Pre-heat oven to lowest setting. Line two large baking sheets with paper towels. Place in oven. Place vegetable oil in heavy 12 inch to 14 inch skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches. Heat until very hot, but not smoking.
Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients and sift into bowl. Pour eggs and 1 cup milk into a well in center of sifted ingredients. With a large spoon, stir ingredients until batter is smooth. To make cakes, ladle 1/2 cup batter into funnel which has a 1/2 inch tip opening.
Keep spout closed and control flow of batter with forefinger of your hand. Dribble batter directly into hot oil, moving funnel in a circle to build a swirl of 3 to 4 rings about 6 inches in diameter. Form and deep fry cake 2 minutes on each side, turning once with slotted spatula.
When cakes are brown, arrange on pan and keep warm in oven. Repeat proceedure using 1/2 cup batter for each cake. If batter becomes stiff, add up to 1/4 cup milk, one tablespoon at a time. Serve warm, accompanied by maple syrup or molasses or dusted with confectioners sugar.
Funnel cakes are traditionally served with sausage as a winter meal, or can be dusted with powdered sugar and eaten as 'finger food'. Yields twelve 6-inch cakes.