at the county fair: funnel cake

At the County Fair: Funnel Cakes

For many Americans, going to the state or county fair is as much a summer tradition as baseball and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Despite the searing heat and sweaty crowds, we flock to the fair to enjoy the carnival games, rides, attractions, and, of course, the food. For me, the food is only one reason to go. Shocking, right? I can skip the games (I’m way too old for stuffed animals), the rides (I never understood the appeal of spinning really fast while suspended in mid-air), and the animals (too smelly, too hot, and ewww, too smelly). I just can’t skip the corn dogs, grilled corn, and, of course, the funnel cake!

At the Fair: Funnel Cake

No trip to the fair is complete without funnel cake. I can’t resist, no matter how much I try. For crying out loud, it’s deep-fried, sugar-coated, and topped with whipped cream so it’s absolutely irresistible. Since one order is big enough for three adults, I can only eat about a quarter of it before I feel a bit sick to my stomach from all the greasy, fried food I’ve already eaten. Right about then, I swear that I’d never eat another one. Yet, the next year, I’m right back in line, giddy with the deep-fried sugar rush that’s about to hit me.

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that I have finally learned how to make funnel cakes at home (or corn dogs, for that matter), but it’s nice to know that when that craving hits, I can.

Funnel Cake
Yields 2 to 3 servings

8 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
zest of 1 medium-sized orange
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar, for garnish
fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and quartered, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish

In a deep-fryer, or heavy skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat the milk, eggs, and vanilla paste or extract together. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the milk/egg mixture and stir until well incorporated and smooth.

Pour one cup of batter in a funnel, covering the funnel hole with one finger. Starting from the center, swirl the batter in the hot oil, making a circle around 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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21 thoughts on “at the county fair: funnel cake

  1. Pingback: State Fair Funnel Cakes - Lovers Recipes

  2. Pingback: State Fair Funnel Cakes – Lovers Recipes

  3. Pingback: Homemade Funnel Cakes | For Women

  4. I am definitely trying this soon! I tried funnel cake last year in NY and fell in love so I’ll try your recipe as soon as I have some free time 🙂 thanks for sharing it!

  5. Oh my gosh I’m so excited! Funnel cakes are, bar none, my favorite fair food! Don’t worry, the strawberries counterbalance the fat and sugar. Er, right?

  6. Your funnel cake is beautiful! Luckily, I don’t fry things at home so I am relatively safe from its allure. 🙂 Looking at your photos though, I wonder if it wouldn’t be delicious and maybe not as much funnel cake fried food overload, if there was a small funnel cake covered in a larger quantity of berries and powdered sugar or whipped cream. Your strawberry-funnel cake combination is wonderful!

  7. I was walking along the boardwalk at Santa Cruz yesterday and saw the funnel cake sign, being from the UK I had no idea what it was, meant to get one on the way back…. But forgot.

    I did get a few deep fried Oreos though.

  8. The county fair where i live is in September and i can’t wait. Most people can’t wait to go just for the funnel cake though. I personally don’t like it but it does look so delicious. I’m sad that i don’t like it lol

      • I usually just buy fries or ribs. Such filling foods. I shouldn’t but i always end up eating things like these and then getting on rides. Needless to say, i don’t always have a good time at the fair. 🙂


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