Amazingly, yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my little blog - goodness knows where the time has gone!
And what better way to celebrate than with a cake or two.
After much deliberating I finally purchased The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook recently (it was only £5 from the Book People mind - it would have been rude not to). I loved their Portobello Road shop when I visited it last year, however their book has had mixed reviews, due to a number of people experiencing recipe failures. Nevertheless I thought I'd give it a chance (incidently, if you do have the book it's worth checking out their Baking Tips page, which includes corrections to a couple of the recipes).
My first selection, Hazelnut and Chocolate cupcakes, turned out very nicely - very rich and chocolatey, just as I'd hoped. I have to say the method for making the cakes was quite unusual - mixing the butter with all of the dry ingredients before adding the egg and milk - but they turned out fine. My only real criticism is that the recipe stated that it would make 12 cupcakes. 12??? Not a chance! I just about stretched it to 8 but really should have kept to 6 as a couple of the cakes weren't big enough. As I had fewer cakes I also scaled back the frosting quantities by two thirds and this gave me just the right amount. You end up with very thickly iced cakes but that's how you'll find them at the HB Bakery.
Here's to the next year!
Hazelnut and Chocolate Cupcakes
(adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
100g/3 1/2 oz plain flour
20g/3/4 oz cocoa powder
140g/5 1/4 oz caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g/1 1/2 oz butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
120g hazelnut and chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
250g/9 oz icing sugar
80g/3 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
25ml whole milk
80g/3 oz hazelnut and chocolate spread
1) Preheat the oven to 170c/325f/gas mark 3
2) Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter into a bowl/free-standing mixer and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
3) Slowly pour the milk into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg and beat well.
4) Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack.
5) When the cupcakes are cold, hollow out a small section in the centre of each one and fill with a dollop of hazelnut and chocolate spread.
For the Frosting
1) Beat the icing sugar and butter together until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
2) Continue to beat the mixture slowly and gradually pour in the milk. When it's all incorporated increase the speed of the mixer and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
3) Stir in the Hazelnut and Chocolate spread by hand until evenly mixed into the frosting. When the cupcakes are cold, spread the frosting on top.
Makes 12 (allegedly!)