This is the county fair-type funnel cake recipe. Light and fluffy, this gets dusted with powdered sugar and is served hot for a fun and tasty treat. Funnel cake doesn’t have to be a once-a-year treat…make it a County Fair night any time by serving all the fair favorites for dinner!
The funnel cake is synonymous with county fairs, but its roots go back to medieval Persia where yeast-risen dishes were a popular treat. The dessert spread throughout Europe and was brought to America by the Dutch as a dish called Drechderkuche in 1879. Through the western expansion of Europeans to the rest of the United States during the turn of the center funnel cakes are now everywhere!
Funnel cakes are traditionally made by pouring batter via a funnel into hot cooking oil in a circular pattern and deep frying until golden brown. The batter poured through a funnel creates its texture. This is also what gives the dessert its name. If you don't have a special funnel you can also use a plastic or pipping pipe with a corner cut off.
How to Make Funnel Cake: The Staple Fair Food
Funnel cakes are usually served dusted with powdered sugar, but they can also be served with jelly, jam, cinnamon, fresh fruit, chocolate, and other toppings.
If you travel the world, you will find there are many variations on the traditional funnel cake. Here are some examples:
- Germany: The German funnel cake is called Straube or Strieble and it is quite similar to the American version.
- Finland: Commonly served on May Day, funnel cake is called Tippaleipa which translates to droplet bread.
- Lithuania: In Lithuania, the dessert is normally made in early spring to empty last year’s honey stock and make room for a new one. It is called Skruzdeylynas or ant’s nest.
- Asia: In Asia, there is a dessert similar to the funnel cake called a Jalebi. Unlike the traditional funnel cake, these do not call for baking powder, so they have a chewier texture.
- The Philippines: The Philippines serve a variation that is considered the native donut. It is called Kumukunsi and it is made with rice flour, duck eggs, and sugar. It is molded into rope-like strands so that is similar in appearance to the funnel cake although the taste and consistency are more like that of a creamy pancake.
Our version of the funnel cake is a bit more traditional to the US and is a great way to get familiar with the recipe before getting more adventurous. Serve it to your family to give them a taste of the county fair and a treat they are sure to love. Just be very, very, very careful with hot oil and please dispose of it properly.
Easy Funnel Cake Recipe
Our version of the funnel cake is a bit more traditional and it is a great way to get familiar with the recipe before getting more adventurous. It involves simple ingredients like eggs, milk, and baking powder. However, the preparation can get a bit more complicated.
The first part involves making sure the pan has heated to the perfect temperature. To be sure the temperature is right, drop a pinch of flour into the hot oil. If it sizzles right away without smoking, you know the temperature is ideal.
The second tricky part will come when you use a funnel to drop the egg, milk, sugar, salt, and baking powder mixture into the pan. When doing this, you must make sure the mixture is distributed evenly so the funnel cake will be cooked to perfection.
This can be a bit disconcerting as you will be dropping the mixture into hot oil which can pop and burn you as you are working over it, so it is best to use extreme caution. If you have small children this might not be the best recipe to have them partner on.
Although the recipe recommends that you use a plastic gallon bag instead of a funnel if you don’t have one, this will not give you the same amount of control, so using the funnel is preferable.
Finally, you must be very careful when you remove the cake from the heat. Make sure to do so carefully so that the pastry does not fall apart. You should also check to see that the funnel is completely done before removing it, but don’t leave it on too long so that it burns. 2-3 minutes should be perfect.
Serve it to your family to give them a taste of the county fair and a treat they are sure to love.Print
This fan favorite is easy and affordable to make — your family will think they're at the state fair!
- oil for frying
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Powdered sugar
- In a deep skillet, heat about two cups of oil over medium-high heat until hot, around 375 degrees F. Test the temperature by dropping a pinch of flour into the hot oil. If it sizzles right away without smoking, it’s perfect.
- Beat egg and milk. Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to the egg mixture, beating until smooth.
- Pour batter into a funnel, using your hand or finger as a stopper. Using a funnel, drop the batter into hot oil working from center outwards in a web pattern to about 6 inches. (You can use a gallon sized freezer bag instead of a funnel by pouring the batter into the bag, snipping off a small corner of it, and squeezing the batter into the oil.)
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes, ensuring both sides are cooked. Remove from the oil when golden brown and crispy.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 3 Minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Frying
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: funnel cake