Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Hummingbird Bakery

I visited The Hummingbird Bakery in Portobello, London last year for one of their infamous cupcakes - London's answer to The Magnolia Bakery in New York as made famous by Sex and the City. The cupcakes are delightful (as most cupcakes are!) and a recent gift from a friend of The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, means that I can now re-create the magic at home.

There is nothing better for me, than a rainy day outside with the comforting smell of home-made cakes inside. I enjoy baking cakes so much, measuring out all of the ingredients and the creativity involved in the icing. I don't get chance to bake that often though and once you've made beautiful cakes you also have to eat them - not good for your waistline!

So I thought I would share one of the recipes from the book, perfect for summer, if a Lavender cupcake takes your fancy at all.

120ml whole milk
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
12 small sprigs of lavender (optional)

lavender frosting:
25ml whole milk
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
a couple of drops of purple food colouring (optional)

a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

Put the milk and dried lavender flowers in a jug, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible. Do the same with the milk and lavender flowers for the frosting, in a separate jug.

Preheat the oven to 170℃ (325℉) Gas 3.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Strain the lavender-infused milk (for the cupcake) and slowly pour into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg and beat well (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minuted, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the lavender frosting: Beat together the icing sugar, butter and food colouring, if using, in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Strain the lavender-infused milk and slowly pour into the butter mixture. Once all the milk is incorporated, tun the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

When the cupcakes are cool spoon the lavender frosting on top and decorate with a sprig of lavender, if using.


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  2. I was looking for Hummingbird Bakery just yesterday! Crossing fingers I could be in london for a short holiday in September/October...I've never been there before!
    I have been in New York though and of course I ate Magnolia Bakery's cupcakes...yum!

  3. omg that bakery was so in glamour the other day! thanks for the recipe for the cupcake, i love them so much!

  4. wow that book looks amazing, i'm going to have to buy it <3

  5. Ooooooh gosh, The Hummingbird Bakery in Portobello road was the place I ate the most delicious cupcake ever, last April!!!!!
    I'm serious : the cake was light, vanilla scented, and the top butter cream was a dream!

    I want to return there soon!


  6. ahhh how nice! i really want one of those cupcake books xxxxxx

  7. Oh my, I missed so many of your posts, so I just had to catch up there. Loved the umbrella! Loved your weekend pics (mine starts with a Starbucks as well). And like you, I have mixed feelings towards Reiss - great pieces, but a tad too conservative. I'll probably feature it when I'm in London next though.

    Oh, and I'm a huge cupcake fan. The last ones I did were actually based on a Magnolia recipe, but I'll definitely have to try some from Hummingbird as well. Thanks for sharing the Lavender one!

  8. Those seem amazing! Thank you so much for posting the recipe. I've seen the recipe for Magnolia's cupcakes on-line, my boss made them for a co-workers birthday a while back, they were delicious, but I can't wait to try those! Here in Los Angeles we have a cupcake shop called Sprinkles everyone loves. I just love ALL cupcakes. Thanks again!

  9. Yum! I must make this and MUST visit hummingbird bakery this weekend!

  10. Mmm. This makes me want to bake.

    I have to say, even though Magnolia has launched many imitators, the cake is so dry in their cupcakes. Not worth the long wait in line!

  11. We have such similar tastes at amazon (and with cupcakes) we should swop some books sometime from our libraries! was gona get this1 but hav to wait a while,great post,x

  12. Why are all the good cupcakes elsewhere!?

  13. I love cupcakes. What a great recipe!

  14. Yum yum those cupcakes look delicious! thanks for the recipe Polly x

  15. I love pretty cupcakes!!!
    That book looks/sounds so great

  16. Ooo, I've never eaten Lavender anything before, but am keen to try. What does it taste like?

  17. the book is so yummilicious... i m such a glutton! thanks for the recipe. will try it sooooon once I find some time.

  18. Thanks for the famous recipe!!

  19. I really want to get that book the cup cakes look sooo delicious!


  20. Ah I def need to start baking ;)

  21. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Sounds delicious. Between those lovely places and Sprinkle, I could plan several vacays simply around cupcakes. Ah ha

  22. i'm pleased to see there are so many other cupcake addicts out there!

  23. mmmm! that sounds so yummy! =)

  24. hmmm yummy cupcakes:)i should start doig too:)
    thanks for yor comment on the blog:)

  25. My my my, how I enjoy baking in general -- cupcakes especially. But you're right: not so good for the waistline.

    London is one of my travel destinations and your posts make it even more irresistible. Will definitely visit The Hummingbird Bakery one day.

    Thanks for sharing this cupcake recipe. :D

  26. Really love this recipe and that book is now a must have for me. I love baking and cupcakes. Perfecto. Thanks PB!

  27. Sounds lovely! Cupcakes are my biggest vice, and I really dont need to learn new recipies (because of the waistline thing) but thanks anyway!

  28. Yes, yes and more yes! I actually bought the book for my friend's birthday, and needless to say we worked our way through all the recipes :)

  29. oooh sounds yummy!
    ill have to try it! :)


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