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try the raspberry cheesecake brownies - you'll thank me!
The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook - Tarek Malouf
Member Name: europe-chick
The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook - Tarek Malouf
Advantages: delicious recipes, quick and easy to make
Disadvantages: maybe only that it's difficult to halve a lot of the recipes
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.
Summary: try the raspberry cheesecake brownies - you'll thank me!