These are a scrumptious combination of funnel cakes, elephant ears, and donuts…made into mini cakes. Oh, and we added Innus and Gunn beer to the mix too.
Shawn and I ventured bravely into the world of deep frying over a campfire. If you’re not used to campfire cooking, I wouldn’t recommend trying this. But for those experienced campers, give it a whirl. We didn’t run into any safety issues because we were careful.
Note: this is not a waist-friendly recipe!
Yields: a bunch of little cakes…probably around 25 or so.
Cook Time: varies. You’ll need time to heat up the oil and about 5 minutes per batch of 5 to 6 cakes.
1 cup milk
1 cup red or dark beer, such as Innus & Gunn Rum Aged Beer
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Coconut oil (we used about 15 Fl oz…you want the oil about 3 inches deep in your dutch oven)
Confectioners’ Sugar to taste
Cinnamon to taste
Put the coconut oil in a very large dutch oven, (we used an 8 quart deep dutch oven). Place on a grate or grill rack over a campfire with hot coals, where you can easily get at it (see picture for example). Make sure it’s not too close to the flames. Let heat to about 375 degrees, or until sprinkling a couple drops of water into the oil “pops” the water.
In the meantime, beat eggs in large bowl. Then add the wet ingredients: milk, beer, and vanilla. In a seperate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat the dry mixture into the egg mixture until smooth.
When the oil is hot enough, take a heaping tablespoon of the batter hold it several inches above the oil. Carefully let the batter slide off the spoon into the oil as if from a funnel, trying to keep the batter in a mound. At first the batter may seem stringy, like a funnel cake, but you don’t want the oil to splatter, and the batter will stick together. If you want it look more like a funnel cake, use a spiraling motion. Repeat with the rest of the surface area in the dutch, about 5 or 6 cakes, being sure to keep the cakes an inch or two apart.
Fry on each side until golden brown (use a long handled spatula to flip). If your oil is hot enough, this should only take a couple of minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel. Put confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon in a paper bag. When each batch of the cakes have cooled a bit, put them in the paper bag and shake. Serve warm.
Most of my cooking notes for these cakes are in the recipe itself. I felt that was necessary because you do really want to be careful when making these. Hot oil can really burn you if it splatters, and it can start a grease fire. But if you pay attention to what you’re doing, that shouldn’t happen.
We made these at a reenactment, and they were a real hit at night with our fellow reenactors. A big group makes something like this fun. Plus, you won’t eat as many of them because you’ll share (that’s the hope anyway).
I’d love to provide the nutrition information for these, but honestly, that seems impossible. I did some research to try and figure out how much oil you use in deep frying and there’s no standard answer. You can try to measure how much oil you pour into the dutch, and then measure how much is left over in the end. But a) we didn’t, and b) a lot of that oil ends up on the paper towel anyway.
Also, the amount of oil that the batter sucks in depends on how hot the oil is. If it’s not very hot, the cakes cook slowly and absorb more. If it’s really hot, the cakes cook really fast and therefore seal on the outside, thereby absorbing less oil.
Plus I can’t find the nutrition information for Innus and Gunn beer. I’ve seen estimates on MyFitnessPal but I don’t know where they are getting the information so I’m not convinced. However, the Rum Cask beer flavor really enhanced these cakes so if you can find it, I’d highly recommend using it.
Most funnel cake recipes call for water instead of beer, but Shawn and I both agree that water just saturates the flavor. If you need to add some liquid, make it count.