Guys, we hit the jackpot.
Michael Wedderburn, Dorney Park's executive chef, sent me a copycat recipe for our Dorney Park Old-Fashioned Funnel Cakes, and it’s so amazingly easy that even I can make it (seriously).
Want to know the best part? I didn’t have to go to the store to purchase any of the ingredients. I had them (or alternate ingredients) already available in my pantry.
Now I want you to know I’ve never attempted a funnel cake before. I’ve fried chicken, and I’ve made apple and corn fritters – so I knew the concept was simple yet challenging; your oil has to be just right, and your fry-time, too. I am a funnel cake newbie!
If you want to dive right in, here’s the recipe! If you want to find out how I improvised, lessons I learned, and the verdict on how I did, then keep on reading!
- 2 cups of vegetable oil
- 2 cups pancake mix
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ounces of powdered sugar
Optional: Sliced strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce for toppings - not needed for deliciousness.
- In a deep skillet, heat two cups of oil over medium heat to 350 degrees.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the pancake mix, sugar, water, and vanilla. Mix until all lumps are removed. Pour batter into funnel. (you can also use a squeeze bottle or sandwich bag).
- Test oil with a small drop of oil to ensure it is ready. The batter should quickly float with small bubbles surrounding it.
- Pour batter into oil in a circular motion using ¼ of the batter. Once the bottom becomes golden brown, use tongs to carefully flip the funnel cake over. Cook for an additional minute.
- Remove funnel cake from oil and rest on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle powdered sugar over top.
Safety note: please keep children away from the stovetop and hot oil, before and after making.
I had to improvise a little, and here’s how I did:
- I did not have vanilla extract, so I used lemon & almond extract. I only really needed to use one extract, but I got confident and mixed the two.
- I only had EVOO; I used that instead of Vegetable Oil.
- I didn’t have a thermometer for the oil, so I did the drop test, to see if it rose to the surface quickly with tiny bubbles around it – and it did.
- I made ½ the recipe. There’s been a lot of snaccidents happening in our household lately, so I decided we (meaning me and my son) didn’t need a whole funnel cake.
- I used a sandwich bag for the batter - so simple. Tip: Place the sandwich bag in an 8oz cup and fold the seam over the edge of the cup, then pour the batter in the bag. It makes it easy to fill, and (my favorite) no mess!
- I also didn’t have any whipped cream or strawberries, which would have been YUM. I think I would have enjoyed fresh-picked blueberries with the lemon funnel cake, but that will have to wait until late summer / early fall when the blueberries are ready to be picked. The added toppings were not needed, but always an added bonus! Great creative and top-off your home creations with whatever you like!
If you are interested in adding fruit, simply slice and dice your desired fruit and add some sugar to the bowl, mix, and place in the refrigerator. My grandmother (or Grammie) would use this trick on the classic strawberry shortcake dessert she would make for us growing up.
VERDICT: This recipe was incredibly simple to replicate, and was an absolute TREAT. My 9-year-old son was the TRUE taste tester and wants one for his next birthday cake. He really enjoyed the lemon flavor (as did I). It was a yummy treat that took us mind, body, and soul back to the midways – especially on a warm sunny day... wishing we could be at the park. I'd call that a success.
Here's an image of my final product:
- Use a bigger skillet than you think you need – I decided I would use a 4 qt. pot – not my best idea. The batter expands when it’s being fried, so it will consume more space which makes the funnel cake difficult to flip and the hot oil can be dangerous.
- Make the full recipe and not the half, it’s soo good!
I hope everyone enjoys this super simple recipe, and we’d LOVE to see your attempts – so please take photos and share on social using #DorneyPark.
Recipe makes 1 large funnel cake, with 4 servings. Safety note: please keep children away from the stovetop and hot oil, before and after making.
I hope to introduce some additional park recipes to you, as soon as I get to the store :)
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