Why wait for a carnival to come around to savour a warm, indulgent treat like funnel cake?
Once you’ve got the foundation for funnel cakes down pat, you can customize it to anything you like. Think caramelized bananas with bourbon cream, or a spiced variation with peaches!
But classics are classics not without reason. A dusting of icing sugar, homemade strawberry topping and a gleaming scoop of vanilla ice cream turns what is essentially deep fried rings of batter into a thing of beauty.
The only thing to watch out for is the shaping of the funnel cakes, which can be fiddly to say the least. Use a funnel if you’d like and that’s all you have, but a piping bag provides a little more control, which in turn results in a much more pleasing turnout.
Decadent Strawberry Funnel Cake
- 1 ½ cup self-raising flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp of whole milk
- 2 tbsp castor sugar
- A pinch of salt
- ½ tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 punnet of strawberries reserve a few for garnish
- 3 tbsp of castor sugar
- ¼ of a lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp of water
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, milk and egg together till homogenous.
Add the vanilla extract.
Slice the strawberries.
Add the lemon juice, sugar and water. Cook till softened.
Thicken with cornstarch if necessary.
Pour the batter into a piping bag or use a funnel.
Drizzle the batter into the oil and deep fry till golden brown.
Dust with icing sugar, spoon over the strawberry topping and scoop over some ice cream.
STEP ONE – MIX ALL THE BATTER INGREDIENTS TOGETHER
Most recipes call for wet and dry ingredients to be mixed separately before combining together. This recipe is so easy that doing so won’t be necessary as it all comes together beautifully, even without any of the extra precautionary measures.
Simply add the flour, sugar and salt together. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk and egg. Mix with a whisk until just combined.
STEP TWO – ADD IN THE VANILLA EXTRACT
Add in the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Be careful not to overmix or the funnel cake will be tough and chewy. Let rest in the refrigerator as you make the strawberry topping.
STEP THREE – SLICE THE STRAWBERRIES
Slice the strawberries, but not too thinly as they’ll break down quite a bit. Here’s where you can customize the topping according to your liking. Simply slice them in half for a chunkier topping or blend the strawberries altogether to make sauce instead.
STEP FOUR – ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS AND COOK
Place the strawberries into a small saucepan along with the sugar, lemon juice and water. Stir over medium heat until the strawberries have broken down and the mixture froths up. About 5 minutes or so.
STEP FIVE – THICKEN WITH CORNSTARCH
If you’d prefer a thicker consistency, make a cornstarch slurry of equal parts cornstarch and water and add in a little at a time until your desired consistency. Take caution not to add too much as the starchy taste can be quite prominent.
STEP SIX – POUR THE BATTER INTO A PIPING BAG
Funnel cakes, of course, are made with a funnel to help drip the batter into the oil. The problem arises when the nozzle is too big or too small. If you have a piping bag or ziplock bag, shaping the cakes becomes a much simpler task.
To do so, place your piping/ziplock bag into a tall glass and fold over the top edges. Pour the batter ¾ of the way in and either twist the top or tie it (to prevent a messy situation). Don’t snip the corner until your oil has heated up.
STEP SEVEN – DRIZZLE THE BATTER INTO THE HOT OIL
To test if the oil is hot enough for deep-frying, drip in a little batter. It should hold its shape and rise to the surface immediately. Alternatively, place a pair of wooden chopsticks into the middle – a steady stream of bubbles should arise from the chopstick immediately.
Drizzle the batter in a circular motion into the hot oil. Deep-fry till golden brown, flipping every now and then. Remove and place over paper towels.
STEP EIGHT – STACK EM’ UP!
This recipe makes 9-10 funnel cakes. One would suffice for dessert or a quick snack, but if you’re feeling extravagant and want to impress someone (even if that someone is yourself!), stack 2 or 3 on top of each other.
Dust with icing sugar, spoon over a generous helping of zesty-sweet strawberry topping and finish with a scoop of ice cream or a hefty dollop of whipped cream. And though the end product may resemble a gorgeous restaurant-worthy offering, don’t spend too much time snapping away, no one likes a soggy funnel cake!
Funnel cakes are incredibly easy to recreate at home, proving that you can relive your sweet childhood carnival memories. All you need is a handful of ingredients, a plastic bag and plenty of oil.
The batter itself is simple and comes together in a single bowl. The only thing to keep in mind is not to overmix! As for the shaping, oil temperature and size of nozzle are the two key factors in ensuring a perfect funnel cake. The temperature of the oil has to be hot enough that the batter holds its shape immediately and crisps up without absorbing too much oil, and a nozzle that’s too large makes for an inelegant funnel cake.
Let your creativity run wild with these cakes, as they make for a lovely base recipe to be altered to your heart’s content. A matcha batter with white chocolate drizzle perhaps?
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.