Funnel cake has long been a staple of American street fairs and carnivals. Just the the aroma of that crispy, crunchy, perfectly fried sweet dough covered with powdered sugar is enough to take you back to summertime childhood memories.
The origins of funnel cake in America can be traced back to the Pennsylvania Dutch, a group of German-speaking immigrants who came to Pennsylvania during the 17th and 18th centuries. In more recent times, funnel cakes were often prepared at the Kutztown Folk Festival, an annual fair celebrating Pennsylvania Dutch culture.
With this recipe, funnel cakes can easily be prepared at home any time of year. The batter is simple and the frying is quick. Funnel cakes are fun and meant to be shared, so make this recipe for a crowd when you want to capture the energy and excitement of a summertime state fair right in your own kitchen.
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Confectioners’ sugar
Gather the ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
In another large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Gradually combine the wet and dry ingredients. Beat until very smooth.
Heat oil (at least 1 inch deep) to 375 degrees F.
Spoon the funnel cake batter into a plastic zip-top bag. Then, when the oil is ready, snip off the end of the bag with scissors. This allows you easily control how much batter flows out of the bag and makes it easier to form the funnel cakes.
Move the funnel or zip-top bag over the hot oil to make a pattern, starting at the center of the pan and swirling batter outward in a circle. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown.
Funnel cakes can be made any size you like, from smaller individual portions to one large plate-sized cake everyone can pick off pieces by hand.
Once the funnel cakes are browned on both sides, remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Drain excess oil on a paper towel-lined plate.
Transfer to a rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
- The name "funnel cake" comes from the idea of pouring the batter directly into the hot frying oil through a funnel. If you choose to use this method, rather than the zip-top bag method, you must be sure to hold the opening of the funnel closed, fill the funnel with the batter, and then release your finger once the funnel is held over the oil.