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I have owned the lovely "The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook" for many years now having heard rave reviews about it on Amazon. Whilst I have never visited any of the Hummingbird bakeries, it's reputation preceded it and I knew of it as being an almost "boutique" cafe. For this reason I was keen to try their products out myself in the safety of my own kitchen and to try and replicate some mouth-watering cakes and bakes for my family and friends.
When the book arrived I was impressed by the clear presentation and the gorgeous photos of the finished products, which got my taste buds tingling before I'd even started cooking! Seriously, it is worth buying this book just to drool over the amazing photography! All of the pictures are presented in the prettiest of ways with pretty napkins, attractive tea cups and moist crumbs all helping to sell you a lifestyle and make you feel that their recipes really are the most delicious you will ever come across.
The book covers a vast array of sweet categories as you would expect, with a big focus on their signature cupcakes. Don't expect to find many savoury recipes in here as there are only one or two, but most people would be aware that this book is catered for those of us with a seriously sweet tooth with the main ingredients being sugar, butter and eggs!
The chapters in the book are:
* Brownies and Bars
There is a nice variety of recipes in the book, with red velvet cupcakes, carrot cake, chocolate cheesecake, blondies and blueberry muffins just a few of the many recipes featured.
Having had the book for a long time, I have of course managed to try out many of the recipes. I can thoroughly recommend making the chocolate fridge cake bars (which despite being ridiculously simple to make are so moreish that your waistline really won't thank you even if your taste buds do!), chocolate muffins, brownies and light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes. I would say that the book caters for both beginners and more experienced cooks, with some recipes being very simple and foolproof and others requiring a bit more skill.
There are a few downsides to the book - one being the amount of calories that you will consume having made the goodies featured! Seriously though I have found a few recipes just haven't worked for me unfortunately. It is also worth noting that some of the recipes produce far too much and so it is worth halving the quantities - the chocolate fridge cake bars in particular. Because of the huge quantities required this also means that it is quite expensive to make some of the cakes and biscuits. If you made a full portion of the chocolate fridge cake bars you would need to use a whopping 800g of digestive biscuits! Thankfully high quality ingredients don't matter here, but still that is a huge amount to use in one recipe! This is not just the case with this recipe, the Mississippi Mud Pie requires that you use 6 eggs, with the frosted brownie requiring 5. As you can see, these aren't bakes to make on a budget...
Having said that it is a good book and there is something for everyone in it. I can only give this book 4/5 stars though due to the expensive of making the recipes and the fact that not all of them have worked for me.
Currently available from Amazon for £10.87 (as at 14/05/13).
I've had 'the hummingbird bakery cookbook' for a couple of years now. I received it as a Christmas gift from a friend that knows how much I love to bake. I have the hardback copy and the full retail price of this is £16.99. The hummingbird bakery cookbook was first published in 2009, and it's written by Tarek Malouf, the founder/owner of The Hummingbird Bakery in London.
It's a gorgeous hardback book full of, as the title would suggest, baked goods. The book is very beautifully presented and is lovely to just leaf through and browse. Each double page spread contains the recipe on one page and a full page colour photograph of the finished item on the other page. I always prefer to buy cookbooks that have photographs accompanying the recipes, especially baking books, so that I can see what the finished result is supposed to look like.
The hummingbird bakery cookbook has a definite 'American' theme to it, it's chock full of desserts, cupcakes and baked goodies that wouldn't look out of place on an American diner menu.
The book is divided into six sections; cupcakes, cakes, pies, brownies & bars, muffins, and cookies.
This section has cupcake recipes such as; vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, lemon, strawberry cheesecake, black bottom, lavender, hazelnut & chocolate, coconut & pineapple, banana & chocolate, green tea, peaches & cream, pumpkin, marshmallow and ginger.
My favourite cupcakes in this section are; the red velvet - one of the nicest red velvet recipes that I've tried, however I do change the frosting to be purely a cream cheese frosting rather than the buttery cream cheese frosting advised in the book.
The black bottom - these are dark chocolate sponge cupcakes with a dollop of cheesecake baked into them, absolutely delicious, they are topped in the book with a buttery cheesecake frosting, but I don't actually think that these need any frosting at all, they are perfect just as they are.
And the pumpkin - I love these, probably because I absolutely adore pumpkin, however I do think that these might just be my favourite cupcakes in the book, they are kind of sweet, yet kind of spicy at the same time, and they are very rich, yet very moreish. Once again I do change the frosting on these, the recipe advises a buttery cream cheese frosting, I use either a purely cream cheese based frosting, or more often than not I actually just simply top these with melted chocolate which I think goes really well with the sweet and spicy cupcake underneath, it doesn't overpower it which can sometimes happen with frostings, it just compliments it.
This section has recipes such as; hummingbird cake, carrot cake, coconut meringue cake, brooklyn blackout cake, lemon & poppy seed cake, blueberry cake, coffee cake, spiced pound cake, buttermilk pound loaf, banana loaf, nutty apple loaf, lemon loaf, new york cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake and fridge set banana cheesecake.
