Count them yourself if you please. There are a total of fifteen different cup cake recipes in the The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. That’s hours of fun and sugar highs right there before you even get into the carrot cake recipe and key lime pie. If you are a fan of the Hummingbird Bakery or of American style, super sweet and frosting heavy baking then you will be a fan of this cookbook. I am a fan. Such a fan that I broke my self imposed cookbook ban (I have way too many) to purchase this book. I figure it is justifiable as a money saving move as I will save money by baking Hummingbird bakery goodies rather than hot footing it down to Portobello road to buy them. It is a very girly book with a pale pink and chocolate colour scheme and lots of gratuitous glossy photos of swirls of thick frosting. The chef behind the Hummingbird Bakery, ex journo Tarek Malouf, certainly knows his target market.
The recipes are fairly straightforward and of the two I tested both worked perfectly (although perhaps my frosting technique needs to be a bit more heavy handed in order to reach the decadent heights of the Hummingbird Bakery itself). The most important thing to remember when baking cupcakes Hummingbird Bakery style is to use muffin cases to line a muffin tin rather than cupcake cases as these are super size American style cupcakes. If you are UK based you can get muffin cases from Waitrose and this trip will save you the ignominy of squashed looking cupcakes which will result from using cupcake cases. I have tweaked the recipe slightly to reduce the quantity of food colouring as I am not such a fan of additives like food colouring. Given this recipe uses red food colouring there is an inherent danger that your kitchen will look like a blood bath has occurred in it. This adds a little frisson to the whole baking experience. I should also note that the cookbook calls for an electric mixer but I don’t have one and it is not necessary if you don’t mind working off those cupcakes while you are creaming the butter and sugar by hand.
60g butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
10ml red food colouring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g butter at room temperature
125g cream cheese, chilled
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Cream the butter, egg and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl mix the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla extract. Once mixed add to the creamed mixture.
4. Mix carefully until combined and then add half the buttermilk, mix further and add half the flour and the baking powder. Mix thoroughly before adding the remainder of the buttermilk and flour and mixing further.
5. Add the white wine vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix thoroughly for at least 5 mins.
6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins or until the cupcakes spring back slightly when touched.
7. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
8. In the meantime, to make the frosting cream the icing sugar and butter together until well mixed.
9. Add the cream cheese and mix until it is incorporated. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy for at least 5 mins.
10. Use a spatula to layer the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of Hummingbird Bakery
itself on Portobello road in Notting Hill. Or you can try out the recipe for Hummingbird Bakery’s vanilla cupcakes