For one week every spring the local Catholic church, an otherwise unassuming dot on the landscape of my suburb, turned their property into magical kingdom of lights, music, cotton candy and so many rides it was impossible to remember that all other weeks of the year it was just an empty field next to a parking lot. I was obsessed with this carnival… from afar. My parents, citing such horrifically dull things as having their children live long, healthy lives, questionable safety practices and clearly a focused interest in ruining everything, refused to let my sister and me go, even though my best friend, who went to school there and ostensibly had parents also invested in keeping her safe, got to go every night. Worst weeks, ever. This story should end here but as we drove to my parents house last month and I saw the carnival all set up again, I realized two things: 1. I wasn’t remembering it with rose-colored glasses, it’s actually, objectively amazing. 2. This miiiight be the source of my ongoing obsessing with carnivals.
I can’t help it. I haven’t met a balloon race, ali baba, bumper car, ferris wheel, haunted house, carousel, mini-zipper, graviton or hurricane I didn’t like. Give me all the strung lights, popcorn in red and white boxes and musical reels that haven’t changed in 50 years. I delight in the vague creepiness of clowns and it’s basically no surprise that only one days into summer, we’ve already taken the “kids” (sure, okay) to Jenkinson’s and Coney Island.
This means I’ve also had at least two opportunities in the last month to confront my absolute weakness: funnel cake. Fried dough is my undoing. Knots of barely sweetened golden-edged cake blizzarded with powdered sugar is the kind of thing I go about my life safely immune from but then the aroma of it in the air at the boardwalk smacks me in the face and there is nothing else. I have managed to resist funnel cake for the better part of 20 years but something happened at the Jersey Shore a few weeks ago and my husband and I, forever trying to keep our chin count to one-per-person, decided we’d go for it but only eat half. Of one funnel cake. Together.
[I’ll pause while you fall off your chair laughing.]
I wish I could tell you that at last sating my chronic craving for funnel cake did the trick. I got mine, right? Nope. I smell it now and it’s worse because it’s in recent memory and I knew that even the lousiest one didn’t disappoint. The news gets worse from here: should you decide you want to make funnel cake at home, it’s almost comically easy, a one-bowl batter comprised entirely of ingredients you already have (unless you only keep whole wheat-flour around because: no. not here.) and it takes about 3.5 minutes to cook. It doesn’t even absorb enough oil (maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons per cake) to convince you this can’t be a regular thing. My inner adult thinks this is the worst news she’s ever heard. My inner 10 year-old that wants to go to the fair is doing cartwheels. She’s way more fun; I say we hang out with her.
See you soon: I mentioned last week that I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a traffic jam of (awesome) life events and (exciting) deadlines this month and I am going to do the responsible thing (vs. the occasional going-AWOL thing) and bid adieu for exactly three weeks. When I return, my deadline will have passed and a shiny new design of this site will kick off everything that comes after. We will cook all the best summer food. We will drink frozen things. You will not need to miss me, however, because if you choose to follow @smittenkitchen on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or even subscribe to the weekly newsletter, I’m going to make sure you still have the perfect things to cook every day of the week. I’m also on Snapchat but that’s usually just to embarrass myself. Nobody needs to see that.
One year ago: Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake
Two years ago: Frozen Coconut Limeade
Three years ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
Four years ago: Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken
Five years ago: Linguine with Pea Pesto
Six years ago: Bread and Butter Pickles and Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart
Seven years ago: Neapolitan Cake, Cheese Straws and Strawberries and Dumplings
Eight years ago: Fresh Ricotta and Red Onion Pizza
Nine years ago: Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: The Browniest Cookies
1.5 Years Ago: Deep Dark Gingerbread Waffles
2.5 Years Ago: Breakfast Slab Pie
3.5 Years Ago: Cashew Butter Balls
4.5 Years Ago: Parnsip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
Source: Adapted, just barely, from Taste of Home
Wikipedia informs me that in southern Germany, a similar confection is called Strauben; in Finland, tippaleipä is served at May Day (Vappu) celebrations, so I just added both to my “Let’s Go Here Next” list.
Finally, it’s not a popular ingredient, but as someone usually asks, I deep-fat fry sweet things in canned shortening such as Crisco. Because it is solid at room temperature, doughtnuts and the like feel and taste ungreasy to the touch as they cool, plus it’s completely flavor-free.
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk (non-dairy milks could easily be subbed here)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or a small scraping of fresh vanilla bean seeds
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
- Oil for deep-fat frying (I needed about 1 1/2 cups for an 9-inch skillet)
- Confectioners’ sugar to finish
- Are you going to use a funnel? If so, check to make sure your batter is the right consistency to fall through by holding it over your bowl and ladling a little in. I was using one with a 1/2-inch opening and my batter was a tad thick. If yours is, whisk in extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s right. You might need 2 or 3.
