Freelance journalist? Guilty. Adventure, food, people and performing are my passions.
Published May 28th 2012
The Hummingbird Bakery published their first self titled cookbook in 2009, and have no doubt since found themselves a deserving slot on the cookbook shelves of many international kitchens… and their recipes on the hips and thighs of sweet-tooths everywhere.
The bakery itself was founded in 2004 to bring the authentic taste of American home baking to the bustling streets of London. The first branch opened on well traipsed Portobello Road in Notting Hill, and the company has since spread to five locations across the city.
The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook shares some of their much loved American favourites with home cooks across the globe. Cupcakes, cakes, pies, brownies, bars, muffins and cookies spread sweetly across its pages.
This particular recipe is a new found favourite I whipped out recently for an afternoon tea. Here is a home cook's thoughts on this delicious and dainty dessert:
Home baking at its best, thanks to The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.
120g plain flour 140g caster sugar 1.5 tsp baking powder pinch of salt 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120g full cream milk 5 tsp vanilla extract 1 egg
12 large strawberries, cut into small pieces
200g digestive biscuits
1 quantity Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
A 12 hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Pour in the milk and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until all the ingredients are well mixed (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Add the egg and beat well for a few minutes to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated.
Divide the chopped strawberries between the paper cases. Spoon the cupcake mixture on top until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Roughly break up the digestive biscuits and put them in a food processor. Process until finely ground. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of finely ground biscuits.
Cream Cheese Frosting
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well incorporated.
Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes.
Spoon or pipe the cream cheese frosting on top of the cold cupcakes.
If you need to whip up something sweet and sassy, these strawberry cheesecake cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery are perfect. The cooking and cooling time is minimal, and the ingredients are simple.
Using fresh strawberries moistens the sponge of the cupcake, and while 12 large strawberries sounds like a lot, I found that I used around 16. It depends on what your supermarket has on offer, but it's better to over cater with this ingredient… and if you don't use them all, they make a great plate decoration for serving.
When making the cream cheese frosting, it's best that the butter is at room temperature. I found that the butter I used was possibly too cool, and it consequently thumped around the mixing bowl, coating the table and my clothing in icing sugar. Eventually I opted to use the food processor, which worked perfectly for mixing the icing.
200g of digestive biscuits as a sprinkling on top of the cupcakes also sounds like a lot, and it is. While The Hummingbird Bakery prides themselves on generous American quantities, I used home brand wheat biscuits, and found that 50g of them was more than enough.
While I used a mixture of silver and white cases for these cupcakes, I found the white paper cases more visually appealing. The heavy strawberries sat red and juicy at the bottom of the cases, bleeding onto the paper. They beg to be eaten.
I'll warn you once, and only once, make these delicious morsels for your next gathering and your friends will expect you to make them for every other then on in. And anything else you bake in the future will be compared to that one time you made those "amazing strawberry cheesecake cupcakes".