One of my Facebook friends asked me if I had a gluten free funnel cake recipe. I didn’t, but it intrigued me, as I had never made one, or tasted one before. I headed on over to one of my favorite chef’s, Alton Brown, to see how he made them. You can watch his Funnel Cake video. Either click on the photo with the arrow or the Video tab above the recipe. Funnel cakes are usually served at fairs, carnivals and street vendors. If you’re missing them now that you’re gluten free, try making this recipe at home. I must say, they are very addicting!
Because a high protein flour is needed so that the liquid is absorbed by the flour, I used sorghum flour. It contains double the amount of protein compared to rice flour. I was tempted on using rice flour, as it creates a good crust when fried, but knowing that the high egg amount would brown nicely, I used the sorghum.
I chose Alton’s funnel cake recipe to convert to gluten free because he uses water instead of milk or cream, making it a dairy-free delight when using a dairy-free buttery spread, though I used unsalted butter. If you like a more cake-like texture I suggest using milk. I hope you enjoy these gluten free funnel cakes as much as I did. They’re so fun to make!
A gluten free funnel cake recipe just like the ones you'd find at a fair - made from a lightly sweetened batter, ready for your sweet toppings!
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/4 cup non-GMO cornstarch* (or tapioca starch)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 cup + 1-2 Tablespoons water, divided
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons sugar**
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- Cooking oil, for frying (I used EVOO.)
- Powdered sugar***
- Cinnamon and sugar
- Chocolate syrup
- Fruit toppings
- Ice cream
- Whipped cream
- Whisk together the flour, starches, and cinnamon, if using; set aside.
- Add the water, sugar, butter and salt to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Remove the pan from the burner, and add the flour and stir quickly and constantly until it is thoroughly incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your mixer and allow to cool for about 8 minutes.
- Turn the mixer on the lowest speed possible, ("Stir" for KitchenAid mixers). Using the paddle tool, add eggs, one at a time, and mix until it is thoroughly blended and smooth, scraping bowl as needed. If needed, add an additional 1 tablespoon of water at the end and mix well to create a batter thin enough to pour, but pour slowly - so add just the amount you need to reach that consistency, up to 2 tablespoons.
- Place the dough either in a piping bag with a size 12 tip (8/10 of a cm), Wilton's Dessert Decorator Pro No. 230 tip (this is what I used); or a 1 gallon ziplock bag with 1/8" cut off one of the corners. Preheat a skillet with approximately 1-2" of oil on medium to medium-high heat; or a deep fryer heated to 375°F.
- Pipe the dough slowly at first, into the oil, allowing the first piece to rise to the surface before piping much more, and either rotate in a circular motion or swirl to create a lattice pattern; cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side (2 minutes if you desire it to be crispy all the way through). The longer it cooks, the more crisp the center will become.
- Remove the cake from the oil, allowing excess oil to drip back into the pan/deep-frier; drain on paper towels; allow to cool for a bit if topping with powdered sugar, or will melt.
- Remove any remaining pieces left in the oil and repeat with remaining batter.
*Bob's Red Mill's cornstarch is non- GMO.
**To make sugar-free, use molasses. To make refined sugar-free, use organic honey. These substitutes will make softer funnel cakes, though.
***Trader Joe's Organic Powder Sugar is corn-free. It contains tapioca starch versus cornstarch.
When making funnel cakes freehand, often some of the batter will float away or a large section will. You can always add more batter to combine them, or flip a piece on top of the other, as long as you do immediately before it begins to cook. Or you can use a mold specifically made for deep-frying funnel cakes.
You want to push hard enough for the batter to be thick enough. If you pipe out a thin string your funnel cakes will not take like cake at all, but a crispy tempura batter. And you'll get that same tempura batter effect if you over cook them.
The batter will sink to the bottom of the fryer/pan at first. Don't worry, as it will float to the top in a few seconds. Just continue making your swirling motion no matter where it is. Don't stop the flow of the batter.
I did not use cinnamon in the funnel cake pictured above.
I lost track of time and much of the water had boiled out of my mixture on the stove. So, I measured it and added enough water to make 1 1/2 cups total, which is the total amount of ingredients added originally.