Vanilla Funnel Cakes

Funnel Cake will forever remind me of strolling through crowded street fairs in NYC as a kid. Funnel cake, which is essentially fried dough batter with powdered sugar sprinkled on top, is a food popular in North America at carnivals and street fairs.  But this treat is believed to have traced back as far as the Middle Ages. Pennsylvania-Dutch immigrants are credited with having brought this yeast dough specialty, similar to “drechderkuche,” to America around the late 1800s.  Baking powder later replaced the standard yeast in this new version, which was coined “funnel cakes” because of the way that they are made.

funnel cake

As the name suggests, funnel cakes were (and often still are) made by pouring batter into hot oil through a funnel in a zig-zag motion. These days, it is more common to see a funnel-like spout pitcher, or measuring cup, rather than a funnel. The best funnel cake is served hot, straight from the pan, dusted in powdered sugar.

Many cultures have a similar version of our beloved funnel cakes. In Germany, the equivalent is called “strauben;” the Finnish call theirs “tippaleipa;” in parts of Asia, there is something similar called “jalebi;” and in Spain, there are “churros.” Although there is variation between these creations, most typically they are served as breakfast items.

My family and I go back to NYC often, but funnel cakes are not something my boys know. I felt like it was time to introduce them. They were not disappointed. Perfectly fried, still slightly doughy but also crispy and golden brown, and topped with powdery white confectioners’ sugar–they were, for me, a great reminder of carefree childhood days.

funnel cake

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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