Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Black Bottom Cupcakes by Hummingbird & Review

Hummingbird Bakery began in Notting Hill in 2004, since then they have plunged into a world of success that is none other than well deserved. Their products are inspired by the infamous American style that we all adore, this is the style that is envied by most Brits. It's a well known and national annoyance of ours - the food just looks better/probably tastes better in America! 

After making these today out of  Hummingbirds first publication - The hummingbird bakery cookbook, i decided that it was imperative i published the recipe onto my blog (without a picture because i stupidly forgot to take one). 

These cupcakes contain three layers of deathly goodness. They start off with a thick, rich and crumbly chocolate sponge which is embellished in texture as opposed to sweetness to add a balance to the cupcake's flavour. On top of that is a small helping of cheesecake and chocolate chip. Above that is a generous amount of cream cheese frosting. Above that is a sprinkling of cocoa. All in all, there are 3 variations of chocolate and 2 of cheese in this cupcake. Therefore it speaks for itself in terms of it's delicious-ness. 

The recipe 
  1. 190g plain flour

  1. 120g caster sugar
  2. 40g cocoa powder, plus extra to decorate
  3. Half tsp bicarbonate of soda
  4. 40 ml sunflower oil
  5. 1 and a half tsps white vinegar
  6. Half tsp vanilla extract
  7. Cheesecake
  8. 140g cream cheese
  9. 60g caster sugar
  10. 1 egg
  11. Half tsp vanilla extract
  12. A pinch of salt
  13. 100g milk chocolate chips
  14. Frosting
  15. 300g icing sugar, sifted
  16. 50 unsalted butter
  17. 125g cold cream cheese
The method
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line a muffin try with cupcake cases.
  • Place all the dry ingredients for the sponge into a bowl and mix until everything is well incorporated. 
  • Pour the oil, water, vinegar and vanilla in a jug and mix together.
  • slowly pour the contents of the jug into the dry ingredients whilst mixing. You should be left with a thick dough-like mixture. Plop an equal amount into 12 cupcake cases and leave aside. 
  • In a smaller bowl - for the cheesecake, whisk together the cream cheese, vanilla, and egg. You should be left with a creamy consistency after about a minute of whisking. Briefly and gently stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Plop some cheesecake mix on top of each cupcake.
  • Bake for exactly 20 minutes in the oven - any longer and your cheesecake top will become dry!
  • For the frosting, electrically whisk together the icing sugar, butter and cheese until you have a thick and creamy texture. Do not over mix as it easily melts!
  • Frost the cakes, and finally dust with cocoa. 

Leon Restaurant Review

Leon Restaurant is a revolutionary fast food chain that promises to be ever growing... But how comes I have only ever stumbled across one in only the somewhat elitist areas of London? Luckily for me I have one in my local shopping centre, Bluewater, and also luckily for you this is not a boring rant about social inequality mixed with poor dieting mixed with mc Donald's.

Yesterday afternoon my boyfriend and I had Leon for lunch and George Clooney for dinner (everyone should go and watch the Descendants as soon as they can).

Everyone should go to Leon's. They should replace that cheap quick fix KFC hit with a bloody Leon's! It's only about 25% more expensive, but you get mountains more flavour for your money and a gratified feeling worth the extra 2 pounds after you've finished your meal.

A personal favourite is the Moroccan Meatballs. After speaking to the chef in Leon today he told me that virtually every Leon recipe uses their Aioli sauce - a creamy white garlic yoghurt. The taste is fresh and tangy and refuses to leave you with bad breath!

The thing about Leon is they've got in on point with their herb ratios. Also, they give you a helping of brown rice to compliment your meatballs, the rice appears like a dull and bland component to your juicy meatballs at first, but once you've tucked in you'll soon fall short of complaint because it's so wholesome. It has a real wheat taste to it, one that will make you appreciate those healthy food substitutes that we all dread!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Old-school projects and more poor photography

I've had the same worthless laptop for about 3 years now. At the moment it has sellotape attaching the charger to the computer, if it moves a millimeter the laptop goes point-blank and struggles to return to its normal state until it is re-united with the ol' sellotape once again. So, you should always have sticky plastic at the ready just in case your laptop hates you as well. 
But anyway, because this piece of brainy junk has lasted me so long I've managed to save all of my old baking projects onto this computer without a problem. I thought it was best i blogged the pictures sooner rather than later in case the bastard decides to spontaneously combust on me one day. 

Pecan Tart 

Blackberry Gateau 
Profiterole tart with creme anglaise and caramel 
Vanilla cupcake and sugar biscuit 
Mississippi mud pie 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Procrastinate and Bake Double Chocolate Cookies

Last Thursday afternoon I was pacing around the house trying to finish my very last portfolio, I hadn't even started and it was due in on Friday. For some reason I can't do any uni work until it is literally a moment before i have to travel to north London and hand it in the undergraduate office. So it got to 7pm, with 2 news stories and 1 feature in front of me i decided it was time to bake. I was stressed, flustered and pissed off so I decided to bake cookies using anything I could find in the cupboards and absolutely no guidelines. So i made double chocolate chip cookies with only 75g of dark chocolate...so what... Before i baked them i made sure the batter tasted like i wanted them to taste when crisp and crunchy!
Also, if you've never had one i suggest you go to your local turkish food center and buy some of their strong black coffee powder and make yourself a 'Gave'. They go well with these odd cookies.