My favourite cakes in this section are; the spiced pound cake - this is not sweet at all, it contains a whole host of flavourings and spices; vanilla extract, lemon extract, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground nutmeg, and it makes a really tasty and different cake. The buttermilk pound cake - this is moist and buttery, and again not too sweet. And the banana loaf - this is really moist and rich and delicious and heady with the banana, it's sweet but it's not sugary sweet, it's banana'y sweet if that makes sense!
This section has pie recipes such as; lemon meringue, pecan, key lime, pumpkin, mississippi mud, banana cream, apple and blueberry.
My favourite pies in this section are; the pumpkin - I adore pumpkin pie anyway, and this is one of the nicest recipes that I've tried. And the banana cream - this recipe calls for you to make your own custard, I don't do this I use Bird's custard instead and it still works out perfectly.
Brownies and bars:
This section has recipes such as; traditional brownies, frosted brownies, raspberry cheesecake brownies, blondies, chocolate fridge cake bars, muesli bars, lemon bars and rocky road bars.
This section contains my absolute favourite recipe from the book - the raspberry cheesecake brownies.
These are triple layer brownies; a slim layer of chocolatey brownie on the bottom, topped with a slim layer of cheesecake, and then finally covered with a thin layer of raspberry whipped cream, decorated with fresh raspberries. OMG is all I can say, wow, wow, wow, delicious doesn't even come close to covering it! They do take a while to make, and they are quite fiddly, but the instructions are clear and precise, and so you can't really go wrong. I've also made these with either fresh strawberries or fresh blueberries when I haven't been able to get fresh raspberries and they've worked out perfectly both ways. I suspect that any fresh berries would work in these.
My other favourite recipes in this section are; the traditional brownies - these are chewy, chocolatey and dense just like a good brownie should be, and they don't contain nuts which I like as I hate nuts. And the rocky road bars - these are super quick and easy to make as they are no bake, and you can use any of your favourite chocolate bars in these, I typically use marshmallows, maltesers, double deckers, milky ways and caramacs in mine.
This section has muffin recipes such as; ham & mushroom, carrot & courgette, spinach & cheese, chocolate, blueberry, banana & cinnamon and maple & pecan.
I like the wide selection of both savoury and sweet muffins in this section.
My favourite savoury muffins are; the ham & mushroom - these are perfect when still slightly warm as a breakfast treat. And the carrot & courgette - I actually really dislike courgettes, but for some reason really love these muffins, I actually take a couple of these for my lunch at work occasionally.
My favouite sweet muffins are; the chocolate - I vary these by adding either white, milk or dark chocolate chips to them depending what's in my cupboard. And the blueberry - these always work perfectly and taste absolutely delicious, I've tried blueberry muffin recipes in the past that have been just plain nasty.
This section has cookie recipes such as; double chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut butter, white chocolate & pecan nut, oat & raisin, sugar cookies and gingerbread men.
My favourite cookies in this section are; the double chocolate - these are quick and easy to make and absolutely delicious, rich and indulgent and chocolatey, and soft and chewy and studded with large chocolate chunks, yum! you can make these cookies as big or as small as you want - just adapt the baking time accordingly. And the gingerbread men - these take a little more time to make but they are worth the extra effort, especially if you actually use a gingerbread man cutter and then take the time to decorate each one with chocolate (or icing) eyes, mouth, buttons etc.
All of the recipes that I've tried, which is probably about 75%, have all been easy to follow, have turned out perfectly, and more importantly have been delicious. I do use the hummingbird bakery cookbook quite a lot, as the recipes are generally quick and easy to make and always go down well.
The only slight gripe that I have with the book is regarding quantities. At the start of the book it does state that all of the recipes were baked using American style cupcake or muffin cases, which are larger than standard UK cupcake or muffin cases, and so for recipes yielding a dozen you will end up making approximately 18 if you use the standard UK cases. I have no real issue with this as they do give the warning, but sometimes I would be happier to halve the recipe in that case and end up with maybe 9 or 10 cupcakes or muffins, however a lot of the cupcake recipes and most of the muffin recipes contain 1 egg so it's not really possible to halve the recipe.
I'd definitely recommend this book, either for yourself, or as a gift for someone that likes to bake.
If you have ever had one of their delicious cakes you will certainly want to recreate the experience in your own home. Even Gwyneth Paltrow gives them her seal of approval.
The recipes in the book are easy to follow even for am amateur baker such as myself. The instructions are very clear and broken down into easy to follow steps. A word of warning however as the muffin and cupcake recipes are for American size baking trays and these are bigger than UK ones. You may also want to reduce the temperature a bit if you have a fan assisted oven.
The book is divided into different chapters depending on what type of cake you want to make eg cupcakes, cakes, pies, brownies,muffins and cookies,
Each recipe has a photo so you have a good idea of what your finished product should look like which is a nice touch. One of my favourite cupcake recipes is the black bottom which is a chocolate sponge with vanilla cheesecake. Mine don't look as good as the shop ones but taste lovely.
