The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: September 2014

Sticky Toffee Pudding vs.

Chocolate Orange

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

September 2014 has seen the rivalry of two delicious cupcakes: Sticky Toffee Pudding vs. Chocolate Orange.  One is a rich chocolate sponge topped with a decadent chocolate orange frosting; the other is a fruity and toffee delight.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Sticky Toffee Pudding

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I have to be honest and say that I have never really been a fan of sticky toffee pudding.  However, this cupcake transformed all of my negative feelings towards sticky toffee pudding into thoughts of pure joy.  The date and toffee sponge was rich, fruity, and moist, and was perfectly complimented by the sweet, toffee frosting with a caramel drizzle.  I honestly could have eaten this cake all day long quite happily.  This was the perfect accompaniment for my Caramel Frappucino that I had picked up from Starbucks on my way to the Hummingbird Bakery!

Chocolate Orange

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Hummingbird have transformed their standard chocolate sponge into a festively orange delight to bring in the autumn and winter months with a bang.  The chocolate sponge has a fantastic zesty zing that totally tantalises your tastebuds, and the sweet sugar-coated orange peel is a delicious addition on top of the thick, luxurious chocolate orange frosting.

Nevertheless, whilst chocolate and orange are usually one of my favourite flavour combinations, I could not get over how absolutely fabulous the Sticky Toffee Pudding cupcake was, especially in comparison to my preconceived ideas of what it would taste like.  Therefore, the Sticky Toffee Pudding Special Edition Cupcake is September’s star bake in my Great Hummingbird Bake-Off competition.

The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: July 2014

Black Forest vs. Hummingbird

Cupcake

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

July 2014 has seen the rivalry of two delicious cupcakes: Black Forest vs. Hummingbird.  One is a rich chocolate sponge, filled with a beautiful black cherry jam, and topped with a creamy custard frosting; the other is a banana and pineapple explosion with a thick cream cheese frosting.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Black Forest Cupcake

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This delicious black forest cupcake is absolutely delightful.  Its chocolate sponge is beautifully rich and moist, and is made even more luxurious by the sweet addition of the black cherry jam that oozes out of the middle.  The surprise centre is absolutely wonderful, although the black cherry flavour blends into the chocolate sponge so well that there is little noticeable contrast in flavour.  This decadent black forest cupcake is topped with a creamy custard frosting, another dollop of black cherry jam, and luxurious chocolate shavings.  The frosting was lovely, although the generous helping seemed to detract from the overall chocolate and black cherry taste, which personally was my favourite part.  Nevertheless, this is not a cupcake that I would readily turn down if someone was offering me a delicious cupcake twist on the classic Black Forest Gateux.

Hummingbird Cupcake

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The hummingbird cupcake is based on Southern hummingbird cake and is an absolutely sublime tropical treat.  Its beautifully moist sponge is packed with bananas, pineapple, and handfuls of crunchy pecans, giving it a slightly different texture to most cupcakes.  Its flavours are perfectly combined to provide the most delicious sponge I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.  I just could not get enough of this cake!  And a surprise chunk of banana in the middle was a great addition.  The cream cheese frosting, covered in cinnamon and crushed pecans, also complimented the sponge beautifully.  This cupcake could just not put a foot wrong.  Whichever Hummingbird book has this recipe in it, someone needs to get it for me, I cannot live without it!

My undying love for this incredible cupcake makes the delicious Hummingbird Special Edition Cupcake July’s Bake-Off winner without a doubt.  I just cannot wait to get my hands on this wonderful recipe and fill my house with these fabulous fruity treats!

The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: May 2014

Apple Crumble vs. Salted

Caramel

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

May 2014 has seen the rivalry of two dessert-themed cupcakes: Apple Crumble vs. Salted Caramel.  One is a light vanilla sponge, filled with tangy apple, and smothered in a custard frosting with a delicious cinnamon oat crumble; the other is a rich chocolate sponge, topped with a salted caramel frosting and a large dollop of smooth caramel, which runs right through the centre.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Apple Crumble

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This cupcake exceeded all expectations.  I don’t quite know what I expected, but I didn’t expect to find one of my favourite puddings made so successfully into a tasty, spongey treat.  This cupcake was absolutely fabulous.  The bottom of the cupcake was layered with a gloriously generous sweet filling of apples, which ejected a wonderful burst of cinnamon with every mouthful.  The light vanilla sponge was lusciously moist, and beautifully complimented the apple filling.  The flavours just blended together perfectly.  However, no apple crumble is complete without custard, and Hummingbird did well to take this into account!  The whole experience was topped off with a wonderful, thick swirl of sweet and creamy custard frosting, covered in a crunchy cinnamon oat crumble.  Despite its relatively underwhelming façade, this cake makes up for its simple aesthetics by throwing simplicity out of the window when it comes to flavour!  It is a shame that this cupcake was only a monthly special, as I could quite easily have become hooked on the apple crumble cupcake if they were constantly available!

