Funnel cakes are a food practically synonymous with state and county fairs and other summer festivals, and it’s true that they’re the kind of messy food best eaten outside. Still, funnel cake fans may get a mid-winter craving when state fair season is many months away. If you don’t mind a little mess, you might be pleased to learn that DIY funnel cakes really aren’t that difficult. As developer Kristen Carli says about her a simple funnel cake recipe“I love how easy this recipe comes together.
The batter itself is made from pancake mix, so it couldn’t be easier. The trick to turning it into a funnel cake, however, is how you put the batter into the hot oil. If you have ever bought one of the Aldi cake sets, you can always reuse the plastic jug or you can always use the funnel that gave this dish its name. However, if you don’t have either gadget on hand, you can do like Carli and use a plastic bag with about a ¼ inch corner cut off. (The same handy trick works for frosting cakes and cookies if you don’t want to invest in a piping bag.) Heat the oil, place the batter in the piping bag, then pipe it through the cut corner in concentric circles into the hot oil. . Let the bottom cook for a few minutes, then turn the funnel cake over and fry the top as well.
The essential asymmetry of funnel cakes can be masked with tasty toppings
As you can see from the picture, no matter how steady your hand and symmetrical circles are, the funnel dough will spread out into something more like a rectangle – or rather a jumble of wreckage. (We stole that joke from “Sesame Street.”) As Carli says, it’s “exactly what you want,” calling this messy squiggle “the classic funnel cake shape.”
Funnel cakes are also not meant to be served naked. While Carli likes to keep the icing sugar to a minimum to make what she calls a “classic funnel cake,” any festival fan knows that popular fair food it often comes with much more elaborate embellishments. Carli mentions fruit toppings and chocolate syrup, while honey, cinnamon sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream could also make a pretty awesome funnel cake. Since these funnel cakes are made with pancake batter, you can also use your favorite syrup or go for sweet and savory maple flavored breakfast sausage. Since funnel dough itself is not that sweet, full savory funnels are also an option. The cheese would be a good topping, as would the grilled pork, while the chicken tenders would be a fun twist on the trendy chicken and waffles.