This scrumptious from scratch funnel cake is perfect for entertaining guests or for a fun dessert. I make this dessert whenever I need a last minute, unique food or am just looking for a little taste of childhood. The recipe is very flexible--you can easily make enough for any size group. And the variety of flavors and toppings mean you could eat it almost every night for a different flavor!
This hot, tasty dessert only takes 20 minutes and proves that funnel cake is not just for the carnival anymore! For any level of baking/cooking experience.
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
You will need the following supplies:
4 c. Flour
1 c. White Cane Sugar (typical table sugar)
3 T Melted Butter
1/2 t Salt
1 c. Buttermilk
1/2 T Baking Powder
The original recipe calls for Mace, however recommends Cardamom and Nutmeg as alternatives: Nutmeg is a fairly common flavor, and Cardamom is for a more 'Scandanavian' feel. The funnel cake is also delicious plain (that's how this one is made) or with cinnamon. Add to taste.
Oil to be used for frying (Could be almost any kind: canola, vegetable, peanut, etc)
This recipe was originally my Norwegian great-grandmother's and her recipe calls for sour milk, however buttermilk is easily substituted for all those (like me) who feel queasy about letting milk spoil before eating it.
T stands for tablespoon
t stands for teaspoon
c stands for cup
Step 2: Prepare the Stove
Pour the vegetable or canola oil into a medium-sized frying pan or skillet, until the oil is more or less an inch and a half (1.5") deep if you are making the whole batch. The exact depth of the oil is not that important, you only need to make sure that the batter will not be touching the bottom of the pan or skillet, or else it will burn. Also keep in mind that the amount of oil you have will be decreasing as you make each funnel cake, so try to plan ahead--if you are doubling the batch or only making half plan accordingly.
Turn the burner on to a medium heat, and let it heat up for the next 15 minutes while you mix up the batter.
CAUTION: The oil will not boil when it is hot! Never touch the oil to see how hot it is--test the oil by dropping a small amount of batter in to see how quickly it cooks. This is most easily done by carefully sticking the batter-covered prongs of a fork into the hot oil.
Step 3: Measure the Ingredients-For Beginning Bakers
Flour. To measure the flour, first use a spoon to scoop the flour loosely into the measuring cup-do not pack the flour down. Fill the cup a little over the edge so that you have enough to fill any places with too little flour.
Then use a knife (or other flat object) and scrape the flour off level with the sides of the cup.
You don't want to pack down flour or you will end up with too much in the batter--which results in your end product being dry and thick.
Eggs. Crack the eggshell by gently tapping it on the inside or rim of the bowl, then use your fingers to break the shell open over the bowl, making sure to not drop any shell in the batter.
Step 4: Mix the Batter
Mix. Begin by melting the butter in a small dish in the microwave (~15 seconds).
Add all of the measured ingredients to a mixing bowl, keeping the following in mind.
Some sage advice from a far superior cook than I am: "The trick to getting non-lumpy flour mixes is to work with difference temperatures." She recommended adding the cold milk and hot butter simultaneously to the flour already in the bowl to minimize lumps.
If nothing else, you'll get far fewer lumps adding liquid to flour than from adding flour to liquid.
Beat. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl, then beat using an electronic beater, whisk, or fork.
The batter should have the smoothest consistency possible, however there will still be a few lumps as shown in the picture below. This could take quite a while--several minutes of using an electronic beater, and if you are beating by hand it might take up to 10 minutes.
Funnel. Then, spoon enough of the finished batter into a plastic bag to still be able to close it tightly--use scissors to snip the corner off to create a funnel (Possibly the origin of the name?). Make sure to look at the picture below if you are unsure of how this should look.
Step 5: Fry Into Cake
Slowly squeeze the batter out of the funnel into the hot oil: BE CAREFUL NOT TO SPLASH THE OIL.
Oil above its boiling point is a very hazardous substance to work with in the kitchen. Any spilt oil will continue to boil much longer than boiling water. This can result in severe burns-even through clothing!
Fry until the batter a golden brown color, or to your desired crunchiness-I normally fry it for aroud 5 seconds. Flip the funnel cake over half way through the cooking time to ensure both sides are evenly cooked.
Remove the completed funnel cake out with tongs or a fork, being careful not to let the oil drip. Keep in mind that the oil will continue to cook the cake for several seconds once it has been removed. Since it cooks for such a short time this can make a huge impact so be sure to take it out when it is slightly undercooked.
Step 6: Top and Eat
Top to taste!
A few suggestions:
The classic powdered sugar
Chocolate syrup with or without caramel topping, ice cream optional
Any sort of fruit preserve
Apple Butter <--this is my personal favorite!
Fresh fruit and cream
Pudding (with crumbled cookies, or berries, or even sprinkles on top)
Remember that the funnel cake will still be hot immediately after it is fried, so try to let it cool for a few minutes before diving in!
Also, the fried funnel cake doesn't save very well (if you accidentally make extras) however the batter saves extremely well if wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Then next time, all you have to do is wait for the oil to heat up to enjoy some more delicious funnel cake.