- Are you going to use a plastic bag with the corner snipped off? Don’t worry about it then, you can always cut the hole a little bigger if the batter doesn’t fall through easily.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs with sugar, milk, water and vanilla. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over the batter, then flour, and whisk it until batter is smooth.
You can use a funnel, pitcher, squeeze bottle or plastic bag with the corner snipped off to pour your batter into the oil in a thin stream.
Heat 1-inch of oil in a heavy skillet that’s the size you want your cakes to be to between 350 and 375 degrees F. With your finger over the opening so it doesn’t fall out, ladle batter into your funnel or a plastic bag. I like to put in only as much batter as I’ll need for each cake (1/2 cup for the 8-inch round size) so I can put the funnel down without having to stop it up somehow between uses.
Let batter squiggle and scribble all over oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes on first side, until golden underneath. Flip with tongs and fry on the second side for about 1 minute, until golden all over. Remove from oil and blot briefly on paper towels. Ensure that the oil temperature is still correct, then fry remaining cakes. Transfer each to a double layer of paper plates and blizzard on the powdered sugar. Eat with your fingers.
159 comments on funnel cake
Carnivals have a certain magic to them, don’t they? I love them too. And this funnel cake, GUH. Knowing I can make funnel cake at home is a dangerous, dangerous thing. Can’t wait to see the new site design!!!
Ohhhh the mini doughnuts tho… but this looks much simpler. I’ve got to try it. (Cinnamon-spiked powdered sugar, anyone?)
Good luck with all your exciting-things doing!! I know you will, but be sure to enjoy your summer days while kicking butt. See you soon!
Oh man, fried dough is so my weakness. I am going to pretend I didn’t see this ;)
Good luck with all of the crazy good stuff in the next few weeks!
Hello, delicious pile of fried goodness! I’ve only had funnel cake once in my life, and it was an undercooked disaster. Like cutting into a plate of pancakes & finding raw batter at your first mouthful. But this? Looks like heaven on a plate. I could also see kerplopping a big dollop of fresh whipped cream right in the middle.
Very grateful for your Jenkinson’s shout-out. Funnel cake is best when served next to the ocean surrounded by joyfully screaming children. I’ve not deep-fried anything before but I have a can of crisco doing absolutely nothing in my pantry!
You may hate me for planting this idea in your head, but here you go: the Del Mar Fair in San Diego does CHURRO funnel cakes and they are exactly as fabulous as you’d think from that description. I might have to mash up your churro and funnel cake recipes and try it myself sometime.
I can’t decide if you’re just a genius or an evil genius for these…
Have a PRODUCTIVE (and fun!) three weeks!
I’m convinced it is yummy as it remembers me on the Austrian “Kaiserschmarrn” I often prepare for my family here in Bavaria :)
In Connecticut our funnel cake was served with powdered sugar and/or marinara sauce.
Jennifer — Marinara? What kind of voodoo is that? Although maybe it if was like funnel-ed garlic bread, zomg…
Maybe garlic and onion powder instead of sugar?
OMG. These look amaaaaaaazing.
Also, can we talk about your red curly haired child? And how adorable she is with her big brother? because my ovaries cannot take that level of adorable.
beautifully woven story I wish I would have read this article before making funnel cakes tonight I now realize that the opening was too big on the plastic bag because mine turned out to be big soggy and greasy
3 weeks? You will be missed! But good luck for everything :)
If you remove the eggs from the recipe, you’ll have a vegan funnel cake!
A truly purist vegan funnel cake will include something other than confectioners sugar.
What do you use to flip the batter over without sacrificing the shape? Tongs?
Vanessa — I used tongs; it will hold its shape the second it starts cooking, so it’s a cinch. I actually saw a recipe without eggs (this one) but I might go more in the flax egg direction here for a swap.
I like Jennifer’s suggestion – you could make a full meal of funnel cake! Dinner funnel cake with marinara and parmesan (maybe leave out the vanilla because weird), and then follow it up with dessert funnel cake with powdered sugar. Sounds awesome and deadly!
It’s times like this that I curse my need of a day job, because now I want funnel cake immediately, and I feel like heating up an electric skillet full of oil in my office is just Not Done. (Though it might lead to more English majors if they think we sit around frying funnel cake on the regular…)
And all you people with dreams of full-meal funnel cake? We need to make this happen.
What kind of flame do you heat your oil on and how long does it take to reach 350 degrees? Thanks Deb, I’ve never flopped a recipe of yours yet ;)
Gitty — On my stove, about medium but you’ll want to nudge it up and down to keep it steady. In general, once it hits the right temp I need to reduce mine to medium-low. But, my stove also runs hot.
Oh. my. I think my only change would be to add a scrape or two of nutmeg. Will be reporting back at some point soon.
Now that I think about it, I believe it was just called fried dough. I think it is the same thing. It was always sold at the fair with the option of having powdered sugar or marinara sauce.
Do all recipes come from the same 6 recipes??? In India, we have jalebis — made of slightly fermented batter — but it’s deep-fried-dough squiggles too, usually squeezed out of a cheesecloth with a hole! It’s all in the wrist they say. Of course, slightly sweet doesn’t work here — we SOAK in syrup.
