I recently travelled around Southern USA. During the holiday I ventured into the beautiful Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and South Carolina straying through the marvelous Autumnal landscape to what, in my opinion, should be named one of the seven wonders of the modern World. I refer naturally to Dollywood! Theme park of the ageless icon that is Dolly Parton. The park was everything I dreamed of, great rides, beautiful location and rather surprisingly; excellent food. One such delicacy came in the form of funnel cake – a cake descending from the Pennsylvania Dutch Immigrants of the US and a food often to be found at fairs and public events. It’s a simple kind of doughnut batter which is deep fried to create a nest-like cake, packed full of crunchy delight with a generous dusting of sweet sugar and cinnamon. I ate mine just before I left the park and had to be forced to throw away the last quarter. I quite clearly wasn’t able to manage it, but was determined to try. It’s one of the tastiest sweet items I’ve ever tasted and I’m delighted to report that it’s magnificently easy to make yourself. You have to try this before you die.
1¾ cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1¼ cup milk + more if necessary
Canola oil (for deep frying)
Soft icing sugar (for dusting)
Powdered cinnamon (for dusting)
Sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, sugar and slat. Mix together the egg and milk then stir into the flour, stir into a smooth consistency (like pourable thick cream) – add more milk if needed.
Heat 4cm oil in a deep frying pan or wok until hot but not smoking.
Using a large funnel, put your finger over the hole and pour in half the batter mix. Ramove your thumb to release the batter into the oil. As it pours, create circular shapes to create a higglety pigglety ‘nest’. Let this fry for 30-50 seconds until golden brown. Using a fish slice, turn the cake over and let it brown on the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Place on a serving plate and dust generously with cinnamon and icing sugar and serve immediately.
Serve on its own with the dusted sugar and cinnamon or you can also serve a splodge of jam in the centre. You can also add a nice dollop of stewed apples to the centre too. But on its own with sugar is just fine.