Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Total cooking time: 20-30 minutes
The recipe creates 6-8 funnel cakes
A must-eat snack at summer carnivals and county fairs, funnel cakes are crispy, soft, sweet, and amazingly delicious. If you have ever eaten a funnel cake, the flavors and textures probably bring to mind memories of exciting times with friends, Ferris wheels, crowds of happy carnival-attendees, and other kinds of summer fun.
If you’ve never enjoyed a funnel cake, let me fill you in on what you have been missing. Funnel cakes are deep-fried quick bread dusted with a light coating of powdered sugar. The batter is drizzled into hot oil in long, swirling patterns, creating lacy, pancake-like mounds of cooked dough. The outside of the cake is a little crispy and caramelized while the inside of it is slightly doughy and sweet.
When you buy a funnel cake from a vendor, it will be coated in a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and should be piping hot. A carnival funnel cake is usually so large, that, of course, you have to share it with your friends. Everyone digs in with their bare hands, pulling off pieces of dough until lips and hands are coated in powdered sugar. The great thing about the treat is that nobody cares how messy or unsanitary the whole experience is. It’s all about sharing a sweet snack with friends.
These treats are perfect for summer parties, though since they must be cooked one at a time, you probably don’t want to volunteer them for a very large party. Traditional funnel cakes are topped with powdered sugar, but some people enjoy them with chocolate, sweetened fruit, or ice cream piled generously on top. Pie filling is a great shortcut for topping your funnel cakes.
Funnel cakes are much simpler than you might think, but you do have to be able to fry them safely. Don’t attempt to cook this recipe with infants, toddlers, or small children underfoot. Also, tie back your hair and make sure that long sleeves and jewelry are out of the way to avoid burns. Never leave your pan of hot oil unattended for even a moment. If you have to leave the room for whatever reason, remove the pan from the stove burner and turn off the stove.
Table of Contents
- Funnel Cakes Instructions
- Step 1. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.
- Step 2. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combining thoroughly until the mixture is smooth.
- Step 3. Fill a 10-inch skillet with a 1-inch deep layer of cooking oil.
- Step 4. Bubbles should immediately surround the batter, and it should sizzle.
- Step 5. Once you’re sure the oil is an appropriate temperature, you can start creating the funnel cakes.
- Step 6. Holding the funnel full of batter over the hot oil, remove your finger and allow the batter to pour out of the funnel opening into the hot oil.
- Step 7. Drizzle the stream of batter all around the pan, crisscrossing the dough lines so that the mat of dough threads will stick together into a large cake.
- Step 8. Using a slotted spatula, quickly flip the cakes to cook the back-side.
- Step 9. When the cake is golden brown on both sides, remove it and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the oil.
Funnel Cakes Instructions
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 cups oil for frying
- A funnel
- Powdered sugar for dusting the funnel cakes
Step 1. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.
In a smaller bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and vanilla.
Step 2. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combining thoroughly until the mixture is smooth.
Step 3. Fill a 10-inch skillet with a 1-inch deep layer of cooking oil.
Heat the oil to about 375 degrees. If you don’t have a deep-fat frying thermometer, that’s okay. Just heat the oil to medium. For the cakes to cook quickly without becoming saturated in oil, you want it to be the correct temperature. To test this, simply dribble a tablespoon full of batter into the oil.
Step 4. Bubbles should immediately surround the batter, and it should sizzle.
If it pops and sputters, the oil is too hot. If it just sits there and doesn’t cook very quickly, the oil needs to be hotter. Your blob of batter should brown in about 2-3 minutes on one side.
Step 5. Once you’re sure the oil is an appropriate temperature, you can start creating the funnel cakes.
Bring your batter bowl right next to the stove where you’ll be working. Using one hand, cover the funnel opening with one of your fingers to keep the batter from pouring out. Put about 1/4 cup batter into the funnel.
Step 6. Holding the funnel full of batter over the hot oil, remove your finger and allow the batter to pour out of the funnel opening into the hot oil.
(If the batter won’t stream out of the opening because it’s too thick, return it to the bowl and add a little bit of milk or water to thin it a bit.)
Step 7. Drizzle the stream of batter all around the pan, crisscrossing the dough lines so that the mat of dough threads will stick together into a large cake.
Cook the cake until you can see the edges of the dough threads beginning to turn a light brown.
Step 8. Using a slotted spatula, quickly flip the cakes to cook the back-side.
Be very careful when you turn the cakes to avoid splattering yourself with hot oil. It’s best if you flip the cakes away from you to keep any splatters off of yourself.
Step 9. When the cake is golden brown on both sides, remove it and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the oil.
Shake powdered sugar generously over the surface of the cake and serve it piping hot.
April Freeman enjoys creating all kinds of recipes for her friends and family from her country kitchen in Middle Tennessee. She and her family raise beef cattle, chickens, and all sorts of fruits and veggies on their farm, and she specializes in featuring farm-fresh foods in the recipes that she creates and serves. April says that her slogan is “Are you hungry?” and she feels that one way of showing love and connecting with others is to serve delicious favorite foods to others. Her favorite thing to cook is pies of all kinds.