Funnel Cakes

Posted on May 25, 2013

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FunnelCakes

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FunnelCakes

“We’ll just go on Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, then we’ll get a funnel cake”

That funnel cake was never to be. Though the sun was scorching as we sauntered across Disney Studios, an hour later the rain came down like stair rods and we dashed for cover into a 50′s style diner for pot roast, meat loaf and fried chicken.

On our ‘to do’ list at Disney World there were more ‘items of food’ than there were ‘rides and shows’. We worked our way through most offerings including Dole Whips, hot pretzels, shrimp po’ boys and beignets, but due to that most impressive thunderstorm, which flushed yellow writhing snakes out of the flower beds, the funnel cake was never ticked off the list.

Although we didn’t travel through America, we were determined to at least try a Disney-fied version of American classics. Funnel cakes, are something that you might find at a traditional fairground or pier, hence my nod to that nostalgia with the typeface I used in the title. It reminds me of ‘Fulton’s Crab House’ on the steamboat at Downtown Disney.

So…back to the job in hand.

These really couldn’t be much easier. They are nothing more than pancake batter, cooked in 1-2″ of oil instead of a frying pan. Rather than using a funnel to drizzle the batter into the pan I used a squeezy sauce bottle, but you could just as easily use a piping bag, or zip-lock bag with ¼” cut off the end. I cooked them in a tiny non stick pan that I recently bought for making sauces and warming milk. It’s only about 12cm/5″ across which meant I was able to make these with just 250ml of sunflower oil, so it’s not a big ‘deep frying’ task that uses lots of oil.

I flavoured the batter with orange zest and vanilla, then topped the finished funnel cakes with cream and a simple syrup made with blueberries and orange. Though I promise you they are just as good dusted with icing sugar, wrapped in paper and eaten hot from the pan.

An added bonus is that they make your house smell of freshly cooked doughnuts.

Orange and Blueberry Funnel Cakes

Makes 6-8 small cakes, double it up for a family of 4

90ml Milk (1 third of a cup)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
Grated zest of half an orange

Mix this in a jug then gradually whisk it into:

90g Plain Flour (2 thirds of a cup of AP Flour for the Americans)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Caster Sugar
1 pinch of salt

You should have a thick custardy batter.
In a small pan heat 2″ of flavourless oil until it sizzles if you sprinkle in a pinch of flour.
Squirt the batter into the oil, in a spiral, starting from the centre.
Cook for a couple of minutes till the edges start to brown, then flip it over for 2 minutes more.
Remove and cool on kitchen paper then dust with icing sugar.

Blueberry and Orange Syrup

2 Punnets of Blueberries (250g)
100g of Golden Syrup
The zest of an orange, sliced from the orange with a vegetable peeler

Heat the berries, syrup and zest gently in a pan.
As the berries start to burst mash them with a wooden spoon and cook until syrupy.
Pass the sauce through a strainer to remove the skins and zest.
Add a few more extra fresh blueberries when you serve it.

A few out-takes for you: Here’s the first batch I made, without orange…these were more ‘spirally’ and the tiny pan in action, my squirting technique and George testing one hot from the pan.

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If you’d like to see a few photos from our trip (they are mainly iPhone and waterproof camera snaps) the Flickr set is here: Disney World 2012.