The 'kind of' Recipe: 
Loads of butter
Loads of plain flour
Loads of cocoa powder
Loads of caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Some granulated sugar
As much dark chocolate as you can find
A pinch of salt
A tiny bit of bicarbonate of soda
A tiny bit of baking powder
The 'kind of' Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and flour baking trays 
  • Toss the butter and sugars into a large bowl and mix together till creamy. You should have an equal ratio of both, but i like to add more butter than sugar for a chewier texture. 
  • Slowly add the eggs to the mixture and mix mix mix
  • Add some flour and cocoa powder, to the point where you begin to produce a muddy textured dough. 
  • Throw in the bicarb, baking powder and salt (do not put more than a teaspoon of each of these)
  • Chop the chocolate, and with a wooden spoon, stir it in to the dough
  • With a tablespoon, spoon the dough onto the baking trays and space well apart
  • Bake for about 12 minutes
  • Eat with a strong coffee 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Banana Cake and Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

I shouldn't have used peanut butter cake pop chocolate in my cookies. Big mistake. Another Primrose adaptation!
The Recipes 
1 egg 
120g light brown sugar 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
170g caster sugar 
220g peanut butter 
125g unsalted butter 
Half teaspoon baking powder
Quarter teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
Pinch of salt 
Some peanut butter chocolate buttons (if you dare)
400g plain flour 
2 tsp bicarbinate soda
280g unsalted butter 
200ml sour cream
1 vanilla pod 
Zest of 2 lemons 
350g caster sugar 
4 eggs 
500g banana 
1 batch of Betty Crockers 

The Methods
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and flour baking trays 
  • Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl 
  • In another bowl, mix the butter (must be at room temp), peanut butter and both sugars until smooth and creamy
  • Gradually add the egg and vanilla and beat again
  • Incorporate both wet and dry ingredients until you have a stiff dough
  • Add the peanut chips if you have them!
  • Spoon the dough onto the baking trays and make sure they're well spaced out 
  • Bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and flour loose bottomed baking tin
  • Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add the butter and beat with a whisk until creamy. 
  • In another bowl mix the sour cream, vanilla pod and zest and combine. 
  • Beat the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients. 
  • Slowly add all of the sugar to the mixture.
  • Slowly add the eggs into the mixture.
  • Mash all of the bananas and gently combine into the mixture. 
  • Put all of the mixture into your cake tin then tap on the work top to remove any air bubbles. 
  • Bake for 2 hours (maybe longer depending on your oven). 
  • Once cooled, slather the icing on top and EAT. 

Gorgeous Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a tea time component. The recipe I used to create these little simpletons came from the Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden. They're seriously good at what they do and if you're from London you are automatically obliged to visit! GO! 
The Recipe
90g unsalted butter 
100g golden caster sugar
1 large egg
Half teaspoon vanilla extract 
200g sifted plain flour 
Half teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt 
The icing 
200g icing sugar 
A couple drops of boiling water 
Food colouring
Flavouring ( I used peppermint) 
The Method 
  • Preheat the oven to 180 and flour baking trays.
  • In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together using an electric whisk. 
  • In a small bowl whisk the egg. Gradually add the egg to the bitter mixture whilst whisking to make sure it doesn't curdle. Also the egg must be at room temperature to avoid the mixture curdling. 
  • Slowly mix in all of the dry ingredients to form a firm dough, using a wooden spoon adds ease to this process. 
  • Roll the dough out on a floured surfaced, and keep to a 2cm thickness. 
  • Cut the cookies to your desired shape and place (well spaced out) on the floured baking trays.
  • Cook for 12 minutes or until golden then leave to cool. 
  • For the icing, mix the icing sugar and a tablespoon of boiling water together along with the flavourings and colourings. Add more water if the mixture is too thick. 
  • Ice. 

Hummingbird Bakery Grasshopper Pie

The Grasshopper Pie is an American favourite, I know it well through watching Nigella Lawson and her food porn on Food Network. One of her food porn specials was this pie! Her recipe used Liquor though, and I'm not a fan of mixing alcohol with dessert/dinner (I've yet to experience a great combination of the two). This recipe (adapted from the amazing Hummingbird Bakery collection) serves all palettes and is surprisingly easy to make, whether you're a drunk or a bore - both will enjoy!

The Recipe 
You will need an average sized (preferably 23cm) tart dish that ejaculates from the bottom for this one.

The base
300g Oreos
180g unsalted melted butter
The Filling
180g mini marshmallows
180ml milk (anything but skimmed)
Half teaspoon peppermint essence
Green food colouring (pour in to your desire, but don't exceed a tablespoon!)
700ml double cream

The method
  • Bash the biscuits to a saw dust consistency and coat in the melted butter. Once you have a shiny dark sand, grab the tart dish and with a metal spoon, start to press the mixture into the base. 
  • Pop in the fridge to set whilst you make the filling. 
  • In a saucepan, melt the marshmallows together with the milk. Milk can be brought up to the boil very quickly and burns even quicker - leaving you with a foul smell of maltose, so keep the mixture at a fairly low heat!
  • Once melted, remove from the heat and add the peppermint essence and green colouring until it looks however green you want it. Then leave to cool.
  • Bring 300ml of the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cooled marshmallow mixture.
  • Pour the new mixture into the hardened base and then leave this in the fridge to set for 1/2 hours.
  • Whip the rest of the cream and delicately add to the top of the pie to create a beautiful finish. 
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