You don’t have to wait until the state fair rolls into your town to enjoy homemade funnel cakes piled high with powdered sugar.
Funnel cakes evoke strong memories of high school football games – bright lights, cool night air, the sound of the marching band, the smell of fried dough wafting through the air.
Funnel cakes are also one of the first food items that come to mind when I think about fair food. I can close my eyes and instantly see colored lights, hear the shrieks of thrill seekers and the sound of music. There is a hot funnel cake wrapped in white paper in my hand and as soon as I take my first bite, there is powdered sugar all over my clothes and face.
You don’t have to wait until a fair rolls in to your town to enjoy this deep fried snack. Funnel cakes are super easy to make. Once the hot cakes come out of the fryer, coat them high with powdered sugar and keep plenty of napkins handy.
How to Make Homemade Funnel Cakes
Start by heating two cups of canola or vegetable oil in a large frying pan. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet when frying because it heats quickly and maintains a consistent temperature. I use a candy thermometer like this one to ensure my oil reaches and stays at 350 degrees.
While the oil is heating, whisk together one large egg and 2/3 cup of milk in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller separate bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
I’m surprised by how many people don’t realize this, but the reason funnel cakes are called funnel cakes is because you use an actual funnel to pour the batter directly into the hot oil. Hold a finger over the tip of the funnel while you pour the patter in so it doesn’t all come running out until your ready. Hold the filled funnel over the center of the skillet with hot oil and then move your finger. Once the batter starts running out, start from the center and move it around to make the interesting squiggly shapes you see.
Other methods – you can use a pastry bag like what you would use to pipe icing … or pour the batter into a gallon sized Zipoc bag, cut one of the corners off and pipe your batter in that way.
These guys fry up quickly — you only need about two minutes on each side. Once they are done, strain them and let them drain on a couple of paper towels.
I like my funnel cakes sprinkled with powdered sugar. But, they are equally delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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You don't have to wait until the state fair rolls into your town to enjoy homemade funnel cakes piled high with powdered sugar.
- 2 cups oil for frying
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Reduce heat to medium to maintain the heat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg and milk.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Pour batter into a funnel (with your finger over the tip), or spoon batter into a large plastic bag with a tip cut off.
- Pipe batter into the hot oil making a squiggly design and working from the center out. Fry funnel cake for two minutes on each side.
- Remove from oil onto paper towels to drain.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar over hot cakes.
From A Southerly Course by Martha Hall Foose