Ujwala — I think so. :) I’d read about jalebis too and thought they looked shiny and gorgeous.
How did you use the Crisco for the frying? Was that 1 1/2 cup referenced for oil an equal substitute? Asking for a friend, of course.
I have a teeny tiny cast iron skillet that I would be perfect for making teeny tiny funnel cakes… then you could eat 6 or 7 at least before feeling sick! I’m gonna try it and find out.
I always read your site for your excellent recipes and good writing, but this really stood out as one of the funniest, most evocative things I’ve read recently! It really made me smile. Thanks!
Where does the vanilla come in? I don’t see it in the instructions.
April — Whoops. You’ll mix that with the liquids, now fixed.
Hannah — You just scoop it in. It liquefies as soon as it’s warmed. No need to measure, just spoon it in until you get to a good level.
Ah yes, I learned this lesson (about how easy it is to make funnel cake) at the age of 16, when I was managing the kitchen for the one day of the summer that the counsellors-in-training (of which I was one) got to kick out the counsellors and take over my summer camp, and I decided to make funnel cake for the entire camp as one part of an epic, carnival-themed menu. Glad you learned this lesson, eventually, too!
Zeppoli in Italy!
Oh nooooo you didn’t!
This looks too delicious, I ate a similar thing once when I was in South Tyrol. I bet it tastes just as good!
Deb, you will be sorely missed over these next three weeks! I was just lamenting that there is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF to cook right now. It does buy me some time, though, because I’m about to hit 200 SK recipes and these next three weeks will help me pare down my “to cook” list without being distracted (well, seduced) by each forthcoming wonder of yours! Wishing you a productive few weeks!
You are such an amazing writer. This little Proust moment, full of angst and calories.
I also went to a Catholic school that did a huge festival every May. But we had kolaches, not funnel cakes.
Those darling children Deb—LUCK has very little to do with it.You toss the genes around and you do what good parents have done for centuries. Obviously you are doing it well. Love them, respect them, LISTEN to them,encourage them, feed their bodies and souls. Not rocket science , but VERY difficult to actually DO 24/7/365.They are living proof of Alex’s and your love for one another, and for each of them as individuals. They will continue to astound you as they grow, and reward your hard work. Trust me. It doesn’t seem soon enough sometimes, but you WILL be rewarded big-time. Keep taking photos, someday even the “outtakes” will be treasures.
Enjoy your time away from us…we will all be perfecting the funnel cakes and drinking as much of that delicious Strawberry Milk as we can hold.
Since you already divulged the use of crisco, would you tell us what you do with it after? (let it cool/recongeal in the pan and scrape out into the garbage? filter it and save in a different container? plan ahead and fry other things same day afterwards?)
Please note I don’t take issue with disposing of oil after a single use, just curious.
I want one of these in my mouth RIGHT NOW. Thanks for the encouragement to try this at home and good luck with everything over the next couple weeks!
Badger Reader — I always mean to save it, but I just don’t deep fry often enough to. Perhaps someone here will talk me into it. If I have anything planned for the next week or so, I might strain it and keep it in a jar in the fridge but it’s rare that I deep-fry more than once every six months.
I grew up in the midwest, and loved loved loved funnel cakes at fairs. Only ate them 2-3 times a year. Then moved to the northeast, and they all do that thick, dense fried dough at fairs. I ate it twice, always disappointed.
Funnel cake is where it’s at! I’ll make this soon!
I. LOVE. funnel cakes!!!!!!!! I can’t express how excited I am to make this — adding yet another example of how I’m impossibly addicted to your recipes. And, as always, love your captivating, hilarious writing.
Maybe I just read too fast but — did you actually get to go to the Catholic church carnival this year, now that you’re all grown up and your parents can’t stop you?? :) Or did you just admire from afar once again? :(
This looks delicious. I love how you break down the steps to make it so easy. Perfect for bringing a bit of the fair home! lol
For one weekend each summer, the sleepy little town of Junction City, Oregon hosts about 20 times their population for the annual Scandinavian Festival.
I mention this because tippaleipa is available in one of the booths. :D (Along with so many other amazing things to eat. My husband and I save up all year and end up spending sometimes upwards of $100 on food for the two of us over the three-day festival. It’s delightful.)
I have thought of trying to make these at home (after all, if I can do aebelskiver, surely I can manage tippaleipa!) so now with this recipe I may have to try it!
Love the addition of lemon zest!
I had my first full blown panic attack at the Giglio Feast in Brooklyn c.1989. http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2015/7/7/williamsburg-gears-128th-annual-giglio-festival
A sausage and pepper hero was involved.
Really bad – I ended up in the Emergency Room.
No joke – but I survived, if not thrived.
Street fairs haven’t really been my *thing* since.
Making funnel cakes at home – you’re nothing if not consistent(ly crazy), Deb.
