  She had been inspired by my Moon Cakes and was hoping she could present something similar for her husband who is of Japanese descent.  She wasn’t looking to use the traditional ingredients; she wanted it raw and healthy.

Nothing fishy going on here…

I have to tell you that these smell absolutely amazing coming out of the dehydrator!  Warm apple pie nails it right on the head.

How many fish cakes does this recipe yield?

The apple pie filling made enough to create 16 molded fish cakes.  I purchased this mold on Amazon. The crust batter however only makes enough for 8.  You have a few options here; double the crust recipe if you want to make 16 fish cakes, or reduce the filling ingredients by half… or use the leftover filling to make a second treat such as cookies. Options, options, options. :)

holding a raw vegan gluten-free Taiyaki Japanese Fish-Shaped CakesIngredients:

Filling yields 2 cups (2 Tbsp worth per fish) makes 16 fishes

  • 1 cup chopped pecans, soaked & dehydrated
  • 1 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • One tsp Apple Spice
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed, Medjool dates
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or another sweetener)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, soaked & dehydrated

Outer crust: yields eight fish

  • 2 cups buckwheat groats, soaked
  • 1 cup cashew, soaked 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed, ground
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt



  1. In the food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine the pecans, cinnamon, Apple spice, and salt.  Pulse to a fine crumble.
  2. Add the applesauce, dates, and sweeter.  Process until the batter comes together.
  3. If the dates are really dry, rehydrate them in enough water to cover for about 15 minutes.  Drain and discard the soak water before adding it to the batter.
  4. Add the walnuts and pulse together leaving chunks.  This will add texture to the overall dessert.  I tried it with a well-blended filling and the combination of the outer and inner layer was too similar and was boring to the mouth-feel of things.

Outer Crust:

  1. Click on the link above to learn how to soak buckwheat. After soaking the buckwheat, drain and discard the soak water, rinsing them under running water until you don’t detect any more mucilage (slime) draining from it.  This important as it will affect the taste.
    • You can take the buckwheat to the next nutritional level by sprouting it before continuing with the recipe.  This will take an extra day or two.
  2. Place the flax seeds in a small grinder to bring to a powder.
  3. In a food processor, fitted with an “S” blade, combine the groats, cashews, flax, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt. Process until the batter is well mixed.
  4. Form a dough ball and put it in between two large sheets of plastic wrap.  If it feels too sticky to handle, let it rest for at least 15 minutes.

the inside of raw vegan gluten-free Taiyaki Japanese Fish-Shaped CakesAssembly:

  1. Prepare the fish mold by lining it with plastic wrap.  This will help with removal.  I tried without, and boy was it a mess. :P
  2. Roll the dough thinly, between 1/8″ –  1/4″ thick.  Trim the dough to be a little larger than the fish pan/mold that you are using. See photo below on the 5 1/2″ x 6″  template I made to accommodate the mold that I used.
    • If the dough is too thick, the end product will taste doughy.
    • If the dough is too thin, it won’t hold up to the process.
    • I used roughly 1/2 cup of dough for each side of the fish mold.
  3. Lay the rolled out dough on the pan and gently (!) press in the center of the fish cavity where the dough will sit.  Do this to both sides of the fish mold.
    • If the dough cracks too much, you need to add a little bit of water to the batter. Start with 1 Tbsp and work up if need.
    • If the dough feels too wet, add a Tbsp of ground flax, mix and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  4. Place 1 Tbsp worth of filling into each side of the mold and gently move it around to fit into the cavity.
  5. Now we are ready to close the mold to press it together. On the side that you are going to fold over, hold onto the plastic with your fingers carefully holding the dough/filling in its place.
  6. Close the mold and press the sides together.
  7. Open the mold and remove the plastic wrap on one side. Trim away excess dough.
  8. Remove the fish from the mold using a light hand, so you don’t disturb the markings from the mold pattern.
  9. Smooth the edges to seal the dough.
  10. I wanted the mold markings to be more striking, so I used a chopstick, and a thin piece of string to make the gills. Repeat the process until all the fish are made.  Place them on a mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.
  11. To create a cooked appearance,  mix either1 Tbsp of powdered coconut crystals with 1 Tbsp of water in a small bowl … then paint it onto the crust with a brush.
  12. Dehydrate at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees (F) for 2-4 hours.
  13. Serve warm or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Culinary Explanations:

25 thoughts on “Taiyaki Japanese Fish-Shaped Cakes

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Yay!! Yay!! They Look wonderful!!! and sooo delicious!!!!! Thanks a lot!!! Can’t wait for my husband’s birthday. He is going to love this recipe ^_^ Btw, I did the Red Velvet Cake yesterday. It was my birthday… It was super delicious!! Thanks Happy Amie-Sue!!

