Tippaleipä: Finland’s Version of Funnel Cake


In Finland, there is a holiday called “Vappu,” which corresponds to the worldwide celebration of International Workers’ Day, or May Day. On Vappu, many people go out into the streets and throw parties, and it is customary to eat a sweet treat called Tippaleipä. In this article, I will introduce the popular Finnish dessert, Tippaleipä.

What is Tippaleipä?

Tippaleipä is a fried sweet treat, similar to a doughnut, that appears in Finland on May 1st for Vappu. In Finnish, it means “drop of bread,” and it is also known as a funnel cake in English-speaking countries. The basic ingredients and taste are similar to doughnuts, but what catches the eye is its unique appearance. The thin, elongated lines that overlap and create a tangled shape make it difficult to recognize at first glance.

This shape is created by pouring the batter into hot oil from a tool similar to a piping bag used for whipped cream. However, if you pour the batter directly into the oil from a piping bag, you can only make long, thin doughnuts like churros. To make Tippaleipä, the batter is poured into a bottomless can, and as a result, the batter clumps together and forms the tangled shape in the oil.

About Vappu Day

In Japan, May 1st is a normal weekday, but it is designated as International Workers’ Day, or May Day, worldwide. May Day is recognized as a holiday in over 80 countries, and demonstrations and rallies are held on this day to improve workers’ conditions.

In Finland, there is a holiday called “Vappu,” which corresponds to May Day. However, instead of demonstrations for workers’ rights, Vappu in Finland is more of an event to celebrate the arrival of spring with friends and parties. On Vappu, participants wear the white caps given to them at high school graduation.

Known as Funnel Cake in English-speaking Countries

In English-speaking countries like the United States, Tippaleipä is known as a funnel cake. It has gained attention as a convenient street food dessert in America, and some say it could be the next big trend after pancakes. 

As the name “cake” suggests, funnel cakes can be enjoyed as pancakes with fruit or cream toppings. A wide variety of decorations, such as berries and chocolate cream, are possible, and it’s also popular as a stylish, Instagram-worthy dessert. The name “funnel cake” comes from the word “funnel,” which means a funnel.

A funnel is a tool used to pour liquid into a narrow-mouthed container, as shown in the photo above. The name “funnel cake” came about because the batter is poured into the frying oil through a funnel to create the characteristic rope-like cake shape.


Tippaleipä is a popular treat in Finland, especially on Vappu, and is known for its unique shape. On the other hand, in English-speaking countries, it is known as a funnel cake and is gaining attention as a street food dessert. It might even become popular in Japan in the future.