Salted Caramel

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As a major fan of Starbuck’s caramel frappuccino, this was the cupcake I was looking forward to the most, and that dollop of sticky caramel, surrounded by a salted caramel frosting, just looked SO good!  However, even with my first mouthful I was shocked at just how salty the whole experience was, to such an extent that I couldn’t even enjoy the rich chocolate sponge on its own, because all I could taste was salt.  There was definitely too much salt mixed into the caramel frosting, and to top it off, it was sprinkled in salt crystals!  The smooth caramel in the centre was the best part, as it was really nice and sweet, and did help to detract away from the saltiness of the rest of the cupcake.  But I was very sad that I had left this cake to last, as I would much rather have had the sweet, cinnamon taste of the apple crumble cupcake lingering on my lips, than the excessive saltiness of the salted caramel cupcake.

Therefore, it goes without saying that the delicious Apple Crumble Special Edition Cupcake is May’s Great Hummingbird Bake-off winner.

Check back in June for news on the Hummingbird Bakery’s latest special editions.

The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: April 2014

Lemon Curd vs. Nutella

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

April 2014 sees the arrival of Lemon Curd vs. Nutella.  The former is a zingy lemon sponge, bursting with a lemon curd centre; the latter is an indulgent chocolate nutty adventure, made from Hummingbird’s signature chocolate cupcake, topped with crunchy roasted hazelnuts.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Lemon Curd Cupcake

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This lemon curd cupcake is absolutely bursting with flavour.  This cupcake has it all, with its light lemon sponge, topped with a generous helping of a sweet, tangy lemon frosting, this cupcake was a beautiful, flavoursome surprise.  Not to mention the gloriously gooey and messy lemon curd centre, which was an added zesty bonus and really set this lemon cupcake apart from the standard lemon cupcake you would get at any other bakery.  But we all know that Hummingbird is far removed from the category of standard, striving to give its customers something different, something adventurous, and something a little bit special every single day of the week!

Nutella Cupcake

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The Nutella cupcake is comprised of Hummingbird’s signature chocolate cupcake with its glorious chocolate frosting.  However, rather than finishing it off with chocolate sprinkles, the Nutella cupcake is topped with chopped roasted hazelnuts for an extra crunch and an added twist to create a nutty treat.  Whilst I’m usually a massive fan of Hummingbird’s chocolate-themed cupcakes, this one was slightly disappointing in the fact that it wasn’t overly nutty unless you managed to get a mouthful of the chopped nuts.  Maybe a hazelnut and chocolate sponge, or a blended frosting would have been the way forward?  Nevertheless, it was still delicious, and I’m never one to turn down a chocolate treat from Hummingbird!

Therefore, the Lemon Curd special edition cupcake is this month’s star bake in my Great Hummingbird Bake-off competition.

Check back in May for news on Hummingbird Bakery’s latest special editions.

 

The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: March 2014

Key Lime Pie vs. Snickers Bar

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

March 2014 sees the arrival of Key Lime Pie vs. Snickers Bar.  The former is a light vanilla sponge, bursting with a lime curd centre; the latter is an indulgent chocolate and peanut adventure, filled with peanut butter and caramel, and topped with a bite-size piece of Snickers.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Key Lime Cupcake

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The Key Lime Cupcake tastes as delicate as it looks.  Hummingbird make a very nice vanilla sponge, but I just find vanilla sponge with a whipped custard frosting just very, well, vanilla.  There’s nothing exciting about it.  I didn’t actually finish the cupcake because I found it so boring, that is, until I got to the lime curd centre.  This is the only point that flavour actually tantalises your tastebuds.  The centre is actually wonderful.  The freshly grated lime zest looks pretty, and the biscuit crumbs scattered on top add a nice contrasting texture, but all in all this cupcake was a slight disappointment.

Snickers Bar Cupcake

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However, the Snickers Bar Cupcake saved the day.  The chocolate sponge, topped with the richest and most indulgent chocolate frosting was pure heaven.  And the salted peanut topping only added to the flavour.  Inside, there was a beautiful peanut butter and caramel centre, which came as a wonderful surprise.  The Snickers cupcake is essentially what it says on the packet: a complete and nutter peanut and chocolate dream.  Therefore, the Snickers Bar Special Edition Cupcake is, without a doubt, March’s Great Hummingbird Bake-off winner.