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh Elizabeth… my gmail account did the disappearing act with your email address and I couldn’t notify you about what I had created for you! So happy that you saw this. hehe Please keep me posted on how it goes. I hope it really blesses your husband. AND Happy b-lated Birthday to you! Goodness… birthdays everywhere. hehe I love that red velvet cake, it makes me smile knowing that “part” of me was with you to celebrate. :) Many blessings and keep in touch. amie sue

      • Elizabeth Cortez says:

        I was checking every day your blog waiting for the recipe :P Thanks thanks again!! I wish I can post pictures of the red velvet cake. I posted some on my FB, couldn’t miss this opportunity to show off my raw culinary skills haha ^_*. It was not as pretty as yours because I had three little “helpers” around when I was decorating it! But we all loved it! It was superb! I will start gathering all my ingredients for the Japanese Fish-Shaped cake. Many hugs!!

        • amie-sue says:

          You are welcome Elizabeth. :) I love that you bring your young ones in to help you in the kitchen. That is so important and I am sure it was just as pretty…. how could it not, it had so many loving hands working on creating it! Thank you so much for sharing and I can’t wait to hear as to what you think of this recipe. Many blessings, amie sue

  2. Katharine says:

    Amazing creativity!

  3. Penelope says:

    Welcomed me back. Amie Sue. Hope your walk about was all you hoped it would be.
    For an walnut allergy, what nut would you suggest as a substitute?
    Thank you… So nice to have you back😀

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Penelope,

      Thank you so much. It was a life changing experience and I am forever grateful for the journey that I am on. :)

      Let’s see, you can replace the walnuts with more pecans… or truthfully, any nut would work. I choose walnuts and pecans because I love how buttery they are in flavor. So just use what you have, I am sure it will turn out yummy! Keep me posted! Blessings, amie sue

  4. Lone says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! I’m just wondering if there’s a substitute for the apple spice as to purchase that size bottle on Amazon.ca is $31! and I’m not sure if spices can be imported to Canada from the US.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Lone,

      You can always make your own apple spice mix:

      5 Tbsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
      1 Tbsp ground ginger
      1 Tbsp ground allspice
      1/2 Tbsp ground nutmeg
      3/4 Tbsp ground cardamom

      Place everything in a small jar and shake together.

      I hope this helps. Many blessings, amie sue

  5. Kathy says:

    These sweet little fish are adorable! I am so glad I got to see them, yours turned out perfectly, everything you create is always second to none. I will make your recipe but will just shape them like patties/smiley faces. Thank you kindly for sharing your beautiful recipe and creativity/artisan foods and treats. Stay blessed XO

    • amie-sue says:

      Awe thanks Kathy… you are so sweet. There are so many ways that you can use this recipe when it comes to shapes. It was a lot of fun creating these. Have a glorious day. We are squeaking into the weekend! Kitchen blessings my friend. amie sue

  6. Andrea says:

    Fabulous recipe, as always. 1 question: have you ever experimented with using actual Azuki beans, sprouted (rather than cooked), for this or any other similar dessert recipe in order to produce a more “traditional” filling? I would like to experiment with this, but am inexperienced with the use of “sprouted” beans in making desserts. My guess is that a much larger amount of sweetener would have to be used, & I also suspect that to simulate the soft texture of cooked, the mixture would have to be more thoroughly processed or blended into a more paste-like (rather than “textured”) filling. I do know that Adzuki beans are not among those considered toxic when sprouted, so I was just wondering if you’ve had any experience with this? Thanks & have a great day! :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Andrea,

      Thank you first of all for commenting. :)

      No, I haven’t tried making this with Azuki beans. I don’t eat a lot of beans but it might work. There are just far too many foods to experiment with… I need more hours of the day and money to support it all. lol Let me know if you give it a try. :) amie sue

  7. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Hallo Amie-Sue.
    Ooohhh sie sind so eine große Künstlerin, so kreativ, ich bin immer wieder sprachlos was sie alles neue Zaubern.
    Ganz viele lieber Grüße sendet Jesse Gabriel

    • amie-sue says:

      I had Google translate this to, “Hello Amie – Sue . Ooohhh they are a great artist , so creative, I ‘m speechless what they all new spells repeatedly .
      Simply great!!! Quite a lot of dear greetings from Jesse Gabriel”


      It is always a dear pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for the kind words, you always know how to brighten my day. I hope you are doing well my friend. Blessings to you! amie sue

  8. Ellen says:

    I just love your dedication and enthusiasm to create the most beautiful healthy dishes.

    you inspire me


    • amie-sue says:

      Oh thank you Ellen. That is what it is all about to me… to eat healthy but to inspire others. :) I appreciate your warm and kind words this morning. Blessings, amie sue

  9. Cherie says:

    I’m trying to figure out for what purpose was the newspaper used?
    Sorry, just curious!

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