Here's an old fashioned funnel cake recipe for making those delicious golden fried cakes you often see being sold at county fairs and festivals.
The distinctive lattice shape is created by pouring the batter through a kitchen funnel into the hot oil in a swirling pattern until it's cooked a golden brown. They look and taste amazing!
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
Batter Ingredients: 3 eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup white sugar, 4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Beat the eggs and add the milk and sugar. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add about 3 cups flour into the egg mixture and beat until the batter is smooth and lump free and thin enough to pour freely through a kitchen funnel. Add only enough remaining flour as needed to reach the right pouring consistency.
Heat cooking oil to 375°F and using a kitchen funnel, slowly pour the batter into the hot oil while holding your finger over the bottom of the funnel to control the flow.
Keep moving the funnel to create swirls and circular shapes with the stream of batter flowing into the hot oil.
Once the funnel cakes are fried a golden brown, carefully remove them from the hot oil with tongs or a metal sieve, drain on a wire rack, and generously sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Serve while still warm.
Delicious no matter how they are served, funnel cakes are often enjoyed with a topping of powdered sugar, jam, fresh fruit, or ice cream, with powdered sugar being the most popular. You'll need to forget about the calories for one day!
Homemade funnel cakes are lots of fun to make too. People love to create their own so involve your friends and family, but do be extra CAREFUL around the hot oil. Be sure to make plenty of batter, though, since everybody loves eating them!
I don't know what rock I was living under for much of my life, but it wasn't until 1996 that I first saw these cakes being made at Canada's Wonderland amusement park located north of Toronto in Vaughan, Ontario.
It was fascinating to watch how the lady used an ordinary tin funnel to swirl and pour the cake batter into the hot oil where it turned a golden brown within the space of a few minutes.
But, the moment she lifted that delicate, lattice-like, golden cake out of the hot oil and onto a wire rack to dry, and then proceeded to generously dust it with white confectioner's sugar, I knew I wanted to try it — I HAD to have it!
I quickly handed her a $10 bill and said to keep the change. I couldn't wait to bite into it.
And it tasted so GOOD! So UNBELIEVABLY GOOD!
Therefore, you can imagine my thrill to find an old fashioned funnel cake recipe in Mom's scrapbook.
And now, you can make your very own funnel cakes any time you want! It's one dessert that's definitely worth trying!
Adapted from the Canada's Wonderland Recipe (2020)
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Oil enough to cover cakes while frying
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Strawberry sundae sauce (optional)
Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add mixed dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients and stir until smooth and without lumps, yet not over mixed.
Funnel cake batter should be thick and slightly runny like pancake batter. Pour batter into pitcher for pouring.
Heat oil in pot until a spoonful of batter rises to surface after being dropped in hot oil, about 375°F.
Carefully pour about 3/4 cup of batter into hot oil in a swirling pattern while holding pitcher 3 inches above the oil. Fry both sides of fennel cake until golden brown, then remove and allow to dry on a wire rack.
For serving, generously dust cakes with powdered confectioners' sugar. Serve as is, or optionally top with strawberry sauce and either vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Yummy!