Bring a taste of Finland to your May Day celebration with these crispy, sweet funnel cakes! May Day (known as Vappu in Finnish and Valborg in Swedish) is the celebration of spring in Finland. It begins the night before (April 30) with bonfires, drinking, dancing and singing folk songs. Fortunately for those who overindulge, May 1 is a national holiday (their Labor Day). The celebrating continues into this next day with parades, street fairs, picnics and FUNNEL CAKES.
While they might seem intimidating, funnel cakes are really easy to make! Once the batter is whipped together and the oil is heated, the cakes cook in a matter of minutes. Dusted with powdered sugar and eaten warm, these funnel cakes will transport you to a bustling street fair in Helsinki. CHEERS TO SPRING!
Why This Recipe Works
- The batter is straightforward and simple and comes together in 5 minutes.
- I have an easy technique (NO FUNNEL REQUIRED) for drizzling the batter and for ensuring it stays in a round shape.
- The cakes cook in a just minutes and are ready to dust with powdered sugar and enjoy immediately!
Nothing unusual here. In fact, our shopping list looks a lot like what goes in to a simple pancake or waffle recipe. As far as the cooking oil in concerned, I recommend something with a high smoke point such as canola or peanut oil.
How To Make This Recipe
- First, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside. Whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until completely smooth.
- Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch deep skillet or dutch oven.
- Meanwhile, place a gallon-sized plastic storage or freezer bag inside of a glass measuring cup and fold the opening of the bag down and around the sides of the cup. Pour the batter inside the bag.
- Remove the batter-filled bag from the measuring cup and cut a small (⅛-1/4 inch) hole in the corner of the bag. Once the the oil reaches 350 degrees F, squeeze the batter into the hot oil and drizzle it back and forth in a figure 8 motion until a circle forms that is about 3-4 inches in diameter. Repeat so that you have two cakes cooking in the skillet at a time.
- Cook until golden brown on the first side, about 45 seconds to a minute. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown, approximately another 45 seconds.
- Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining batter. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
- Make sure your batter is nice and smooth. Whisk the mixture thoroughly to ensure that no lumps remain.
- Check the temperature of the oil prior to cooking. The best way to know that your oil is 350 degrees F is to check it with a probe thermometer. If you don't have one, you can test the temperature of the oil by sticking the handle end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If small bubbles actively form around the handle and float to the surface of the oil, you are ready to fry. If there are no bubbles or just a few, the oil is not hot enough yet. Continue to let it heat and check it again in a few minutes. If it is bubbling hard, your oil is likely too hot. Turn the temperature down and try again in a few minutes.
- The hole in the corner of the bag should be small. Err on the side of cutting a hole that is too small. You really don't want it to be larger than ⅛-1/4 of an inch.
- It's important to use a figure 8 motion when drizzling the batter into the hot oil. If you just try to go in a circle, the drizzled batter won't stick together, and it will scatter throughout the pan and not form into a cake. It might take you a couple of cakes to get the hang of it so be patient!
- Enjoy immediately! Like most deep-fried pastries, these funnel cakes are best enjoyed right away.
Funnel cakes are a popular fair food here in the United States and are enjoyed at events all throughout the summer fair and festival season across the country. The American version of the funnel cake is typically larger in size but very similar in taste and texture.
They are best enjoyed immediately after frying them. If you want to get a head start, mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Cover and store the dry ingredients at room temperature and the wet ingredients in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Mix the two together right before you are ready to cook.
Looking for more Finnish recipes? I've got several here on the blog:
I hope you give these delicious Finnish May Day Funnel Cakes a try. They are fun, easy and festive, not to mention delicious. Pour a glass of champagne to go with and toast to the return of spring!
Finnish May Day Funnel Cakes
- Gallon-sized ziploc bag
- 12 inch deep skillet or dutch oven
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups canola peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered sugar for serving
- Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk milk, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until completely smooth.
- Pour the oil into a 12-inch dutch oven or deep skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350 degrees.
- Meanwhile, transfer the batter to a plastic ziploc bag. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag that is about ⅛-¼ inch in diameter.
- Drizzle the batter into the hot oil in a figure eight motion, continuing until you have a bird’s nest-like circle that is 3 or 4 inches in diameter. Repeat so that you are cooking two cakes at a time.
- Fry until golden brown, about 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining batter. Dust the funnel cakes with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Finnish May Day Funnel Cakes and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.