The Pennsylvania Dutch are the likely architects of the American-style funnel cake—a lightly sweetened, airy, and crisp fried confection that’s dusted with confectioner’s sugar. At state fairs, funnel cakes are enormous, paper plate-sized affairs that are made by pouring batter from a funnel in a winding circular pattern over hot oil.
Funnel cakes are a fun treat, often sold at outdoor festivals, amusement parks, and carnivals. The sweet, deep-fried aroma draws in the crowds and everyone has fun diving in to pinch off a bite. It is also fun and easy to make this sharable treat at home. People often wonder if funnel cake is made from pancake batter or if you can use pancake mix for the funnel cake batter.
In fact, it is possible to make a perfect funnel cake batter using a pancake mix you probably already have in your pantry.
All you need is prepared buttermilk pancake mix, a bit of sugar, vanilla, and water.
Whisk it up until it can be easily drizzled through a funnel, pastry bag, or zip-top bag. Fry it up in hot oil and then serve warm. It can be topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream, ice cream, or even ice cream sundae toppings.
Keys to Success
To achieve the perfect funnel cake, there are three important factors to consider: timing, batter thickness, and funnel spout size. A batter that is too thin will spread too much and won’t hold its shape, while a too-thick batter will be difficult to pour out in a timely manner and may result in an overdone cake.
For best results, a funnel with a 1/4-inch opening is recommended, but a squeeze bottle with the same size opening can be used for more control.
Making funnel cakes at home allows you to customize the size and toppings, such as creating a funnel cake ice cream sundae.