13 Apr 2010

The Hummingbird Bakery, Part 1 ( of many to come... )

Posted by PastryPrincess at 22:44
I have uploaded pictures of my first few days! And to make up for not having been able to post anything in a long time, I'm going to treat you to some lovely goodies from the Hummingbird Bakery here in London. Yes, that Hummingbird bakery and if you've been reading my blog you'll know I've already made a few things from their cookbook which I love! I don't want to sound cocky or anything ... but I think my Cheesecake Brownies with Raspberry Cream looked much better then their actual ones in the shop! Seriously now. Must mean I rock, tehehehe. A girl can dream.
Obviously I had planned on paying a visit to THB ever since I was given the cookbook because all their stuff simply looks yummilicious! Then eventually I stumbled upon their Notting Hill shop by coincidence... My flatmate were strolling around Portobello Market on a Saturday afternoon, looking at all the tid-bits around when I spotted something cupcake-y. Anything cupcake-related always catches my eye, d'uh! Imagine my surprise and delight when I realized it was actually THB!
But, what with it being Saturday and all... man, it was busy! People were queueing out of the shop and yes, it's a very small place and the Britsh love to queue up for just about anything but it was impressive nonetheless. I suppose they must have quite a reputation!
Maybe because it was Saturday or because it's one of the smaller shops... I don't know but I was slightly disappointed by the selection. For obvious reasons I had kinda expected to find every single item from the book on display but this was unfortunately not the case... I was told they didn't sell many cakes and none of the pies and you could only order them whole. There were none of the cookies either if I recall correctly but the shop is pretty indeed. Just like the book.
 ( This is actually the one in Soho )
I went for the Red Velvet Cake for 2 reasons. First because I had made it from their recipe and wanted to compare my work to theirs. Secondly because I have never had any Red Velvet Cake besides my own that once and as people always gush about it so much I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I don't think I've to mention I asked for an extra-big slice albeit them already being ginormous, right?!

Then I needed to try, yes needed to, one of their famous cupcakes and I went for a Black Bottom one because it combines 3 things I love: Chocolate, cheesecake and cheesecake frosting - brilliant, especially with choc chips in the cheesecakes!
Another plus is that they wrap up your pastries beautifully. Lovely cake boxes and personalized wrapping paper and stickers, très chic. Very... feminine. I like it.
So, how did I like my first proper Red Velvet cake and how did it compare to mine? Well, first of all I liked the fact that the pieces are massive and basically impossible to eat in one sitting and that coming from someone like me means something! ... ehum ... Did I mention I already have the reputation of being a terrible glutton at school? Yeah, not very lady-like... But that's a different story.
The cake is very ... red. And funnily enough I think it tasted red, too! Would you agree with me? I had made my cake less red and more chocolatey so it actually tasted differently, particularly because I also changed up the frosting. I must admit I prefer their original frosting though. Note to self, stick with the original frosting, they know what they're talking about, ye dope! Well, anyway. The cake also smelt funny. Hmm, kinda... vinegary. Does food colouring make things smell like that, kinda weird? 
I did like the taste though, don't get me wrong but I honestly can't really understand why people go mad for it. Maybe I'd like it even better without the red, even though it looks cool. Just a thought, don't hang me! I mightn't be American enough to go crazy for artificial colour. Bottom line is I liked the cake, bright, moist and all and especially the frosting.

The Black Bottom cupcake was very good. Scrumptious. 
A dark, moist yet airy chocolate batter contrasted by a delicious cheesecake filling which was made even better by adding chocolate chips to it and topped off with lovely white frosting and a few chocolate batter crumbs. 

Oh, goody. I'll definitely have one of those again sometime!
My flatmate tried one of their basic vanilla cupcakes with simple blue frosting and didn't like it too much. I would never choose a plain vanilla one because they're simply too boring for my liking, blue frosting and glitter or not. I did try it though and I must say I wasn't impressed either. She had a point indeed when pointing out that if they're famous for cupcakes they should totally rock at the simple, basic vanilla cupcake. Don't you agree?
A few days later I finished school early and decided to look for THB in Soho as I had been told it would be a bigger shop and I was hoping for a bigger selection. All I wanted was to have a look at their stuff but of course I ended up buying something. Oooyyy. It took quite sometime to find their bleeding shop but when I finally found it I was quickly reconciled because it's just so pretty. 
Aaaand they do actually have a much bigger selection, plus it was during the week and not busy at all so I had a tough choice to make! We all know what a terrible sucker I am when it comes to decisions...
Too bad they didn't have last week's chocolate peanut butter special anymore and the theme for the next 2 weeks was teas. Not my favourite. Still, I settled for a green tea cupcake. Yeah, what's with all that food colouring - again?! Ok, ok, it does make sense... Green tea, green cupcake and it didn't taste of food colouring. The texture of the cupcake was nice but I'm not entirely sure how I felt about the taste of it. I'm not a tea drinker, so I probably don't like green tea. 
Why did I go for a green tea cupcake again? No idea. Because it sounded interesting. Even while I was eating it I wasn't sure whether I liked it or not. Strange things mystifying.... The frosting had got a wee bit dry and wasn't as good as the one on the Black Bottom cupcake. Would I go for a cupcake like that again? Probably not.
The Pumkin Spice Whoopie Pie I bought last Friday on the other hand was delicious. Can somebody tell me why they're called whoopie though?! It was nice, airy and moist with a lovely filling inside and yes, it was big too. Not that I would know how big whoopie pies usually are. This one was another first for me and I really liked it. Basically it's just normal cake batter baked differently and then stuck together with a filling in the middle. Not exactly rocket science but tasty nonetheless. I can't say I tasted pumpkin in particular, it was rather a general christmassy spice flavour. Hopefully they will have other great flavours soon because I find the chocolate and red velvet ones too boring.
Last but not least I indulged onanother massive slice of cake only that this time it was Carrot Cake. Taste of carrot cake it did. Was it the best carrot cake I've ever had? Nope. Was it good? Yep. In the beginning I felt like there were too many walnuts in it but I got used to them pretty quickly and didn't particularly notice them anymore. The frosting was yum-o once again - they just know how to do a nice frosting at THB! Maybe there could have been more actual carrots, you know, seeing as it's a carrot cake. Generally it was a good cake though and I'm really taking a serious liking to those giant American cake pieces! Hehehe.
For now I've to try all the other ( cupcake ) bakeries but I'll be back at THB next week when they've a new cupcake special menu again! I'm becoming they're official tester I guess and all for your sake, people! Tsss, yeah right. ;-)

1 comments on "The Hummingbird Bakery, Part 1 ( of many to come... )"

El on 27 April 2010 at 08:26 said...

Glad your finding lots of delicious sweets in London. Enjoy!

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