Last week I went to the California Mid-State Fair. For the first time ever!
It was a whole day of first-time-evers, in fact. I sat in a fire truck for the first time ever. I watched a riveting demonstration of the cleaning product Touch of Purple for the first time ever. And, most importantly, I ate funnel cake for the first time ever.
Here’s the funnel cake that inspired this blog post:
That funnel cake was delicious!
I liked it so much that, almost immediately after leaving the fair, I wanted more funnel cake. That desire turned into a craving, and after a few days, that craving turned into desperation. Which is how I ended up at Burger King, handing over my hard-earned cash for a box of Funnel Cake Sticks.
Funnel Cake Sticks are not delicious.
But rather than wallow in despair over having to wait another year to get my funnel-cake fix, I decided to take action. I went to my computer, Googled “funnel cake recipe,” and found one from Everyday with Rachael Ray that looked promising.
The first part of the recipe — making the batter — is really easy, obviously. I didn’t even have to go to the grocery store, because I had all the ingredients on hand.
However, the second part of the recipe — frying the batter — didn’t go so well. Which is mainly because I really suck at frying things. For example, did you know I’ve tried to fry up doughnuts for this blog several times? No, you didn’t, because I didn’t tell you, because they turned out horrible, and I was embarrassed. Check it out:
Had I been trying to make onion rings and tater tots, it might have worked out.
I think my main problem is not being able to tell whether the oil is the right temperature. And I’m also pretty easily distracted. Those two factors together are bad news for my attempts at frying foods.
These funnel cakes turned out better, in that I only totally burned some of them. The funnel cake we got at the fair was much lighter in color, though, and I’m not sure whether that’s because they weren’t cooked as long, or the oil temperature was lower, or the guy who makes funnel cakes at the fair has magical powers.
My funnel cakes were pretty tasty, though, especially after I covered them with powdered sugar. I also sliced up some strawberries, sprinkled sugar over them to make them extra sweet and syrupy, and spooned them over the top of the funnel cake, topping the whole thing with whipped cream.
I gotta say, it’s no Mid-State Fair funnel cake, but it’s still delicious.
Recipe: Funnel cake
Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 4 cups flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- 2 pints sliced strawberries (optional)
- whipped cream (optional)
- In a deep skillet or other large pot, cook the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350° to 375° on a deep-fat thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, try sprinkling in a pinch of flour; if it sizzles but doesn’t smoke, the oil is just the right temperature. (Thanks to this site for the tip.)
- While the oil is heating up, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk and eggs and whisk until the batter is smooth.
- Pour the batter into your drizzling receptacle of choice. A funnel is the obvious pick, but in lieu of that, a pastry bag or a gallon-size resealable plastic bag works, too. If you’re using a plastic bag, pour in the batter, squeeze out any extra air, seal the bag, then snip off one corner to make a ¼-inch-wide hole. I also tried using a condiment squeeze bottle, but the nozzle opening was too small; if you don’t mind cutting a bit off to make the hole wider, you could go ahead and do that.
- Squeeze about 1 cup of the batter into the oil, in a crazy circular web-like pattern. Don’t hold your funnel/bag/squeezy contraption too far from the oil, or you’ll have trouble getting the batter to stay connected in a mass of cakey goodness. Cook until it’s golden on the bottom, then turn the cake over and cook until golden on the other side. (The cooking time will vary depending on how thick your funnel cake is, but it won’t take very long.) When the cake is done, let it drain a bit on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
- Sprinkle the funnel cakes with confectioners’ sugar while hot, and add strawberries and whipped cream if you’re into that sort of thing. I know I am!
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