3 whole eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar for topping
Cinnamon for dusting
Vegetable oil for deep frying (360 degrees)
First, in a medium-large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are frothy.
Then pour in the sugar, the milk, and the vanilla and whisk everything until the sugar is totally dissolved and the mixture is totally combined.
Now sift together about 2 cups of the flour, along with the salt and the baking powder, and gradually add it to the mixing bowl, whisking it until the resultant batter is smooth and not too thick and adding extra flour if necessary.
To actually make a 'funnel' cake, you can use either a funnel pitcher that has a 1/2 to 5/8-inch opening at the end of the spout. . .or a regular water pitcher. . .or a large, glass measuring cup. . .or even a common household funnel that you can fill with batter and plug with your finger over the hole until you're ready to make your funnel cake.
Then when you're ready to cook, slowly pour about a half-cup of batter into the hot oil beginning in the center and swirling outward in a circular motion until a recognizable funnel cake takes shape.
With the batter in the oil for about 30 seconds, check the cake with tongs or a meat fork; and when the bottom becomes golden brown flip the cake over gently and do the other side until equally brown.
When it's ready, remove it from the oil, allow it to drip off the excess, and place it on a paper-towel-covered paper plate, immediately dusting a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar while it is still hot.
While over the years funnel cakes have also been served with jelly or honey or molasses or syrup or macerated fruit or even chocolate sauce, most folks in and around the Crescent City, probably because we all grew up eating powdered-sugar-covered beignets, prefer them with just the powdered sugar (with maybe, just maybe, a touch of cinnamon on the side).
And that's all there is to it! So go heat up the oil!
You don't need 'funnel cake rings' and the other specialized equipment to do them at home. They can be cooked right on the stovetop in an 8-inch, non-stick skillet, or in a seasoned 8-inch cast iron fry pan, or in a 2-quart saucepan. . .or my favorite way in a 'Fry Daddy,' which is probably the easiest and simply way to do 'em.
If the batter turns out too thick, add a little extra milk; if it turns out too think, whip in a little extra flour. It needs to flow freely into the oil.