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The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days Hardcover – 17 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (17 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007374798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007374793
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 19.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

It's hard to imagine that cupcakes and Red Velvet cake were virtually unknown in the UK before Tarek Malouf opened the first Hummingbird Bakery on London's Portobello
Road in 2004. The Hummingbird Bakery has recently celebrated its 11th anniversary and has
London-based bakeries in South Kensington, Soho, Spitalfields, Islington and Richmond, with 3
bakeries in Dubai.

Since the very first day it opened its doors, everything at The Hummingbird
Bakery has been baked fresh, with each site having its own kitchen and baking team, making
sure the authentic American cakes and desserts taste as close to home-baked as possible.

Tarek grew up in London, attending The American School in London and later university in
London and Los Angeles. While working for America's ABC News network, Tarek noticed that
the range of indulgent, high-quality cakes and bakes loved by Americans was almost nonexistent
in the UK. He decided it was time to bring these treats to the British public. After
sampling more cakes than he should, and attending baking classes in New York in order to
understand the different ingredients and techniques, the next step was to devise recipes and
test them over and over on friends and family, and thus The Hummingbird Bakery was born.
Tarek lives in London and Life Is Sweet is his fourth cookbook. Visit The Hummingbird Bakery's website at

Product Description

From the Author

Q&A with Tarek Malouf:

1. What was the idea behind the naming of ‘The Hummingbird Bakery’?

The name just popped into my head one day.  I love hummingbirds; colourful, agile birds that feast on sweet nectar. When the logo was designed, it all came together and seemed the perfect choice!

2. The new book The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days is filled with lots of delicious recipes. Where do you get your inspiration from to continue to develop new flavours and ideas for baking?

The Hummingbird Bakery team’s inspiration comes from everywhere and everyone! We all work closely to develop new flavours and discuss ideas. Sometimes certain flavours begin as suggestions, other times, from seeing something in day-to-day life. Our product development team then turns the ideas into reality.

3. What is the most outlandish flavour or design of cake anyone has requested?

We stick closely to our core flavours, so we don’t really do outlandish flavours! Our cake design style tends to be elegant and simple, less is more. We have had some requests for naughty messages on cakes throughout the years, probably best to leave those to your imagination!

4. When you have time, what’s your favourite thing to bake?

My friends and I recently made a soufflé from Julia Childs’ book, and it turned out beautifully!  I don’t get to bake very often nowadays; I’m more about the eating!

5. What was your motivation to open the first Hummingbird Bakery?

There were no places in London to buy proper American desserts and cakes when I first got the idea.  I thought that people would appreciate buying cupcakes, cakes and other goodies that had been freshly baked on site and individually hand decorated.  It was certainly something that I wanted to be eating! So, I just jumped in and started work on opening my shop on Portobello Road.

About the Author

Tarek Malouf was born in London and studied at London and Los Angeles universities, where he discovered American desserts. After working for ABC News in the UK and enjoying American desserts on trips to the USA, he decided to set up The Hummingbird Bakery on Portobello Road. The Bakery's home-cooked cupcakes, pies, brownies and other high-quality American desserts were a huge success and the Bakery now has branches in South Kensington and Soho. Visit the website at

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Cookie on 20 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having been impressed by the Hummingbird Bakery produce before, I knew I had to pre-order this book to have a go myself. Having gotten the book a few days ago, I've been examining it lots, and even baking a few recipes, and I must say, this book is seriously yummy! I can't wait to be able to taste more of these delicious recipes!

As for the recipes, there are lots of cupcakes (as expected) quite a few cakes and cheesecakes, plenty of loafs, bars and cookies, and several whoopie pies. As a nice surprise, there are also a few savoury muffin recipes. Some of their recipes have really intriguing combinations - how about a Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcake? Or maybe a Chocolate Guinness Cake? Or a Courgette, Walnut and Cinnamon Layer Cake? I'll definately will be trying these, just to try how these combinations work out.

The recipes are not overly complicated, and as for levels some are pretty simple, and some increase in difficulty demanding several steps. Almost all of the ingredients are easily found in well-stocked supermarkets and if not, they can be substituted with something very similar (e.g. you can easily make a buttermilk substitute yourself). There are also some baking tips at the back for those with not that much experience.

The only annoying thing I found with the book was the lay-out. The book is divided into holiday/special occasion -sections (e.g. Halloween, Mothers Day, Christmas...), and each sections has cupcakes, cakes, whoopie pies, loafs, savoury muffins etc. This makes it more difficult to find what you want to bake, and if you are looking for example different cupcakes you'd have to flip through the whole book to locate all the recipes.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Grace on 25 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Like many other reviewers I pre-ordered this book, as I am a big fan of the first Hummingbird Cookbook and the Bakery itself. I have made many recipes from the previous book, particularly the chocolate cupcakes, which are always unbelievable and have gained me many a compliment! Also, they seem to keep really well, if you have to make a couple of days ahead.

I made my first recipe from the new book yesterday, the caramel cupcakes, which have gone down a treat at home and at work. The sponge is unbelievably light and moist, which I find to be true with all Hummingbird cupcakes, and the frosting delicious but super sweet! I also made the apricot crucnchies. The recipe suggests leaving the sultanas and apricots in the juice for 5 minutes. I, ahem, went out for a walk with my dog, so half an hour later, the fruit had absorbed all the juice which I think might have effected my results, which despite tasting superb, lacked the crunch described in the name. My fault though, and actually my apricot flapjack (this name represents mine!) is delicious anyway, so not a problem.

Recipes in this cookbook often suggest just mixing until combined and warn not to over mix, I would suggest you follow this advice, especially when using a kitchen aid or similar rather than a electric mixer, as it can be easy to leave the mixer running too long. In my experience cupcakes don't have the lovely light, moist texture I've come to expect if overly mixed.

I am looking forward to trying out further recipes, particularly the whoopie pies, intrigued to see how they turn out in comparison to
the ones I have made from 'Whoopie Pies' (Billingsley and Treadwell) and those I have tried in store.
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74 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Magicalthinking on 25 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Flicking through the book initially I wanted to cook absolutely everything in it - and there's the right amount of cakes, loaves, cupcakes, cookies, whoopie pies, and cheescakes here - but looking through it again I think there's some problems with it.

It's split into these chapters:

*Valentine's Day
*Spring Weekend Bakes
*Mother's & Father's Day
*Summer Afternoon Tea
*Birthdays and Celebrations
*Rainy day treats
*Halloween & Bonfire Night

But better if, like the first book, this book was split into chapters on the types of recipes themselves. It's a bit easier finding what you need, as another reviewer says. I don't think dividing it into events and occasions is that useful for most people.

Chapters on baking essentials (most of which are for beginners), are at the back of the book along with decorating ideas and a list of suppliers.

I'm not keen on the overlap between this and the other book. There's three identical recipes, all cupcakes - vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet, plus six other recipes that have obviously been slightly tweaked from the first book - lemon cupcakes/lemonade cupcakes, ginger cake/gingerbread cake, blueberry cake/blueberry and soured cream cake, pecan pie/chocolate and pecan pie, carrot cake/carrot and ginger cake, and lemon and poppy seed cake/lemon poppy seed loaf. More originality please next time and less laziness.

As most of the seven show-stopping cakes here are layered you'll need three or four sandwich tins to make them and so they require an awful lot of fat and sugar. They're pretty hardcore.
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