Hummingbird Bakery lemon cupcake recipe review

Lemon cupcakes with lemon frostingLast week for the Cupcake Break cake swapping party, I made lemon cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book. I did tweak the recipe for a number of practical reasons and so I thought I’d share my experiences.  First up the recipe says to use 2 tablespoons of grazed lemon zest. In my experience, that’s a hell of a lot of lemon zest! After grating 3 lemons, I decided that had to be enough! It wasn’t two tablespoons worth but when I tasted the mixture it tasted very lemony indeed.  Next up, I thought it a bit odd to have a lemon cupcake recipe without any lemon juice in it. Not to mention it being a bit wasteful having lemons with no zest and no use for the juice. So instead of using whole milk in the recipe I replaced half of the quantity with lemon juice.  For the frosting, the first common sense thing to note is that if you put icing sugar and butter in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer, regardless of speed, the icing sugar will go everywhere! For this reason I added some of the liquid at the same time as mixing the butter and icing sugar to avoid this.  Again, instead of using whole milk, I replaced this with lemon juice. I find that the recipe makes 9 cupcakes so I do a double quantity of the recipe.  Also I find that you only need to do one quantity of frosting (250g of icing sugar) to ice 18 cupcakes. I didn’t put any lemon zest in the frosting as this would be total overkill.  Lemon juice did the trick nicely instead.

To summarize the tweaks I made (taking into account the double quantities):

Sponge

  • zezt of 3 lemons
  • 120ml lemon juice
  • 120ml semi skimmed milk

Frosting

  • 25ml lemon juice rather than milk
  • No lemon zest

The verdict? I had quite a few taste testers at the cake swapping party and there were lots of yums and ooos.  I take this to be positive feedback. I also made a batch of these for my flatmate’s birthday last weekend and my cake connoisseurs thought the sponge was very moist and the icing lovely and lemony. Here’s to a successful tweaked recipe! Let me know how you get on trying the recipe out! Oh and what’s on the cake blog next week? A review of the new afternoon tea at the Wallace Restaurant – will it stack up? You’ll have to wait to find out…

The cake swapping party

Cupcake Break tea partyLast week I was invited by my friend to a cake swapping party to raise money for charity. What a great idea I thought! The party was all part of the Cupcake Break which is an initiative cooked up by the Ovarian Cancer Action charity.  The idea is that we all love cupcakes and cake, so why not raise money whilst we eat cake! It struck me that this cake swapping party was the modern twist on the coffee morning. When I arrived, I was met with a mind boggling display of beautiful cakes and I quickly stuffed in my £5 to the charity pot. My contribution to the table was a batch of Hummingbird Bakery lemon cupcakes (I had tweaked the recipe – more on this later). In return, I sampled at least five different cakes including two firsts: my first ever whoopie pie and my first ever macaroon – yum! I also tucked into chocolate millionaire’s shortbread, some homemade fudge and a delicious chocolate brownie (Nigella). I hasten to add that the cake party was instead of lunch! We all had a fantastic afternoon munching on cakes, exchanging recipe ideas and general gossiping whilst stuffing in more cake.It was a great afternoon and I would encourage more people to host their own cake swapping party and help Ovarian Cancer Action with their great fundraising initiative. Sign up here to get involved!

Primrose Bakery cupcake review

Primrose Bakery vanilla cupcake in foreground, lemon cupcake in backgroundToday I wandered the streets around Primrose Hill and went to the Primrose Bakery cafe on Gloucester Road. I have been to the Covent Garden branch many times but was curious to see the original one and see how they compared. The Primrose Hill one is a little rougher round the edges in the nicest possible of ways.  It is on a very quiet street tucked away. As soon as we walked in the door, my friend noticed that the smell of cupcakes was exactly the same as the Covent Garden one and I agreed. All the tables were taken but we didn’t want to rush our cupcake and get a takeaway so we hung out by the cupcake gifts, Primrose Bakery lemon frosted cupcake with lemon decorationrecipe books and cards. Eventually we landed a table! I chose a lemon cupcake and my friend had the vanilla frosted one with yellow icing and multi-coloured confetti. See here for their range of cupcakes. Mine was delicious – the sponge was a teensy bit dry but there was so much yummy lemony frosting that it all worked out. They have lots of Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar magazines for you to browse over whilst you devour your cupcake slowly.  I loved the daffodils in jugs on the table – added a touch of spring on a cold May day and the place feels homely.  Whenever I go to Primrose Hill, I’ll definitely be making an excuse to detour via Gloucester Road…

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