As I tend to bake for lunch boxes I tend to avoid pies and large cakes. Although if anything is going to encourage to buy some large cake tins it is this book. The brownies recipe are great however but very additive. My tip is after baking the brownies trim the sides before cutting so they look more professional. Keep the trimmings however to eat warm with ice cream. Yummy. They are however full of sugar and butter so keep them for treats and not everyday snacks.
You could be forgiven for thinking all the recipes are for those with a sweet tooth however they are not all sweet and my husband is particularly fond of the cheese and spinach muffins which are great for lunch boxes .I like the banana and cinnamon ones to use up old bananas as I often have a forgotten one or two in the fruit bowl.
The cookies have traditional biscuits such as gingerbread men which are fun to make if you have children as they can be entertained decorating them. The tubes of writing icing you can buy in most supermarkets are useful here. I like my peanut butter so find when I make the peanut butter cookies they disappear quickly.
Overall I think this is a good book for those who like to bake although experienced bakers may find some of the recipes perhaps a bit too basic. It is available for around the £10 mark so is a reasonable price. The instructions are easy to follow and having a photo helps. A word of caution to those with nut allergies as quite a few of the recipes contain nuts so may be worthwhile having a flick through the book to see if it is a worthwhile purchase for them. Four stars from me as I think they could put in temperature for a fan oven but apart from that a good book. For what it's worth I tend to use a temperature 20c less in my fan oven and this seems to work well
I impulse bought this book a couple of years ago when I first saw it in Waterstones. I love books about baking and having quickly flicked through the pages, I knew I just had to take it home with me.
The fact that my copy is now well worn and stained with chocolate, coffee and various other ingredients is a testament of how good it is and how much I have used it.
The hardest decision you might face is what to try first. My first attempt was the Banana and cinnamon muffins on p 125. The ingredients were clearly laid out, the recipe was easy to follow and (a particular favourite of mine) every recipe enjoys a full size picture. Mine were almost as beautiful as the ones in the book and tasted divine.
These were followed by many other delightful treats: the red velvet cupcakes, the strawberry cheesecake cupcakes (a triumph), the pecan pie, the blondies etc...
All these were straightforward to make and turned out just perfect!
However, my very very favourite recipe in this book, the one I have now adopted is the CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES p 131. I have made many a chocolate chip cookie in my life and these are by far the most palatable chewy, gooey cookie you could dream off. Best eaten warm about 5 minutes after you take them out of the oven, I have yet to meet somebody who does not ask me for "my" recipe.
Overall, a fantastic book which includes some classic bakes and some more original concoctions with some stunning photographs. This book is now £11.00 on Amazon, really great value.
PS: On a recent visit to London, my daughter and I visited the Hummingbird Bakery in South Kensington and despite the very expensive price-tag we just had to try some (quite a few actually) of their offerings. Needless to say they were delicious and we fell in love with the little boxes they put the cupcakes in, almost like mini chinese take-away boxes! However, I was very pleasantly surprised when I realized that our homemade cakes were as good as the ones in shop, for a fraction of the cost!
Having been to one of the Hummingbird cake shops in London quite a few times, I decided to purchase the book to see if I could recreate any of the recipes. Anyone who has walked into one of these shops will probably have noticed just how expensive the cakes are for what they're worth. I go in occasionally with friends, or if I want a treat, but I even roll my eyes at the price of the postcards and candles! For instance, a 6" diameter cake (Red Velvet) is about £27...!
The book itself cost about the same as a standard visit to the cake shop for me so I decided I'd be better off buying it. The front cover looks very cute with the classic pink hummingbird at the front and a variety of cakes. The book is only 144 pages long, but does contain a nice array of recipes.
I was a little hesitant about purchasing since I'd read some reviews questioning the quality of the recipes. A few memorable reviews that I'd read said that the timing for several of the recipes they'd made was off by quite a lot and they had to just adjust it. The reviewers were all people that baked quite often, and since I'd never made a cake in my life, I didn't know if it was for me.
The index is available for viewing on the book's amazon page, so I'd recommend taking a look to see if there is anything you like the sound of before buying. Personally I've made the red velvet cake (one of the bestselling cakes there) and the raspberry cheesecake brownie, which was super rich and tasty. The cakes are exceptionally sweet; one glance at the recipe and you'll see that they're packed with sugar. Personally I maintain a healthy diet, so these cakes are a one-off treat for me. I'm not a experienced baker by any means, but I would have imagined that you could adapt each recipe to your own liking.
The photography is just gorgeous and makes you dream about making all the different cakes on show. I've found myself looking at recipes that I wouldn't necessarily have gone for since the pictures sell the recipe so well! There is also information at the start with recipes for the basics such as their frosting. They have recipes for cupcakes, muffins, pies, brownies, cakes, cookies, and cheesecakes. I think I'll attempt the cookies next time! Hope this review helped!