Good productive luck w/your events and deadlines! :o)
No you did not go there!!! OMG….I’m trying to get off carbs but this…this I have to make. You’re killin’ me Deb!!! LOL
Can I dip some Oreos in this and deep fry?
June — I had never considered this but I think it might work (don’t tell my husband, who loves them). Most recipes I scanned called for pancake mix and this is a very pancake-like batter. Good luck!
We’ll miss you for the three weeks you’re gone. Good luck with everything and I hope it all comes together smoothly.
“we drove to my parents house last month and I saw the carnival all set up again”
I hope you went. You should go. Grownups get to do stuff like go where they want and eat funnel cake whenever. What’s the point of being a grownups if we don’t do all the things we said we’d do when we were kids (ice cream for breakfast and stay up all night long come to mind).
Wow, wow, wow. This is definitely not a good thing to know!
Hands down my favorite meal of my mother’s growing up was fried dough pizzas. I’d always figured not getting a deep fryer would save me from it becoming a weekly thing in my life, but now I’m seeing you’re just using a deep frying pan and I think we could be in trouble…
I live in New Brunswick, Canada, and I have never seen one of these! It is right up my alley (YUM) and I am going to make some right now! Thanks!
Oh yum! We made these once (from a mix) and layered them with vanilla icecream to make a funnel ice cream cake. And yes, it tasted as good as it sounds.
Have you read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern? I didn’t expect to like it as I’m not usually a fan of anything unreal, but the descriptions of the circus were so beautifully vivid and your writing here evoked it.
Once I made funnel cake and thinking of Navajo tacos, put chili and cheese on top and ate it. It was *delicious*, and then we also had sweet funnel cake for dessert. Definitely in my top five best meals of 2012. (I don’t think my recipe used vanilla…that would probably be weird with chili.)
I am far too terrified of deep frying to attempt to make these but next time I am in the US I will attempt to find somewhere selling these so I can try one :) They aren’t a thing in Australia but I bet they taste gooooood.
Maybe I will use my deep fryer for this…I bought one, we use it for Hanukkah. The feast of fried food. A funnel cake will go very well with the strawberries I bought today, would adding whipped cream be over the top?
When I first tried Funnel cake it instantly reminded me of Indian JALEBI! Like @Ujwala said, the traditional method uses cheesecloth with hole thing but you can get Instant Jalebi packets with simpple plastic bottle mold at Indian grocers easily.. they taste amazing and look oh so pretty!
Deb I would loooove for you to try those beauties..wish I could send you some:)
My gall bladder can only tolerate about half a funnel cake, so I always split one with a perpetually calorie-counting friend.
Quick tip/idea: the absolutely most very bestest onion rings I’ve ever had in my life came from a hole-in-the-wall barbecue place and were made with funnel cake batter (no powdered sugar, of course). Mind blown.
Do you remember the name of the place? I am trying to find a perfect onion ring/funnel cake recipe and would love to see how theirs is.
Which type of oil do you suggest? Thanks!
Sarah — I mentioned in the notes that I prefer Crisco for sweet fried things (I’ll use peanut oil for something like french fries). Because it is solid at room temperature, doughnuts taste and feel much less greasy.
Has no one ever had a Navajo taco? It’s funnel cake prepared without the vanilla and topped with taco fillings. I’ve also seen chili toppers. There was a mall in Phoenix who sold them and, omg, they do not disappoint.
Ah, I had those terrible health and safety conscious parents too—–but, while we didn’t get to go to carnivals, we did get the occasional Indian fry bread and churros—-both exceptionally yummy, devoid of health benefits, but redolent of childhood in New Mexico. I can smell piñon smoke and chilies roasting in the high cold air. . . I’ll try to resist these funnel cakes but I promise nothing!
Your Vermont fan club us cheering for all things exciting for you these next weeks! Meanwhile you’ve already set out a treasure trove of good things to cook. Blessings from the hinterlands!
I never ate funnel cake til I was in my 40’s and took my young son to the State Fair: fresh corn roasted in husks, ribeye sandwiches at the Cattlemen’s Pavilion, lemonade from fresh-squeezed lemons, the most amazing milkshake at the Dairy Pavilion, and FUNNEL CAKES! The next week, he wanted to make funnel cakes. After searching the net (don’t you LOVE the web?!), I gave it a try. A bit scared of hot oil, tweaking to get the right pourability of the batter, adjusting lots to get the oil temp right. It made an unholy mess of the stove but was soooooo much FUN! And utterly delicious. BRAVO, DEB!
i’ve actually never eaten funnel cake, but that’s only because growing up we always had doughboys. (usually at baseball games, but carnivals too.) just one big piece of dough the size of your head, doused in powdered sugar. (and/or cinnamon sugar, but powdered, as you know, is all you need.) there’s also a place near my parents place in RI that has doughboys…but they sell them by the half dozen. the first time i went here with a friend of mine and her parents and they ordered so many i was horrified, thinking of even trying to eat more than one giant doughboy…but it turns out these are miniature ones, with granulated sugar. and they are damn good, but for me the classic will always be the giant powdery version.
