Dribble Cake? Funny Cake? Call it what you like, but those of us from Pennsylvania's Americana Region know that a name cannot define this delectable indulgence of fried batter and powdered sugar. The majority of Google search results will tell you that funnel cake is, indeed, a PA Dutch creation. And for that creation, dear ancestors, I thank you!
Funnel cake comes in a variety of forms, from the light and fluffy with thin strings of sweet goodness to the thicker, heavier concoction that resembles what Canadians call an “elephant ear.” Don’t be confused by the two. My research tells me that a funnel cake is made of fried batter, while an elephant ear is made of fried bread. Regardless, how could you go wrong with either one?
My perusal through online research and festival websites tells me that I have failed to fully appreciate the beauty of the ever-versatile funnel cake. Traditionally, I enjoy mine with powdered sugar. I certainly don’t scoff at that topping, but my eyes have now been opened to a multitude of other possibilities. While many of the toppings suggested were to be expected - like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, chocolate, and cinnamon, apparently some people get even more creative. Cream cheese? Well, that can’t be bad, right? But jalapenos? And shredded chicken? I’m not sure how I feel about that. After all, when I think of funnel cake, I think of sweet, warm, yummy goodness.
Funnel cakes seem pretty easy to make at home, but I tend to shy away from making my own. You know how some things just tasted better at your grandmother’s house? Funnel cakes are like that. I wouldn’t want to mess with a good thing. Lucky for me, funnel cakes are plentiful throughout Pennsylvania's Americana Region at our summer fairs, festivals, and block parties. In fact, the Kutztown Folk Festival is going on right now. What better place to get my fill of funnel cakes than at the festival that celebrates the people who invented this scrumptious confection!
In case you want to try making funnel cakes at home, grab a large funnel and try this simple recipe
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups oil for frying
1. In a large bowl, beat egg on low speed with an electric mixer. Add flour, sugar, and salt and mix together with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the milk to the mixture gradually. Beat it with an electric mixer on low speed until it looks smooth and creamy.
3. In a medium sized frying pan, heat the oil.
4. Using the funnel, pour the batter through the funnel into the oil using a circular motion.
5. Cook for 2 minutes and then turn funnel cake over with a spatula. Cook the other side for 2 minutes.
6. Set the funnel cake on a paper towel to remove any extra oil.
7. Place funnel cake onto a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.