Friday, 24 September 2010

Hummingbird Bakery cookbook

About a year and a half ago, I was having a random browse in the cookery section of WHSmiths. I was looking for some interesting and different cake recipes. Out of all the books, the Hummingbird Bakery one stood out the most. I was very excited about making some of these cakes. If you don't feel like making your own, the Hummingbird Bakery has branches in Notting Hill and South Kensington in London. I must warn you though that buying from these bakeries is a lot more expensive. With this in mind, I went and purchased this book. Now I think I have made enough cakes to review the book.

To start with I decided to try a more simpler recipe. As nice as some of the recipes sounded, my cooking is not brilliant. So I started with the pecan pie. I actually cheated a little and used pre made pastry. I didn't have much time so I didn't really want to make my own. The resulting pie looked almost identical to this picture-

The one problem I had was that I had to substitute dark corn syrup for golden syrup. Although Hummingbird have stores in England, the people who started this bakery are actually American. Dark corn syrup is hard to find in the UK but if you have dark corn syrup it is meant to taste more authentic. I was a little worried when I first took the pie out because the pecans all floated to the top and the syrup bit resembled jelly. It turns out it is meant to turn out like this. This pie definitely tasted better hot and served with ice cream. This is winter comfort food. You can really taste the pecans. I want to make this again sometime when the weather gets colder.

For my next venture I decided to make marshmallow cupcakes like these-

To look at these you may be wondering what is so special about them. Hidden inside is a marshmallow filling. This recipe is fiddly but a lot of fun. The best bit was melting the marshmallows. I deliberately made too much so I had some warm marshmallow fluff to snack on (and it was totally worth it). The recipe was quite simple. It is a bit like making butterfly cakes but with marshmallows instead of butter icing. However, there was a problem with the frosting. The book has 3 frosting recipes at the front which are used throughout the book. For these cakes I made the vanilla frosting and I was very disappointed when it turned out runny. I kept adding more icing sugar but it was hopeless. So my cupcakes had runny frosting. I was a little disappointed. Also I would recommend not using extra marshmallows on top because these are sweet enough already. I added extra marshmallows and the cakes ended up making me feel a little sick afterwards.

Then I decided to make 2 batches of cupcakes. I used the vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes. Sadly I had a lot of problems with the vanilla cupcakes. Some of the ingredient measures in this book are definitely not right. This problem seems to affect a few of the recipes whilst others work fine. A good example of ingredient unbalance would be the traditional brownie recipe. You expect brownies to be slightly runny but mine ended up being melt in the middle chocolate pudding. No matter what I did, the brownies would not set in the middle. It was very messy. Admittedly my husband enjoyed eating the failed brownie goop and I managed to rescue the edges which had set to an acceptable brownie standard. I also made a batch of Blondies which are a white chocolate version of brownies. Mine ended up looking like cake instead of brownies. I am not sure if this is how it is meant to turn out or not. The picture in the book suggests that I did get it right but I wouldn't call it a brownie. The white chocolate brownie/cake tasted amazing. This is a good recipe for those who like chocolate but don't want something over the top.

This book also features other recipes such as strawberry cheesecake cupcakes, lavender cupcakes, Brooklyn blackout cake (which is a bit like a death by chocolate cake recipe), sweet and savoury muffins and raspberry cheesecake brownies.

The pictures look amazing but don't expect yours to turn out as well as the pictured ones. Some recipes work and others may need adjusting. Although some of the recipes are simple, beginners may struggle with some of the recipes here. The books appearance is very appealing and some of the pictures will make your mouth water. If all of this sounds like too much hassle, then maybe visit the actual stores or try a different recipe book. Apparently celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow are Hummingbird fans. I am curious to visit the shop just to see what it is like.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...