Isn’t the smell of fried dough amazing?! I must admit that I am not as strong as you and have given in to the temptation of funnel cakes and elephant ears at local fairs in recent years. Like you, however, my husband and I usually split one (so, I’m not laughing!). All we need is just that little taste. . . With your recipe, we may be able to indulge and skip the hot sweaty days and crowds. :)
Holy smokes. I need a rewind and delete for my brain so I can pretend I never read this! Also that note about it not absorbing that much oil…if I wasn’t already sold…lol – Definitely giving this one a try! :D
Also, so looking forward to the site re-design!
Deb, please tell me I can make this with a good 1to1 gluten free all purpose flour and almond milk? Bob’s Red Mill has a new 1to1 GF AP flour that is amazing. I made blueberry muffins and choc chip cookies and wow, so good no one knew they were GF.
The part of me that looks forward to each of your posts deeply regrets your hiatus, but the other part of me that is grateful for your work and the fun it brings me through what I read and cook from your blog is glad you’re doing what you need to do to keep this blog going as long as you can!!
Thanks, keep up the good work!
I agree 100% with every word that Elise (#68) wrote. And until the three weeks are up, I’ll make sufficient use of the ‘surprise me’ button!
You can make your own funnel cake?? Mind = blown.
This is like finding a recipe for a twinkie.
Any chance you grew up in Bedford, NY? There is a fair/carnival from my youth at a local Catholic school, that is set up for one week only in the Spring. It was just there last month and I took my two toddler boys (I was petrified to put them on the rides, but I did at the urging of my Dad – their grandfather – and they loved it). I also snuck away…and ate funnel cake by myself. It was glorious! I love your blog and your recipes and your cookbooks.
Anna — No, I grew up in NJ. But I know these were common at Catholic churches (I remember going to one with friends in high school a few towns over; I guess by then my parents had given up on my longevity). I mean, I guess we had, like, Purim Carnivals at synagogues growing up but they’re notably absent in Gravitrons; it’s just not the same.
On saving fat after deep frying – my mother always saves the oil she uses (always canola or sunflower) in a jar and just stores it at room temperature and uses it to cook over the following weeks. She doesn’t use it for everything, but the flavour is surprisingly fine to use for most things, or she’ll mix it with some fresh oil before using. I don’t think this is the healthiest but it’s not terrible for you and it’s waste free. Also not sure if you’d want to do the same with Crisco, but it’s a thought!
OMG, my parents never let ME go to our parish carnival either. I knew it was because they were too cheap. Having grown up as equally deprived as you, I think I need to rectify things by frying up some of this fried dough. Thanks!
Oh, please do come to Finland! Welcome, welcome! I’ve tried making tippaleipä once and they just didn’t work out..funnel cake looks a little easier, because it’s bigger and flatter. I think it would stay put. Tippaleipä means drop bread, by the way.
Funnel cake isn’t my favorite but they are super fun to make. I like drizzling the batter!
Here in downtown LA, we have a restaurant that serves a funnel cake topped with fresh strawberries, fennel, and dollops of foie gras. Over the top, but heavenly.
This looks like so much fun to do! Minus cleaning up all the oily places afterwards, sigh… The kiddo pictures keep getting better and better, it melts my heart.
One thing though, I have my fingers crossed about the site redesign because your site looks so clean and it’s so easily navigate-able (is that a word?) and I was just thinking the other day to myself ” wow even after all these years this is the prettiest food site, EVER” and I’m afraid I might have jinxed it (like it always happens to me)
Just my two cents!
you have just made me my youngest son’s hero. He loves funnel cakes
Oh interesting!! I have never made this! It must be every so delicious.. I can almost smell it!!
So is the recipe for the full yield version or the 1/2 sized one you made?
Patrick — This is for the full amount, so 6 8-inch funnel cakes.
I’m afraid I have two words for you: maple cream.
I live in VT, and the fair I attend religiously every year only had fried dough (which is gross) until recently, when funnel cakes finally made an appearance. I was in heaven.
And we have a Maple Sugar Shack nearby. I simply take my still-hot funnel cake and have them slather it with maple cream. Sugar coma to die for.
“forever trying to keep our chin count to one-per-person”…I nearly wet myself laughing (and empathising)! Thanks for the cheer in my morning of crazy toddler and baby-dom, Deb. And now I’m off to work, testing (tasting?) tiny tarte tatins for my own little corner of the internet. With said baby strapped into carrier and toddler standing next to me. I’m sure it’ll go just fine, ha.
Look forward to seeing you and your shiny new site in a few weeks.
Thanks for posting this funny funnel cake its looking extremely awesome and excellent.
I never tried this type of cake but by watching your posting pics i am attracted to your recipe to prepare for me.
Ingredients are superb and fully loaded with calories.In way you have given direction to serve it is fantastic and it looks awesome to any of one. I going to prepare it in my next birthday and it is best dessert on it.
