Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Funnel Cakes

Servings: Makes 8 funnel cakes
What are Funnel Cakes?

The funnel cake, a deep-fried fritter of sorts, is a product of the Pennsylvania Dutch, who called it "drechter kuche".

The name funnel comes from the technique used to make the cakes -- the batter is poured through a funnel into hot oil.

Funnel cake batter, which is similar in consistency to pancake batter, is poured into the oil in a circular pattern and then fried until golden brown. When the lacy cake, about 8 inches around, cools just slightly, it is adorned with a variety of toppings, the most popular being powdered sugar or fruit toppings such as apple or strawberry.

How is a funnel cake different from an elephant ear, another deep-fried fair staple? The elephant ear is fried, flattened dough inspired by the fry bread of the American Indians of the West and named for their big ear shape. Navajo fry bread is served sweet, with powdered sugar or honey, or savory, with chili con carne or cheese on top.

Since funnel cakes and elephant ears are so popular at fairs and flea markets, why don't we see them for sale at mall food courts? Because both must be eaten soon after they are made. They don't hold up well sitting under warming lights. Pretzels made the transition from pushcart to mall better. At most fairs, they are made to order.

Where to Buy Funnel Cake Kits

You may purchase Funnel Cake Kits online at KitchenKapers.com, gooseberrypatch.com, instawares.com, kitchencollection.com, amazon.com or even on Ebay.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable Oil, for deep frying
Confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Equipment Needed To Make Funnel Cakes:
Funnel (funnel should have an opening of at least 1/2 inch and should be able to hold about 1 cup of batter), or funnel cake dropper or funnel cake pitcher*

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the brown sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk again. Whisk in the dry ingredients until smooth.

In a deep wide pan, heat frying oil top 375 degrees F/190 degrees C. Hold your finger over the bottom of the funnel or use a funnel cake dropper and fill it with the batter. Hold the funnel over the hot oil and remove your finger then immediately start drizzling the batter into the oil, moving the funnel around to make a criss-cross or scribbly design. Fry until golden brown on one side then flip it over to fry the other side. Remove the funnel cake from the oil with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle the funnel cakes with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Makes: 8 funnel cakes.

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: October 3, 2002