Any visitors to my blog will know how much I love The Hummingbird Bakery in London (their cookbooks are the most read books in my kitchen.) It’s always convenient for me to stop by and sample their various Daily Special cupcakes (a tough job, but what can I say? Someone has to do it) and I’ve found their collections to be both hit and miss. But the Christmas cupcake line up is a special favourite of mine – it doesn’t change much from year to year, and it has several classic favourites that I’ve made from their cookbook.
As a result, it’s nice to have a cupcake selection I can look forward to trying every year: it’s more like trying some old favourites on a regular basis! One of the things I loved about it was that, unlike the chocolate bar collection, there’s a good variety of base cupcake: if whether you’re a vanilla, chocolate or fruit fan, you’re likely to find a cupcake that you like. So what are your cupcake options?
Monday: Candy Cane Cupcake
Unlike a lot of candy cane flavoured foods, this cupcake is lovely because the peppermint is quite subtle (unfortunately, peppermint flavour can sometimes resemble the taste of toothpaste if not done right!) But this vanilla sponge based cupcake has a hint of mint, which is nice. It’s also my favourite look of all the Christmas cupcakes, so I would definitely recommend this one.
Tuesday: Eggnog Cupcake
Eggnog is a bit of a Marmite drink – you either love it or hate it. How you feel about eggnog will directly affect how you feel about this cupcake (as it does a great job of matching the eggnog flavour) – it’s a vanilla cupcake with their basic vanilla icing, but rather than flavouring the icing with vanilla, it’s a run and nutmeg flavour (which, again, wasn’t overwhelming). This was my favourite cupcake of the collection.
Wednesday: White Chocolate and Cranberry Cupcake
This was probably my least favourite cupcake – I loved the idea of a white chocolate sponge and frosting (I am a big white chocolate fan), but when I tasted this cupcake, the only flavour that I really got was orange. Although there is only supposed to be a hint of orange, it really did overpower the rest of the cupcake, including the delicious white chocolate I had been looking forward to. I found this cupcake to be a bit disappointing.
Thursday: Gingerbread Cupcake
The gingerbread sponge was lovely (really like baked gingerbread) and cream cheese frosting (although it might seem like an odd choice) actually goes well with the gingerbread and sets it off. This is my favourite one to bake at home (as I think it really is an interesting twist on gingerbread) and the recipe is indeed in their cookbook. So if you can’t make it to their shops in London, you do have another option!
Friday: Christmas Pudding Cupcake
I passed on this one, as I am really not a fan of Christmas cake or Christmas pudding (I’m American – it’s just not our thing) but it does have that very crisp taste of Christmas pudding. It’s probably one of the easiest flavours to imagine converted to cupcake, form, since it is already a cake! So there aren’t that many changes – it’s a very traditional Christmas cake, with an icing that has a faint marzipan taste.
Saturday: Raspberry Trifle Cupcake
This was one I was less familiar with – although it did remind me of the Eton Mess cupcake from their International Dessert range (which I absolutely loved) with the cream topping rather than the traditional vanilla. While I’m not as big a fan of raspberries, it was the same light sponge and cream, which (while it struck me as being a bit out of place – not better as a summer dessert?), I really enjoyed it.
Sunday: Chocolate Orange Cupcake
Now, I don’t have a picture of this one (it’s a long story involving a drunken friend, Hyde Park… And the telling could in no way live up to the anticipation!), but this cupcake is based on the seasonal chocolate orange. And what I love about it is that it’s an incredibly luxurious chocolate (especially the chocolate cream cheese flavour.) Definitely a must for fans of chocolate orange sweets!
So that’s the Hummingbird Christmas range, available in their London shops. But hurry – only there until January (and then I get to start over again with the reviews!)