It’s really made me smile. Once again thanks for this wonderful post and let us explore this kind of recipe.
With Best Regards,
I would love to see a ‘collection’ of your recipes that are good for taking on a picnic – Portable Eats perhaps? Trying to figure out what to bring to the pool tonight that will satisfy 4 kids and 2 adults that’s picnicky. Thank you!
Whoa! The way you write your content, it just makes me feel that I have myself gone through the experiences and all.
Thanks for creating such an amazing blog.
Hey — you scooped the LA Times on funnel cake reporting! Check out the June 25th Saturday section when you return to (from?) the fray. Good luck on all your endeavors!
Hey Deb and everyone! So I’m one who is ardently against hydrogenated oils yet LOVES soft, fluffy, flaky doughnuts (no cake doughnuts for me), and I just found this via Google: Palm Shortening. It’s not hydrogenated and naturally does not have trans fats. I’m not at all knowledgeable about the taste of it, but I’d get this and make doughnuts now that I’ve discovered it. Hooray!
Deb and everyone, have you heard of this before?
Perfect recipe…thank you! I am confused by “fried dough,” however. Aren’t funnel cakes fried *batter,* whereas fried dough is, well fried *dough*? There is a world of difference between pizze fritte and funnel cakes (even if they are served at the same carnival). People confuse fried dough and funnel cakes all the time and I give them the “dough vs. batter” argument. Am I on the right track?
Uh-oh! This recipe spells trouble for me. I like anything dough or batter [eat both uncooked and have since I was a little girl much then and now to my mom’s chagrin]. I love funnel cakes and haven’t had one in forever. Thanks Laura Jean for suggesting Palm Shortening. So I did what I do – searched and here’s what I found: http://www.frytest.com/frying_donuts.php One says solid, the other says she’s had good results with canola. Palm Oil might be harder to find for household use? If you make these using Palm or Canola Oil, please post your outcomes. I’m guessing mine won’t sit around long enough to find out.
To add a bit of total debauchery to using this recipe, they use funnel cake batter to do fried candy bars at fairs! I did this in one evening of total dietary recklessness with my then teenaged sons! You freeze the candy bars on sticks, dip them in funnel cake batter and fry. We fried oreos too! I’ve only done it the one time but it was incredibly good!
Reminds me of carnivals and childhood!
I highly recommend reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern!
Psst! She has a new book coming out this November.
Funnel cakes always remind me of my childhood when I would go to carnivals with him.Decided to try this recipe on my own and it was delicious. What kind of camera did you use to take your photos ? They are amazing!
Uh…YUM! I’m looking at food blogs when I’m supposed to be juicing…
Check out our blog:
My friends host a deep-fry-fest in their driveway on the 3rd of July every year (cheese curds, chicken wings, zucchini, pizza puffs, fries…) and this funnel cake was our dessert this year. Topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream from a can (we keep things classy!), and canned strawberry pie topping (again, classy). It was declared the best funnel cake ever.
I’ve tried to make funnel cakes at home before, but they were missing a certain je ne said quoi that the official commercially made ones have. I’m wondering if that missing ingredient is vanilla powder, instead of using vanilla extract, since the ones made at fairgrounds are made from a mix containing vanilla powder.
Sorry, but I keep checking the site and keep seeing this not-so-enticing recipe for funnel cakes. This has been happening more and more. I know you have lots of other things going, but leaving us with this totally unhealthy option on the site for so long is discouraging.
Your blog is getting stale. Funnel cake? For weeks?
wow-lots of people have lots of negative things to say, huh?! I’m reaching out to you, to make sure you’re okay. unlike you not to have a new, awesome recipe for us for weeks. Hope you’re enjoying your summer and your kiddos!!
@dbaer and Donna – yeesh, did you even read the post? Deb gave us a heads up: “See you soon: I mentioned last week that I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a traffic jam of (awesome) life events and (exciting) deadlines this month and I am going to do the responsible thing (vs. the occasional going-AWOL thing) and bid adieu for exactly three weeks. “
dbaer, Donna — I made an announcement at the end of this post that I needed to take a three-week break to finish my next cookbook (but that updates would be regular via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the newsletter, should you be missing your fix). No need to go negative, I’d hope. I’ve updated this site with 1-2 new recipes a week, most often 2, consistently (save a few weeks of book touring in 2012 and 2013 and new babies in 2009 and 2015) for 10 years and I’m not tired of it yet. I’ll be back as promised with a new site design and a fresh recipe next Tuesday.
elisa — Thank you, all is well. See the “See You Soon” note at the end of the post.
And for the note I dropped in to make — I miss this place! A whole lot. It’s not fun for me to be away, but it was unavoidable. I’ll be back Tuesday, worried that you won’t like the new design and that nobody noticed I was gone, you know, the level of neurotic you’ve come to expect. xo
LOVE THIS! So easy! Thank you!
