You’ll smell walnut cakes long before you see them. They smell like freshly baked cake and toasted nut. These traditional cakes are one of the best sweet Korean street foods out there – in my admittedly inexperienced opinion. They’re a cross between a donut hole and a pancake, and are filled with a small amount of walnut paste that makes them moist and flavorful.
The most interesting thing about them is how they’re made. Batter is pipped down from a large bag or funnel using a small hose into a hot pan made of circular holes. Of course, you could make these by hand without the fancy piping equipment, but as a street vendor, speed is going to give you something of an edge. It actually looks a lot like an aebleskiver pan, but with both a top and a bottom side. The circular molds also have a walnut shell pattern, so the finished cakes look like nuts. Once the batter is in place, the walnut paste is dropped in and the lid is shut so the cakes can brown evenly. Eat the while they’re hot and you can get the best effect of crisp outside and soft center.
I saw these morning, noon and night. They go great with coffee if you can find them for a quick breakfast! Also, I’m not sure what the Korean name for these are, as most of the signs I saw simply said “walnut cakes.”