The Great Hummingbird Bake-Off: February 2014

Chocolate Coconut ‘Bounty’ vs.

Strawberry Meringue ‘Eton

Mess’

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

February 2014 sees the arrival of Bounty vs. Eton Mess.  One is a luxurious chocolate sponge with a swirl of coconut frosting; the other is a soft vanilla sponge, filled with a strawberry cream, and topped with fresh strawberries and crumbly meringue pieces.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

The Chocolate Coconut

‘Bounty’ Cupcake

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I am of the opinion that Hummingbird can never go wrong when it comes to their chocolate cupcakes, no matter what theme they opt for, and the Bounty cupcake is no exception.  I’ve always found Bounty to be quite a controversial chocolate bar, people always love it or hate it, and it is usually the one chocolate that is discarded by my friends when it comes to delving into the Celebrations.  However, I definitely sit on the love side of the fence, so this cupcake is perfect for me!  The ‘Bounty’ is simple and delicious with its plain chocolate sponge, but it is the coconut frosting that is the real show-stealer.  The coconut milk used in the icing allows for a soft coconut-filled taste with every mouthful, and I love the course texture of the coconut shavings in comparison to the soft, creamy icing.  And who can resist popping a tiny piece of heavenly bounty into their mouth halfway through a dreamy chocolate and coconut themed cupcake?!

The Strawberry Meringue

‘Eton Mess’ Cupcake

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This twist on the traditional English pudding is the perfect cupcake to wash away the winter blues in anticipation of fresh English strawberries this summer!  The vanilla sponge is soft and airy, and I always love a surprise in my cupcakes!  Although, if it wasn’t for the combination of the crumbly meringue pieces and soft fruity strawberries creating a tantalising textural experience on top of the cake, the ‘Eton Mess’ would have been rather bland apart from the two mouthfuls of strawberry cream hidden away in the middle of the sponge.  For this reason, I have crowned the Chocolate Coconut ‘Bounty’ Special Edition Cupcake February’s Great Hummingbird Bake-off winner.

(Photos taken from Hummingbird Bakery’s Facebook page.)

The Great Hummingbird Bake-off: January 2014

Tiramisu vs. Cookies and Cream

Every month the Hummingbird Bakery, which is one of my favourite cupcake shops EVER, creates two new, special edition cupcakes.  Every month, these cupcakes will go head-to-head, battling it out for the number one spot.

January 2014 has seen the arrival of Tiramisu vs. Cookies and Cream.  One is a light vanilla sponge, filled with coffee custard and soaked in brandy-flavoured coffee syrup; the other is a rich chocolate sponge, topped with a creamy frosting, studded with Oreo chunks.  But which cupcake deserves the number one title this month?

Tiramisu

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The Tiramisu Cupcake is probably the most aesthetically pleasing of the two cupcakes, with its smooth, swirly frosting delicately dusted with sweet cocoa powder.  It is safe to say that the outward perfection of this cupcake, paired with the fact that I had not had my much-needed weekday coffee fix, led to high expectations.  Unfortunately, this special edition bake was decidedly disappointing.  Despite the beautifully soft and delicate flavour of the vanilla sponge hidden beneath the generous mound of creamy frosting, I could not help but notice a distinct lack of any coffee flavour whatsoever.  Things started to look up when my second bite revealed that I was about to encounter a secret coffee-custard centre, which seemed to ooze promise.  However, the coffee flavour did not ooze out with the same enthusiasm; if you were blindfolded whilst eating, it probably wouldn’t be hard to miss it altogether!  Maybe Hummingbird should have taken inspiration from their other special edition this month and stuck torn-up pieces of coffee-soaked ladyfingers into the creamy mascarpone frosting to give us busy Londoners that midweek “pick me up” (which is actually the Italian translation of ‘Tiramisu’) we so desperately need!

Cookies and Cream

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Although the Cookies and Cream’s character-building smears of icing, with chunks of broken biscuit scattered all over it, may not win it as many brownie points on the aesthetic front, I would be lying if I said that this cupcake was anything but delicious.  Hummingbird never fails when it comes to chocolate cake, and their Cookies and Cream edition is no exception.  Soft, succulent, and with little pieces of Oreo cookie snuck into its sponge, every single mouthful is an absolute chocolatey delight.  With its dreamy, creamy vanilla frosting truly being the icing on the cake, the Cookies and Cream Special Edition Cupcake is January’s Great Hummingbird Bake-off winner.

Check back in February for news on the Hummingbird Bakery’s latest special editions.