No festival, state fair or fun park is complete without a funnel cake stand. These goodies were photographed at a Baltimore street festival.
But is funnel “cake” a misnomer? It’s just fried dough with powdered sugar. Every culture seems to have its own version, but they don’t necessarily call it cake. (The beignet, the Chinese breakfast “oil stick,” the Italian zeppole, the Polish pączki. And yes, I did learn about some of these from Wikipedia.)
[ann adds: i just want to chime in and note that i agree wholeheartedly with mimi that funnel cake is not cake. it’s far more delicious than that, even when i accidentally inhale powdered sugar while eating it and end up with total coughing fits.
and while mimi is generious enough to see the fried dough similarities among cultures, i am not. i believe there are great distinctions between, let’s say, funnel cake, a county fair staple that is best served piping hot, and paczki, a flaky, delicious treat that can be enjoyed anywhere. the fried dough may be a base, but the variations that go from there are wildly varied and wildly delicious.]