Candy And Desserts

Funnel Cake History



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Do you enjoy those wonderful funnel cakes coated with powdered sugar? Have you ever thought about how this luscious treat came into being? Funnel cakes were started in the Pennsylvania Dutch region, with the people calling it drechter kuch, and at this time were mid-morning snacks. The original creators of funnel cakes lived mostly in the western Pennsylvania and Ohio areas. At this time they were reserved for harvest festivals or German holidays most of the time. Restaurant diners in the Pennsylvania Dutch region got funnel cakes for dessert usually. These sweet treats became even more popular as word reached bigger Midwestern cities.

The creation of funnel cakes is mostly placed in the time frame of the twentieth century. Recipes for funnel cakes are much older though. One of the oldest authentic recipes for a food like what we call funnel cakes is German and is dated back to 1879. The oldest recipe in an English language cookbook, referred to as funnel cakes, turned up in 1935.

Funnel cakes have had other names throughout the years. In the Finnish areas funnel cakes are eaten at May Day celebrations and called tippaleipa. The Spanish used to call them churros, which were eaten at breakfast time with coffee to drink. People from Austria called funnel cakes Strauben. Indians made a food called jalebi, which is similar to what we call funnel cakes.

Funnel cakes got their name because of the way they were made by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Batter for funnel cakes is poured through a funnel. Then the batter goes through the funnel into hot oil in a circular pattern and is deep-fried. The result is spirals of dough that should be crisp and golden brown. When the cake is brown on one side it is flipped to the other to cook. When finished cooking funnel cakes need to be drained on paper. Of course funnel cakes are eaten when hot. Many times they are topped with sugar, maple syrup, or jam. Fruit toppings can also be added to top off funnel cakes.

These confections are quite popular at fairs, ballparks, and festivals and have been through the years. Funnel cakes can be prepared at home and fried in fat, but mostly are found at carnivals and such. Elephant ears and fried dough are similar to funnel cakes, but are made with yeast dough. Funnel cakes are made with unleavened butter and are bought at carnivals to the delight of Americans through the years.

Funnel cakes originated more than 200 years ago. At that time they were eaten at home or during social events. Funnel cakes were also breakfast foods or a snack for noon or evening. Flossies, a funnel cake company, started production of the treats in 1978. The company has pleased taste buds for many years. Funnel cakes were discovered to be popular foods in a variety of different cuisines in America. Since funnel cakes are served at fairs, people associate them with summer.

Amish also have an association with funnel cakes particularly in Mid-Atlantic regions, since they can be prepared without electricity. The Amish used these as money and have brought plenty of culture around funnel cakes. Since funnel cakes need to be made right before serving this makes it mostly a carnival food. In 1972, the "Funnel Cake King" is said to have made $1,700 dollars for funnel cakes in a single day.

Most recipes for funnel cakes in history use these basic ingredients: sugar, milk, butter, flour, yeast, and eggs. Additionally some recipes use vanilla flavoring. The most common topping for funnel cakes is powdered sugar. The temperature for the frying of funnel cakes is most important. If the temperature is too hot the outside is tough. Low temperatures result in pale and greasy cakes. Funnel cakes have been popular at concession stands through the years. At these stands, a pitcher with a spout shaped like a funnel is used. Where usually a separate funnel is used to pour the batter into the oil.

More then one company in the current time sells funnel cake kits to prepare funnel cakes right in your home. Also in recent history for funnel cakes, to aid with fund raising or more income, stores have allowed funnel cake franchises. These stores give needed supplies to help start the funnel cake stands. Now, a lot of recipes for funnel cakes are available to people on the Internet. Now when you enjoy these luscious treats you will know some history behind these fried treats.

More about this author: Tracy Bishop

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