My boyfriend bought this book for me as i adore baking. It's truly so much fun for me. The book is a beauty, filled with recipes and pictures of things you could create. It's one of those books that will make you think you can bake even if your no good at it, and it's written in such a way that when you try you will produce something that tastes wonderful. The recipes are simple and easy to follow. One of their benefits being that they provide many different measurements for the same ingredient e.g. 300grams of flour or 3 cups of flour.
I do think that you will need to practice at the recipes before you manage to create something that looks like the pictures, but because the taste is there it doesn't really matter.
The hummingbird bakery themselves produce amazing cakes, brownies, cupcakes and pies. Although expensive a trip on a visit to London is well worth the cost and i think its amazing that they have allowed their customers to recreate such lovely food at home. The book is a bargin at under £10 on amazon and is now my go to when i need to make something yummy. Next on my list; black bottom cupcakes 
I was given this book for Christmas by a friend who knows how much I like baking. I have to say I would never have bought this book, but I dutifully tried some of the recipes.
The book itself is beautiful, the photos are stunning and the layout is great.
I'll start with the cupcakes as they are first in the book. The recipes all seem to work well, but they do make much more cupcakes than they state. I would say the recipes are correct but when filling your cupcake papers just use your brain and only fill them 2/3 of the way up to allow for rising and just make more cupcakes....mmm yummy cupcakes. The vanilla ones are lovely but my two favourites the red velvet cupcakes and the chocolate cupackes that are made using a devil's food cake recipe. I also liked the spicy ginger cupcakes, but they might not be to everyones taste. There are 15 different cupcake recipes to try and I'm slowly working my way through them. I particularly like the frosting recipes at the beginning of this section as it is much lighter than butter cream icing and goes a lot further.
The next section in the book is the cake section, so far I have made the hummingbird cake, which is like a carrot cake but made with banana and pineapple and is to die for. I then made the carrot cake and that was even better. I then went all adventurous and combined the two and made a carrot and pineapple cake and even that was yummy. I've had a go at their Brooklyn Blackout Cake (a very rich chocolate cake) and that was good, but not as good as the other three. There are a few loaf cake recipes too and my fav is the nutty apple loaf, which never lasts very long in our house.
I haven't tried making many of the other recipes as i haven't had time, but there is a whole section on pies which I can't wait to try.
I have made the blondies which are in the next section, entitled brownies, and they went down a bit too well.
Just to round the book off is a section with muffin recipes and one with cookies, which again all look yummy.
In fact writing this review is making me really hungry. I couldn't recommend this book hghly enough, I love it and if you like making sweet treats give this bad boy a go!
The hummingbird bakery cookbook has proven to be an excellent buy in our home. It has given my other half the confidence to make some splendid cakes and really develop her cooking and baking skills beyond her previous limits.
The Hummingbird Bakery is a famous bakery in London which has been wowing customers for years, when you open the book and review the photographs of some of the stunning cake recipes on offer, you can fully understand why.
This book is one of the best regarding baking and more specifically cupcakes that we have found, it offers delicious recipes but also doesn't make them too complicated which is a godsend really. We've eaten in the shop and while £30 for a dozen is a tad pricey, the quality of their cakes is top class, therefore we knew we were getting a book by somebody who knew what they were writing when the time came to buy this.
The book is nicely presented, the front cover is really nice with the beautiful selection of cupcakes, there are over 60 in total, all are beautifully presented and range from a lovely range of simple to complicated cupcakes through to more complicated, layered cakes, we've not been able to make too many yet, as being honest, they are reasonably complicated for novice bakers, but they do look awesome.
The book cost us £8.99 in Amazon and while we haven't got too much use out of it, this is as much a confidence thing as anything else, the book lacks in volume but really makes up for it in style, its a really trendy book with awesome photos and lovely graphics, sadly the content just doesn't quite match it, I would say this is much like the bakery, it looks great and when you do try things they are beautiful and look awesome, but it is expensive for what it is and there are cheaper alternatives on the market which still allow you to bake at cheaper prices.
I would add that since starting this review, we gave it another chance and made the Mississippi Mudpie and it was sublime, our friends thought it was bought, therefore i'm going to move this up to a 4 out of 5. Top Quality, I think with patience and more confidence we will get more out of this book.
I'm a big collector of cookbooks. Anything to do with baking or cupcakes and im sold. When I seen this on amazon just before christmas I knew I had to have it.
The books is a delight to look at, stunning pictures of cakes to die for.... perfect cupcakes like those seen in the foodcourt at harrods, beautiful cakes.... all so yummy looking.
I'll start with the good... I made a 3 tier carrot cake from the book... it was THE best carrot cake I've ever eaten. So moist and just the right balance of sweetness. Better than anything in the shops. I was a little concerned when I took the cakes out of the tins, they looked rather flat. But upon icing and refrigerating they were wonderful.
