Can You Use Cake Mix For Funnel Cake

Funnel cake is a beloved carnival treat, known for its crispy and sweet goodness. Traditionally made with a simple batter, some people wonder if it’s possible to use cake mix as a shortcut to make funnel cake at home.

Funnel Cake
Funnel Cake

What is Funnel Cake?

Before we delve into the topic of using cake mix for funnel cake, let’s first understand what funnel cake is. Funnel cake is a popular deep-fried dessert that originated in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

It is made by pouring a thin batter into hot oil through a funnel or squeeze bottle in a circular pattern, creating a lacy and crispy texture. Funnel cakes are typically served dusted with powdered sugar and can be enjoyed plain or with various toppings such as chocolate sauce, fruit preserves, or whipped cream.

Traditional Funnel Cake Recipe

To appreciate the discussion around using cake mix for funnel cake, it’s essential to understand the traditional recipe. Here’s a basic recipe for making funnel cake from scratch:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then add the milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven to approximately 375°F (190°C).
  5. Using a funnel or a squeeze bottle with a wide opening, pour the batter into the hot oil in a circular pattern, starting from the center and moving outward.
  6. Fry the funnel cake for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy.
  7. Carefully remove the funnel cake from the oil using a slotted spoon or tongs and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  8. Dust the funnel cake generously with powdered sugar.
  9. Serve the funnel cake immediately and enjoy!

Can You Use Cake Mix for Funnel Cake?

Now that we have the traditional recipe in mind, let’s explore whether using cake mix is a viable option for making funnel cake. Here are the pros and cons of using cake mix:

Pros of Using Cake Mix:

  1. Convenience: Using cake mix for funnel cake offers convenience, especially for those who prefer a quicker and simpler preparation process. Cake mixes typically come pre-measured and require minimal effort in terms of measuring and mixing ingredients.
  2. Consistent Results: Cake mixes are formulated to provide consistent results, which can be beneficial for novice bakers or those who want a reliable outcome. The proportions of ingredients in the cake mix are carefully balanced to produce a light and fluffy texture.
  3. Flavor Variety: Cake mixes come in a wide range of flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, and even specialty flavors like red velvet or lemon. Using cake mix allows you to experiment with different flavors for your funnel cake, adding a unique twist to the classic treat.

Cons of Using Cake Mix:

  1. Altered Texture: Cake mixes are designed to create a cake-like texture, which may differ from the traditional light and crispy texture of funnel cake. The resulting funnel cake made with cake mix may be denser and less airy compared to the traditional version.
  2. Sweetness Level: Funnel cakes made with cake mix can be sweeter than the traditional recipe. Cake mixes often contain added sugars, which can affect the overall sweetness of the funnel cake. This may or may not be preferable, depending on individual taste preferences.
  3. Limited Control: When using cake mix, you have limited control over the ingredients and their quality. Homemade funnel cakes allow you to choose high-quality ingredients, control the sweetness, and adjust the recipe according to your preferences.

Tips for Using Cake Mix for Funnel Cake

If you decide to use cake mix for your funnel cake, here are some tips to help you achieve the best results:

  1. Follow the Instructions: Refer to the instructions on the cake mix box and adapt them to create a funnel cake batter. Usually, you’ll need to add eggs, water or milk, and oil to the cake mix to create the batter.
  2. Adjust the Consistency: Cake mixes tend to produce thicker batters compared to the traditional funnel cake batter. To achieve a pourable consistency, you may need to add a little extra liquid, such as milk or water, to thin out the batter.
  3. Use a Funnel or Squeeze Bottle: Even with a thicker batter, you can still create the characteristic lacy patterns of funnel cake by using a funnel or a squeeze bottle with a wide opening. Pour the batter into the hot oil in a circular motion to achieve the desired shape.
  4. Fry at the Right Temperature: Maintain the oil temperature at around 375°F (190°C) for optimal frying. This ensures that the funnel cake cooks evenly and achieves a golden brown color.
  5. Dust with Powdered Sugar: To mimic the classic funnel cake presentation, dust the cake mix funnel cake with powdered sugar before serving. This adds a touch of sweetness and enhances the overall appearance.

Alternative Recipes for Funnel Cake

If you’re looking for alternative recipes for funnel cake that don’t involve using cake mix, here are a few options:

  1. Buttermilk Funnel Cake: Replace the milk in the traditional recipe with buttermilk for a tangy twist on the classic funnel cake.
  2. Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake: Add pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice to the batter for a delightful fall-inspired flavor.
  3. Cinnamon Sugar Funnel Cake: Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the funnel cake just after frying to create a deliciously spiced treat.
  4. Gluten-Free Funnel Cake: Use gluten-free flour and make necessary adjustments to create a gluten-free version of funnel cake for those with dietary restrictions.


Is funnel cake the same as pancake batter?

No, funnel cake batter is different from pancake batter. Funnel cake batter is thinner and typically contains a higher ratio of liquid to flour, resulting in a lighter and crispier texture.

Can I make funnel cake without a funnel?

Yes, you can make funnel cake without a funnel. A squeeze bottle with a wide opening or even a plastic bag with a corner snipped off can be used as a makeshift funnel to pour the batter into the hot oil.

How long does funnel cake last?

Funnel cake is best enjoyed fresh. It is recommended to consume it immediately after frying for the best taste and texture. Leftover funnel cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1-2 days, but it will gradually lose its crispiness.

Can I freeze funnel cake?

Freezing funnel cake is not recommended as it can affect the texture and crispiness. Funnel cake is best enjoyed when freshly made.

What toppings can I use for funnel cake?

Funnel cake can be served with a variety of toppings. Some popular options include powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, fruit preserves, whipped cream, or even ice cream for a delightful twist.


In conclusion, while using cake mix for funnel cake offers convenience and flavor variety, it may result in a slightly altered texture and increased sweetness compared to the traditional recipe. The use of cake mix can be a viable option for those seeking a quick and reliable way to make funnel cake at home. However, if you prefer the classic light and crispy texture of funnel cake, it is recommended to stick to the traditional recipe.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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