Friday, 1 November 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes and the Heavenly Hummingbird Bakery

It’s taken me a while to blog about this but at the start of the summer, on a warm and sunny weekend visit to London, my husband and I took a jaunt out to the famed Notting Hill area in search of...
  1. That blue door – don’t pretend you don’t know it ;-) and ...
  2.  The Hummingbird Bakery

Alas, the former was not found, but we did get to visit and purchase a splendiferous cupcake each from the Hummingbird Bakery! Their cupcakes are perfectly formed, just the right size, with a delicious melt in your mouth texture and the most moreish icing toppings. I felt it my duty to go for the red velvet, which the polite and friendly shop assistant told me is their biggest seller. It was cupcake heaven! We sat on a pretty street bench, staring enviously across at one of those seriously appealing private gardens in beautiful Notting Hill, while happily and silently munching away. I have still kept the cute wine coloured box with the little hummingbird motif on it since then! And I have also tried out their recipe, which, though more complicated than a good old queen cake, is certainly delicious and well worth it for a treat. Oh and yes, of course, if you’re a cupcake aficionado, do pay a visit to one of their bakeries when in London!

This recipe is very slightly adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery’s own red velvet recipe…


Cupcakes -
60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
1 tbsp. red velvet food colouring*
½ tsp. vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp. squeezed lemon juice
1 x 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

Icing -
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g cream cheese, cold
Edible red dust (optional)

*The red velvet food colouring is worth looking for. It is far thicker in texture than regular food dye and is available in specialist baking stores. I sourced it at Decobake in County Kildare.


1.       Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
2.       Put the butter and the sugar in an electric mixer or use a hand held whisk and beat on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to high speed, add the egg bit by bit and beat until everything is well incorporated.
3.       In another bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract, which will come together as a thick, dark coloured paste. Add this to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until well combined and coloured deep red. Turn the mixer or whisk down to a slow speed and slowly pour in half of the buttermilk.
4.       Beat well, then add half of the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat the same process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added.
5.       Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed together. Turn the mixer or whisk up to high and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Then, go down to a low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice. Beat the mixture well, then finally turn up the speed one last time and beat for a few more minutes.
6.       Spoon the mixture into the 12 paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the  oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cupcakes to cool a little and then place them out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
7.       To make the icing, beat the icing sugar with the unsalted butter on medium-slow speed until well combined. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer or whisk up to medium-high speed and continue beating until the icing is light and fluffy, for approximately five minutes.
8.       When the cupcakes are cold, the cream cheese icing can be spooned on top, simply or creatively, you decide! Finally, top with the red edible dust, if you have it. 
Cupcakes in the making

My red velvet cupcakes, baked, iced and ready for eating!

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