Spurred on by my success. I thought id make some cupcakes and some brownies. This is where things took a severe turn for the worse. The recipes just didnt really work, since I bake a fair bit, I managed to get both of them kind of work, but not without difficulty. THe cupcakes require the ingredients to be creamed together but there is simply not enough liquid to do this, anyone inexperienced would have gave up immediately. Admittedly upon perseverence I did form a batter from them.
The cupcakes overflowed from their moulds in the oven despite me hardly filling the muffin cases. And the brownie never set. I'm told by a chef friend of mine, that the difficulties in the recipes are due to the lack of consideration when converting industrial recipes into ones for 12 cupcakes. The ratio of ingredients needs to change, when making say 100 cupcakes, to making 10.
Eventually I tweaked the recipe, more milk, less baking powder, and managed to get an amazing cupcake. but it disheartens me a little that nobody writing the book bothered to test these recipes fully.. YES they make a cupcake if followed, but nothing like what they should be. I've been to the hummingbird bakery, and I assure you they'd be out of business if they sold cupcakes like those I made following their recipe.
Overall the book is stunning to look at, and well worth its price for the carrot cake recipe alone. But PLEASE dont try and use the cupcake recipe to make cakes with your kids, its faar too much tamepring.
I am an avid baker...especially of cupcakes! I know cupcakes are probably a fad that will pass but in an ideal world I would love love love to own a cupcake shop and sell my homemade cupcakes to the world...a girl can dream :-)
I got this book from Amazon a couple of years back, the retail price on the cover is £16.99 but in can be purchased (at present) from Amazon for £9.11. The book is hardback and is full of mouthwatering photos of fabulous cakes.
This book doesn't just contain cupcake recipes (though for me this is what the Hummingbird Bakery is famous for); it contains recipes for general cakes, pies, brownies, muffins and cookies.
The first part of the book is about cupcakes and gives three different frosting recipes which are used for all of the cupcakes. They are very easy to make and I have found that the frosting tastes delicious and is light, and I always find it easy to pipe on to the top of my cupcakes. I have made several of the cupcake recipes: vanilla, strawberry cheesecake, pumpkin, marshmellow and chocolate. I find them easy to make and differ from other sponge recipes as they tend to use milk in the sponge batter. The cake is always light to eat and I have had many many comments of how excellent they taste. (I am not a huge fan of my own cooking...after all that work it never tastes that good!)
I have found that although the recipes say they make 12 cupcakes, I am lucky to get 8-10 from the mixture- I don't think I am over generous when filling the cake cases so I don't think its a problem there.
I have to say I haven't made any of the cakes/brownies/muffins or cookies- though if they look like their photos do I am sure they will taste out of this world! One of the next things on my must bake list is the raspberry cheesecake brownie, which consists of a chocolate brownie base, a cream cheesecake middle and a strawberry topping. It looks absolutely divine, but does need quite a few ingredients :-(
I think overall the book is good, there is a good selection of recipes and it is not just about cupcakes. The recipes are simple and easy to follow and taste great :-)
This book is the first gourmet baking book I bought, and it remains my favourite. Inside, it is full of all kinds of tempting recipes with beautiful photographs, it is really a joy to cook from.
There are several sections; starting with cupcakes, which is the section i bought the book for! I've tried most of the recipes in this section, but my favourite would be the lemon ones, the addition of a lemon curd centre makes them more fun than the average lemon cupcake. Be aware, that these 'cupcakes' are the 'equivalent' of UK muffin size, making them quite big, but that's not problem, right? In fact, they are better to be baked at this size as you end up with a better cake to frosting ratio.
Next up comes comes a section on cakes and the chocolate/hazelnut one is amazing! Have had a great response to this recipe every time I've made it.
However, my absolute favourite recipe in this book is for Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies. These are seriously to die for! I have made them numerous times and it's the kind of thing you can make for dessert or equally for a tea and coffee morning. These brownies will make you new friends.
There are other sections, including cookies and muffins, but I have yet to bake anything from these as I've been too busy stuffing my face with cupcakes.
A couple of extra points:
These recipes mostly call for plain flour and baking powder. A couple of my tries came out quite flat, but I believe this was down to having very old baking powder, which can go 'off'. It was rectified by simply buying new powder.
Also, it assumes you have a food processor/stand mixer to make these recipes. I don't, so had to do a lot more mixing! Definitely worth the extra effort though.
Being a keen baker in my spare time, and somewhat of a novice, I'm always on the look out for new books to add to my collection. I'm generally always drawn to the books that include deliciously pretty looking images, as I'm a sucker for professional food photographs! I'd never heard of the 'Hummingbird Bakery' before, and so when I spotted this book on the shelves of my local library, I just need that I needed to get it out on loan and coo over it for hours!
"The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" is available to purchase in all good book stores and online. I've seen it stocked in WHSmiths, Waterstones and in the book aisles of Asda and Tesco. "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" is stocked online too, with amazon.co.uk being your best bet for picking up a bargain price on this book.
The RRP on "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" is £16.99, which is pretty pricey for a book of this size. However, you can pick the book up for much cheaper in various stores and online. Amazon.co.uk currently has the book available for purchase at the price of £8.61, which is a bargain price if you ask me for such a wonderful book.