Amazing, turned out perfect, but don’t walk away while you make them. I added orange zest to the batter. Stayed crispy, so pleased, thank you
Was recently at the Del Mar Fair here in San Diego (I still can’t bring myself to call it by it’s new name) and loved having one of these. OK, I shared, but I ate most of it. Delicious. Fairs are the one place I go cray on the “bad” types of foods, besides the grilled corn of course!
What is wrong with people, complaining that there is no new recipe posted???!! First off, perhaps actually reading the post would give them an answer and secondly, this is a FREE site – i.e. readers do not have to pay for anything and yet we get wonderful, delicious recipes on the regular and thoughtful, warm, and whitty writing. For heaven’s sakes, try not to be so incredibly rude!!
P.S. Deb I have (gasp) never eaten funnel cake!! And I’m from NJ too! Looking forward to trying this soon :)
What Mel said. With 12 exclamation points. Get over yourselves if you don’t think Deb is the best. And read the post before complaining. We are so lucky to have her!
I loved this post so much. My grandparents lived 15 minutes away from Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA (an amusement park that started as an actual berry farm in my mom’s day), and that is where I first encountered funnel cake as a little girl. It is my favorite. Any time I eat it, it’s like taking a time machine to my youth.
Also, I grew up Presbyterian. As an adult, I moved to Germany with my family for six months and encountered those Catholic carnivals for the first time. It was the wine and the beer they served that blew my mind! I was like, what the heck?! We Protestants are doing this wrong!
So very very much looking forward to tomorrow :)
I’d just like to add another comment of appreciation to those by @Mel and @Kathy above. I have come to *rely* on Smitten Kitchen for recipes that are useful to me. I read a couple of other food blogs for entertainment and ideas, but I come here for recipes that I will actually make, and that will turn out,…and that will often prompt people to ask for the recipe (just last night, for example: the zucchini, rice, and cheese gratin). Thanks to the encouraging style and clear instructions, I’ve also ventured into previously “way too hard” territory: me, make a pizza? or, oh my god, a babka? Yes, and with delicious results. Thank you, Deb, from a longtime, grateful reader. Looking forward to tomorrow!
i too would like to jump on the comment train with @Mel, @Kathy, and especially now that @CarolJ’s beautiful sentiment is here as well. (couldn’t agree more!)
i mean, is it not ironic that those clamoring for new content have yet to read all the content that’s been provided? snarkiness aside, i love it here. and i would be lying if i said i wasn’t nervous about the redesign, but then when i recall that hey, this is deb here! i find myself hardly worried at all. i mean, after all, so far every new addition has been a great one. (archive categories & past recipe links, new recipes, babies, instagram, the email subscription + the new links section with it, THE COOKBOOK [and now another one? so excited]…i could go on, but i think i’ve covered most of it…) it’s all fabulous and i’m waiting for more, whenever deb is ready :)
and in the meantime, i still have so many bookmarked recipes to try. though for tonight it’s one that’s tried and true, the carnitas! having them with the homesick texan’s green chile corn pudding. (a blog which i never would have known about were it not for deb!)
and to #90 @Kathleen, yes, fried dough is actually fried pieces of dough, and funnel cake is fried batter.
as previously mentioned i grew up on fried dough, and IME people don’t confuse the two so much as choose one side or the other ;) (but only because there’s just never room to have both in one sitting, haha!) the end result does of course share similarities though – a fried golden brown flour based thing on a plate covered in powdered sugar, almost always at some kind of carnival. (though in RI fried dough is also a staple at baseball games, and the mini doughboys, dusted in granulated sugar & sold by the 1/2 dozen, can be had at iggy’s – a popular chowda & clam cakes shack.)
one of my bff’s growing up had a very italian american nana, who each sunday invited the family over for breakfast. and that breakfast consisted of meatballs & gravy (red sauce) and homemade doughboys! and then someone would bring coffee and donuts, too. it was always a treat for me when i slept over on a saturday night, knowing what sunday morning would bring :)
Go DEBS go! We’re all rooting for you (and miss you very much) – hope you’re enjoying your summer as well.
Hello friends! What did I promise? Three weeks exactly and then: new design! new recipe! Well, my manuscript is in, I am back (hoooooray) but we’re having a little bit of a jam migrating 10 years of content onto the new servers so it might be more of a tomorrow morning thing now. I did not forget my promise and am eager to be back with new recipes and a better functioning site as soon as I get the green light. Thank you for your patience. You are missed!
love this & appreciate you.I’ll try to make this at home
Whew, glad to hear from you, Deb…thanks for letting your adoring fans know what’s up! Keeping good thoughts for technical improvements to arrive soon. We miss YOU!!! Cheers
Excited about the new site improvements – can’t wait to see it! Totally understand the last few weeks and focusing on the cook book, important birthdays, and the site. Really value and appreciate everything you do for your adoring fans. Looking forward to the new cookbook as well!
Is it three weeks yet??? WE MISS YOU!!
