Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Hummingbird Bakery

Early January, John found a beautiful apartment (very much a of a clean white beach look) in Southfileds (next to Wimbledon).We packed our bags and moved closer to the city - It is quite the mission moving when you only have access to public transport.We had to make two trips from Woking to Southfields.  I had a week left in the UK so I was trying to get to all the places I hadn't been to before and Notting Hill was first on my list. 
Sitting on the tube, the lady next to me (with a strong South African accent) asked me for directions. She wanted to know where Portobello Road is. I had no idea, but I was going there too! We started chatting about Cape Town and traveling. Both of us got off at Notting Hill Gate and ventured towards the Portobello Road Market. 

Portobello Market in West London is one of the most famous street markets in the world. It is a popular destination for Londoners and tourists alike.  It goes straight through the heart of Notting Hill, the trendy area of London made famous by the film. I was in search of the blue door of the travel bookshop.  As I found the famous "Notting Hill" sign, an old man whispered from behind, "That is not the real door!" "It isn't?", I asked. So he told me the whole story of how much it is worth and that it is actually just around the corner from us. I thanked him and as I was heading towards the renowned door, I stumbled across something more beautiful than blue...a little pink and brown bakery called The Hummingbird Bakery.

In my somewhat vindictive, must-taste-all driven quest to taste any cupcake I come upon, almost every experience has been reaffirming of the fact that I can bake a moist cake.  In most high street bakeries the cake isn't usually worth eating, much less often is it impressive.  But the cupcake I bought at the The Hummingbird Bakery in Portobello Market on a whim was hands down the best cupcake I've ever purchased.  I had the Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting. The cake was wonderfully textured with great flavour.  The frosting had the perfect balance between sweet and acidic, and over all it was a fabulous cake.

I left the bakery feeling very happy. I loved it so much I took John there on the weekend. This time the Bakery was humming and we were queueing outside. We shared a chocolate brownie with a creamy chocolaty frosting, which was also delicious.

I do recommend you pop in for a flat white and a quick sugar fix.

Everyone seems to enjoy Red Velvet Cupcakes covered with lovely swirls of Cream Cheese Frosting. While a year round favorite, their red and white color scheme make them particularly well suited for Christmas or Valentines Day.

Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups castor sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp liquid red food colouring
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar
1/2 tsp bicarb

Cream Cheese Frosting:
227g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
60g icing sugar, sifted
160 ml double cream
A squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 175 C and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake linersIn a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.  Whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.  In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 -23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula, or use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:  Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add the lemon juice and more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.  I decorated the cup cakes with blossoms which I made from Fondant icing!

Happy Baking!

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