"The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" has been devised and written by Tarek Malouf, and the recipes are 'make at home' versions of the very products they sell in their London stores. The first Hummingbird Bakery store opened on Portobello Road, London, in 2004, and since then two more Hummingbird Bakery stores have popped up in South Kensington (2007) and Soho (2009). In 2009 "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" was published. Having sold over 300,000 copies worldwide, it was one of amazon.co.uk's top 10 bestsellers for 2009!
The front cover of the book looks wonderfully girly and attractive - sorry guys, this book probably won't appeal to you just by looking at the front cover (and the insides are much the same..). At the top of the cover is the name of the bakery featuring their amous hummingbird logo. The main photograph on the cover is that of a cake stand upon which an array of delicious looking baked treats sit. Cupcakes, brownies and cake slices are all featured to tempt you into taking a peep inside. At the bottom of the cover there is a list of items which are featured inside the book, and above this there is a quote from famous customer Gwyneth Paltrow. The cover was enough to make me snatch this book of the shelf, with its pretty pink, chocolate brown and cream colourscheme and its delicious photograph on the cover. Oh boy, this book tells you from the cover that the inside is going to be a mine of joy!
The book itself is divided into different sections within, making it easier to find the recipe for the specific type of baked good you're after. Each section hosts a multitude of wonderful recipes which are all accompanied by mouthwateringly tempting photographs.
The first section is entitled 'Frostings'. This section has three very easy to follow recipes to use any which way you fancy, on any cake that you make. These frosting recipe are quite literally the icing on the cake (yes, that was a pun!) and are use throughout the book in conjunction with the baked goods recipes.
The recipes listed under 'Frostings' are:
The second section of the book houses recipes for one of the most popular baked goods out there - cupcakes. We're not talking those minature fairy cakes splodged with terribly awkward and thin water and icing sugar mix. Oh no! We're talking big and moreish, familiar and obscure. We're talking frosting topped and sprinkled with all manner of deliciousness. Cupcakes are the way forward! Oh yes!
The recipes listed under 'Cupcakes' are:
Hazelnut and Chocolate
Banana and Chocolate
Peaches and Cream
The third section of the book is for all those that feel brave enough to tackle a whole cake. In most bakery books you get the regular basic vanilla and chocolate sponges, but "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" offers readers that little something exta special to have a crack at making. Not only does this section offer many different cakes of the spongey variety, but it also offers a whole host of cheesecake options. The recipes in this section all sound (and look) absolutely delicious, and there's enough to keep you busy baking (and munching!) for quite some time!
The recipes listed under 'Cakes' are:
Lemon and Poppyseed
Nutty Apple Loaf
New York Cheesecake
Fridge-set Banana Cheesecake
The fourth section in "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" is for all those out there that prefer pie to cake (how dare you!). The pie section firstly teaches you how to make a basic pie crust, then goes on to show you how to make a whole host of delicious old favourites and new pies to try. I really need to get my butt in gear and try making the lemon meringue pie from this section as it looks absolutely delicious (and I'm a lemon meringue fan..oh yessss!).
The recipes listed under 'Pies' are:
Basic Pie Crust
"The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook"s fifth section is based around brownies and bars. From the traditional chocolatey brownie, to the breakfast favourite of museli bars, this section will give you everything you need to bake up a whole batch of snacks to keep yourself, and your friends/family quiet and satisfied for some time!
The recipes listed under 'Brownies and Bars' are:
Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
Chocolate Fridge Cake Bars
Rocky Road Bars
Muffins not only make a great breakfast, but also a great snack. "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" has a whole host of muffin recipes to have a crack at. Have you ever thought about trying a savoury muffin? I hadn't, until I saw the recipes in this book. Spinach and cheese is definitely on my 'to try' list!
The recipes listed under 'Muffins' are:
Ham and Mushroom
Carrot and Courgette
Spinach and Cheese
Banana and Cinnamon
Maple and Pecan
The final section of the book is probably one that we're all familiary with to eat, but not to make at home. Purchasing ready made cookies from the supermarket is ridiculously easy these days, and passing them off as your own is a complete sin! This section of the book will provide you with a delicious array of recipes to make your very own home made yummy cookies and biscuits.
The recipes listed under 'Cookies' are:
White Chocolate and Pecan Nut
Oat and Raisin
The photographs inside the book are simply to die for. Who doesn't want to see a generously frosted cupcake covered in sprinkles? Or a chunky cream topped brownie with a bite out of it? Come on! The photographs for this book have been shot by Peter Cassidy, one of Europe's most talented photographers that specialises in food and travel photography. His work appears in many well known magazines such as Country Living, Olive, Sainsbury's Magazine, She and Delicious. He has also shot the photographs for many other cook books. It's clear to see from the photographs inside the book that they are professional, and they act as an aid as to what your finished product 'should' look like - but don't worry too much if it doesn't, it's those personal touches we all add that make our bakery creations our own!