Whoops just saw the above….good luck! Can’t wait to see all the new happenings
YES to funnel cake, and 3rd-ing Night Circus! I’m reading it now and you’d love it! There are some awesome food descriptions to go along with all the other sensory delights of an extraordinary circus. And a suspenseful plot and fascinating characters.
Missing you. We’re off on a bit holiday for 6 weeks starting Saturday … hardly any mobile or internet coverage so I might miss the big unveiling. What am I going to do, Deb? Tell me this! Sigh. (Answer to this will be – Cook what you know, Cheryl … cook what you know!). :) Take care. x
Oh my. As a good polite Canadian I read your 3 week post and dutifully followed instagram. I cannot believe that some are critical of you. Looking forward to seeing
the new site.
My theory is that commentor 101 & 102 are the same (not very nice) person. Looking forward patiently to the new site design, hope the technical difficulties are not stressing you out too much! I love your site, love your work!
Stay tuned, friends, today is the day! Looking forward to being back and catching up.
Deb, I think I’ve hit a new record for “number of times the refresh button has been hit on a single webpage” over the past few days. Super excited!
@Molly — phew! So glad I’m not the only one! Can’t wait!!!
I’m with Molly! The suspense is killing me!
Ditto! Can’t wait:)
beautiful ~ love the new look. i am addicted to your recipes!
Whee! Glad you’re back! As always, it was worth the wait. Looking forward to 10 more years of awesomeness.
I LOVE IT!
Wow. Just can’t wait to try this cake tonight. Thanks, hope my family loves this.
Wow delicious, I was looking for this everywhere. Finally here we go… I made it yesterday and my mom ate all. Lol. I had to make it two times. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.
This is actually really common in Finland to eat during 1st of May – a weekend they call Vappu. And it’s called “drip bread”, tippaleipä in Finnish.
When I first tasted it as I moved to Finland, I loved it – it’s amazing. Simple and yet so tasty! I’d love to try and make it myself!
Here is a picture of the Finnish funnel cake: http://jennifersandstrom.se/2015/04/30/vappu-i-finland/
The smiley face on the fourth page! Ugh, it’s beautiful.
I made these tonight exactly according to the recipe, and they were a grease bomb — absorbed way too much oil. I know my oil was at or above 375… Not sure how much higher temp it would have needed to be to keep these lighter…
Oh, that is pure happiness. Thanks.
Wow, what a different recipe! I confess I’ve never seen anything like it! I’m so curious that I’m gonna do it tomorrow. The pics are amazing, it looks so delicious! Absolutely love the post!
Well that just hit a home run for my teenage son and friends! thank-you
Thank you for posting this! We had been to the circus a few weeks ago and had gotten a funnel cake there. This is a rare treat for my wife and I and she turned to me and said “You have to find a recipe for these and make them at home!” Of course I said yes and then proceeded to forget about it. Fast forward to tonight (Sunday) when I needed to make some pie crusts and headed to your site to get the recipe that I like to use and forgotten how much I enjoy reading your blog and decided to catch up. Going through past entries and thinking, ohhh I want to make that and that and…when funnel cakes came up. Ahhh you can’t make these on a Sunday night a 9 o’clock can you? Surely not?! Ohhh wait, they take only about 15 minutes and I’ll halve the recipe…yes! Bliss and a surprise for my wife to boot :-) maybe not healthy but sometimes you’ve got to follow your instincts. Thanks for continuing to have a great blog and making us want to cook more.
Oh wow smitten kitchen. You did it again. Now I must go make some. Great super bowl snack. I too remember these from my youth while visiting my moms family NYC. We used to go to a carnival every year in west Chester ny. Fond memories and this is where my love for these beauties began. 😊
Super easy and so much fun! I had sunflower oil in hand to fry with, and it made the funnel cakes very light. I would make them again in a heart beat. I filled my ziplock all the way, and just used a bag clip in between making them to manage leakage. Worked brilliantly.
Success! Helpful learning I had to do: a friend who made this before me told me she opened a paper shopping bag to act as a draining and sugaring station. I used my largest baking sheet lined with paper towels and it helped tremendously. We also tended at first to squiggle and swirl the batter out of the funnel into the center of our imagined funnel cake but often ended up creating a large, puffy knot of dough there. Moving the funnel all over became a goal that helped our cakes turn out better. And now I’m a funnel cake maker. Me!
I have tried this recipe and always run into a problem with the temp cooling as I add in the mix, any suggestions?
The oil temperature? If so, you can try to start it a little hotter to compensate.
Thanks Deb I will give that a try!
I made this today with my daughter. I halved the recipe and used the deep fryer. A half recipe made 2 full sized funnel cakes. I used all milk, instead of water and milk, as other recipes I have call for only milk. I also added a pinch of cinnamon to the batter. These came out wonderful. They are indeed fun and easy.
I halved recipe and got a very thick batter, had to add a lot of water! Other than that it worked great and was easy. Thanks for making my midwinter doughnut dreams come true.