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Funnel Cakes

Funnel Cakes

Early summer is fried dough season; in Calgary, the Stampede is here, and there are fairs and festivals everywhere offering up all manner of deep fried things and food on a stick. On the midway, I’ve always been semi-oblivious to funnel cakes, but have recently discovered how amazing they can be when you make them yourself. Which is a perfectly reasonable alternative to paying $7 for 7 cents’ worth of fried dough.

Funnel cakes 6

I mean, look at these. How could you not love a funnel cake? And they’re faster and easier to make than a batch of doughnuts.

Funnel cake 5

Funnel cakes are made out of essentially pancake batter, run through a funnel (easier than it sounds!) into hot oil, making squiggles and blobs – it’s all crispy bits, really. And although the classic way to serve them is warm, doused in icing sugar, I’ve discovered they make a fine sundae, and judging the best food on the midway last night, the winner in the savoury category was funnel cake poutine – a funnel cake sprinkled with icing sugar, topped with cheese curds and gravy.

Funnel cakes 2

When you think of it, a funnel cake has the potential to be the vehicle for all kinds of things, sweet, savoury and saucy. I’m already pondering butter chicken. Maybe a pinch of curry in the batter? Which, by the way, has to be the right consistency – which is not at all as complicated as it sounds. Just make sure it’s smooth and pourable – like crepe batter – and will run through a funnel without being TOO runny. You’ll get the hang of it. And any mistakes are cheap (and worth the learning experience). Look at those crispy bits!

Cooking funnel cakesFunnel cakes 4

This seems like something you might make with kids, but I’d advise making them for them, not with them-the method is easy once you get the hang of it, but you do have to hold the funnel over the hot oil. I’d suggest having them sit at the kitchen table and be the happy recipients of warm funnel cakes, and in charge of sprinkling them with sugar.

And if you’re looking for some fun, inexpensive, sweet but not overly processed party food, this is it. Midway food for the win!

Funnel cakes 1

Funnel Cakes


July 7, 2017


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 large egg

canola oil, for cooking

icing sugar, for dusting


1In a medium bowl (if you have one, use a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout), whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, water and egg and whisk until perfectly smooth. It should have the consistency of pourable pancake batter - if it's too thick to run through a funnel, thin it with a little milk or water.

2Heat about an inch of oil in a deep, heavy skillet until it's hot but not smoking. (A scrap of bread should sizzle if you dip it in.) Get a funnel and put your finger over the end. Pour in some batter-not quite 1/4 cup-and take your finger off over the hot oil, letting the batter pour out as you move the funnel in a squiggly motion over the oil. Let the batter cook for a minute, or until it's golden, and flip with tongs to cook on the other side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil.

3Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm. Makes lots-about a dozen, depending on their size.


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10 comments on “Funnel Cakes

  1. Karen Joy Anderson
    July 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Nicely done Julie!

  2. Anonymous
    July 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I’m making this tomorrow morning. Love your site. Please!… keep it up!

  3. Lauri
    July 11, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    This looks SO easy. I may even be able to overcome my fear of hot oil to try them.

  4. esme
    July 11, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    JUUUUUULIEEEEE! These are SO freakin’ delicious, I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and for no reason whatsoever. And I have…

  5. Margaret@Kitchen Frau
    July 11, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Oh, those remind me of the fried dough blobs my mom used to make for us as we came off the schoolbus!

    • Julie
      July 11, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Fried dough blobs?? I never got fried dough blobs!

  6. Jocelyn
    July 28, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    These are great. Just made them for my kids (and me). So easy. I did need to thin the batter with extra liquid.

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