The recipes themselves are well layed out and easy to read, using clear english language and is free from difficult words and cooking terms that only ever confuse and befuddle you more in your hour of panic and frustration whilst baking. Ingredients are clearly listed, stating measurements in grams (where necessary) or single measures ie) 2 eggs. I've found all the ingredients needed in these recipes are well known products that you can pick up in your local supermarket - no wierd and hard to find ingredients here! The recipes give step by step instructions and give good detail in each step. Recipes even give approximate times for beating ingredients, so you won't feel lost and alone once you start your baking journey like you can do with other recipe books. I found the recipes a breeze to use and all baked goods created from this recipe book have been a triumph!
The book contains 144 glossy pages of deliciousness complete with great recipes and even greater photographs. The book itself is pure eyecandy, with its cream, chocolate and soft baby pink colourscheme throughout. The photographs are clear and attractive, and can be used as a guide to see what your recipe outcome should look like when finished. The layout of the book makes it easy to find the specific recipe you're looking for, and the selection of recipes within this book are vast and superbly diverse.
In my opinion, this book is fantastic. It's everything I could ask for in a recipe book - delicious photographs to accompany every recipe, easy to follow step-by-step instructions and a good variety and selection of different treats to make. "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" is definitely one for anybody out there that enjoys getting creative in the kitchen, whether they're a complete novice, or a pro. The photographs are spectacular and the descriptions of each item is enough to get your tastebuds tingling and your feet hopping to the kitchen to check if you have enough supplies. After taking this book out on loan for way too long, I now plan to take the leap and purchase it for myself, as I do believe this is a worthwhile purchase and will be used a ridiculous amounts of time in the future. I have tried and tested many of the recipes from inside the book, and still have many more to try my hand at, and every experience this book has given me has been a joy! I'd recommend "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" to anyone that loves food, baking, sweet treats or just some damn delicious looking photographs of baked goods haha!
Useful product info:
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd (15 April 2009)
Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 19.6 x 1.8 cm
** Also posted on Ciao under the username little_feets88 **
Baking is one of my favourite activities, possibly because it allows me to indulge my passion for cakes with a little less guilt having baked them myself and also because friends and family are always appreciative of my efforts in the kitchen. My previous baking 'bible' was Nigella's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' which I have cooked from for years, but I was happy to receive 'The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook' as a Christmas gift. I had seen the book in the shop and been intrigued by it, especially by the gorgeous cupcakes on the front cover, but thought it would be a bit too indulgent to purchase it for myself so added it to my Amazon wish list and hoped!
The cover of the book has a photograph of the cupcakes that the Hummingbird Bakery in South Kensington is most famous for, along with a brownie and slice of chocolate cake. This leaves you in no doubt that this a cook book that is not likely to have a positive effect on your calorie intake! Inside, the book is divided into chapters dedicated to different types of baking.
The first chapter, perhaps unsurprisingly, is completely dedicated to different types of cupcake in a variety of flavours. The flavours include tradional ones such Vanilla, Chocolate and Lemon, alongside more unusual ones like Red Velvet with cream-cheese frosting, Green Tea, Peaches and Cream and Marshmellow. I have baked a few of the cupcake recipes so far and all have been delicious and well-received by the willing testers amongst my family and friends. Favourites are the Chocolate and Hazelnut ones which contain a dollop of Nutella for an irresistibly gooey centre and the light, fluffy and simply delicious Lemon ones.
The second chapter focuses on large cakes. Recipes include the Hummingbird Bakery's signature cake which contains bananas, pineapple and pecan nuts, a classic Carrot Cake, a Brooklyn Blackout cake which looks amazing, various types of loaf cake and some cheesecakes. I actually haven't cooked much from this section yet but can highly recommend the delicious Banana loaf as a way of using up bananas which are going soft - it is also a good recipe to cook with children as my son adores mashing up the bananas!
Chapter Three focuses on Pies including Lemon Meringue Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie and Key Lime Pie. Having never successfully managed to make any type of pie apart from tiny mince pies in my life, I have still not been brave enough to attempt anything from this chapter but one day I hope to conquer my pie phobia and have a go.
Chapter Four is entitled Brownies and Bars. This includes recipes for traditional brownies, frosted brownies, raspberry cheesecake brownies, chocolate fridge cake bars, lemon bars and rocky road bars. From this section, I can recommend the brownies which is a simple recipe with delicious results - I'm not sure it quite comes up to the standard of Nigella's brownies which I make all the time, but they are still very tasty. I have also made the Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies, a triple layered concoction featuring a brownie base, a cheesecake centre and a fresh raspberry cream topping - it looked stunning but was slightly over-sweet and sickly for my liking.
The final two chapters are entitled Muffins and Cookies. There are both sweet and savoury muffin recipes including Ham and Mushroom and Carrot and Courgette, alongside the more conventional Blueberry and Chocolate flavours. The cookies include Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter. I have only made the chocolate chip ones so far which were very tasty but merged on to the baking tray to become one enormous cookie - this always happens when I attempt cookies! Edited to add that I have now made the chocolate muffins and they are delicious!
The only issue that I have with the book is that the quantities don't always seem right - they claim to make 12 cupcakes but a lot of the time I end up with only seven or eight. This could be down to the size of the cupcake cases I'm using, but it never seems to be quite enough. Obviously you can get round this by doubling up on the ingredients but if you don't know that to start off with it can be very frustrating. Also, some of the cupcakes are a bit too light and fluffy - delicious though the chocolate and hazelnut ones are, they have a tendency to collapse when you hollow out the centre to spoon the Nutella in. The other quantity control issue is with the amount of frosting that it makes - whereas you don't get enough cupcakes, you get more than enough frosting to ice them all twice over!
This book costs £16.00 full-price but is currently available for £8.49 on Amazon.
Overall, the book looks great with beautiful photographs almost guaranteed to tantalise your tastebuds and inspire you to bake the delicious treats inside. I love this book and it has rapidly become my new baking bible of choice - there are still so many things that I want to bake from it and I am looking forward to trying out more and more of the recipes inside. It has also inspired a new shopping habit - since getting this book I seem to have acquired a cupcake stand, multiple types of cake cases and a frosting kit! Could be an expensive new habit, both for my purse and my waistline, but everyone needs a sweet treat every now and again.
I have to hold my hands up an admit I have never heard of the Hummingbird bakery in London. I was obviously not in the cool club, because once I bought the book I realised that it was something of a celebrity hangout, as it had a quote from Gwyneth Paltrow on the front saying how she was in heaven in the Hummingbird bakery.
I went round a friends and she had made the gorgeous marshmallow cakes. I asked where she had got the recipe from and she showed me the Hummingbird Bakery Cook book. I was in love as soon as saw the front cover. It was gorgeously quaint and had pictures of four different delightful looking cakes on the front. I also love hummingbirds, their silloettes are gorgeous and very fashionable at the moment.
The book is a hardback and my Mum purchased mine for less than ten pounds from Amazon. It appears to be, and is, a very good quality cook book in terms of value and materials it is made of. It looks gorgeous on any book case or kitchen surface.
There are plenty of recipes to try from in the book. They are very much cake type recipes and not a lot of general puddings, this is fine for me, but I just want others to beware to see what sort of thing they are after.
The book si split into sections, cupcakes, muffins, bars, etc etc which makes the type of cake you want to bake easy to find. There is so much variety in the recipes that I have always found something I wanted to cook from it. I have so far cooked 5 different recipes and each and everyone has been easy to follow and very straight forward and has turned out delicious. I have recommended the book to so many fiends I should be on commision!
I love cooking, and baking in particular is becoming something of a (very fattening) obsession. I received the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook as a Christmas present the year before last, and it's quickly becoming my "go-to" guide for all things cake related. I haven't tried all the recipes yet (given that there must be well over a 100 sugar laden ideas in it, then for the sake of my teeth alone, that's probably no bad thing!). But in respect of the recipes I HAVE tried, all have been a great success (something which owes to the quality of the recipes, rather than any innate ability on my part- my food-related failure's far outweigh my successes, as my family would be sure to attest).
The presentation of the book is very feminine, with recipes printed on pastel coloured pages and accompanied by very well-photographed photographs of the finished product. Some cookbooks (especially those by "celebrity" chefs) have an annoying tendency to provide as many, and sometimes more, photographs of the writer as of the food itself- thankfully, this isn't the case in this instance - all we get are pages and pages of delicious looking goodies.
The book begins with a well-written piece on the background to the Hummingbird Bakery (the cafe from which the recipes are inspired), and then proceeds to the recipes, all of which are divided into their appropriate sub-sections: Cupcakes, Cakes, Pies, Brownies, Muffins and Cookies. Each recipe is accompanied by a small introduction, some of which include a handy hint specific to that recipe, others of which simply introduce a little of the background to the cake or brownie in question.
The recipes themselves are thoughtfully written and thorough - of those that I've tried, the instructions have been clear, concise, and appropriate for any level of cook, even the most basic. Personal favourites so far include the lemon loaf - a moist, tangy cake, the sweetness of which is well balanced by the sharpness of a lemon syrup; and the nutty apple loaf - a very rich loaf cake with an almost brownie-like texture.
There are plenty of recipes to choose from, and enough variety to keep most cooks entertained for a long time.
Not A Problem But.....,
The one thing which seems, if not to let the book down then a little out of place, is the Muffin Section. In a book that consists of 99% sugar, the inclusion of several savory recipes (ham and mushroom, carrot and courgette etc) seems slighlty incongongrous. They add variety, undoubtely, but are, in my opinon at least, not completely neccesary, adding little to the general tone of the book.
The last point is a very minor niggle, and proberbly just an example of me being overly picky. All in all, the book is an excellent example of its kind, and one that I would thoughly recommend to any one with even the slightest interst in baking.