499 of 512 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DELICIOUS!!!
I bought this at my local bookshop a few days ago and I have since been on a baking frenzy!
Yes, there are indeed many good home-baking books out there. And yes, this does make you wonder exactly how many ways of making/icing a cupcake there can possibly be!!! But the Hummingbird bakery cookbook does fill a few gaps for those of us who are time pushed but want the...
Published on 16 Mar 2009 by whipmeupsomecream
152 of 164 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by it's cover
I'm afraid to say that I was utterly seduced by the stunning pictures inside this book. However, after a good read through of the recipes I was quite suprised at some of the techniques and quantities used. I am a qualified pastry chef but also have two decades of home-baking experience. I would like to point out that I have a gas oven, with which I use an oven thermometer...
Published on 7 Mar 2010 by A. Jackson
Most Helpful First | Newest First
499 of 512 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DELICIOUS!!!,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)I bought this at my local bookshop a few days ago and I have since been on a baking frenzy!
Yes, there are indeed many good home-baking books out there. And yes, this does make you wonder exactly how many ways of making/icing a cupcake there can possibly be!!! But the Hummingbird bakery cookbook does fill a few gaps for those of us who are time pushed but want the satisfaction of making sweet treats ourselves.
The usual sections that one would expect apply: cupcakes, cakes, pies, brownies and bars, muffins and cookies. It's all packaged very beautifully with plenty of mouthwatering photographs.
On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be anything cutting-edge or new about it...but then it is about baking, not the latest feat in engineering. I like it because the recipes are easy to follow, simple, inspiring and above all, they taste great! Achieving those aspects alone in my opinion gives it 5 stars.
Inevitable comparisons are bound to be drawn between this and the Magnolia bakery book. After all, the author states that his inspiration came from the American style of baking. So I'll address this from the outset. I have both books and there are a couple of the same recipes in Hummingbird as there are in Magnolia. But that's it. What made me buy this book in particular (apart from being seduced by the stunning cover!!) is that the Hummingbird bakery makes THE most delicious cakes in London and I wanted to try and make mine taste as good!
Strawberry cheesecake cupcakes, green tea cupcakes, brooklyn blackout cake, blueberry cake, nutty apple loaf, mississippi mud pie, raspberry cheesecake brownie, carrot and courgette muffins. These are a few of the recipes in this book.
I am editing this review to try and give a bit more info about the recipes here. I have seen that the book has garnered a few 1 star reviews, so I would like to give a brief idea of how my recipes have actually turned out.
So far I have tried the following recipes....
**Nutty apple loaf (moist, dense and delicious)
**Blueberry cake (nice tangy texture and very moreish)
**Red velvet cupcakes. The second time round, I also made the batter into a red velvet cake, using just 2 tins and cooking it for longer.(I used red paste food colouring as that was all I had, and they turned out perfectly).
**Mississippi mud pie (WOW, my favourite so far! Easy to make even though pastry is my nemesis).
**Raspberry cheesecake brownies (Another favourite of mine, great flavour combination). Nice alternative to the regular recipe. I made these with my friend's daughter who is 5. And while I did most of the work, they were easy to make and even easier to eat!
**Lemon and poppy seed cake (simple and full of flavour).
**Hazelnut and chocolate cupcakes (Absolutely delicious. Again, easy to make).
**Marshmallow cupcakes (fluffy and light with a nice melted marshmallow filling).
So far, so good. All of the above recipes have turned out well and have tasted lovely. I am an "experienced" baker (20 years of cake eating and making!!) and my most used baking recipes are by Nigella. I'm not an expert on the subject but I have had a few years of practice and I was delighted with this book and I still maintain that it deserves the 5 stars I originally gave it.
For the majority of the recipes, I followed each one exactly as stated and the only time I came unstuck was with the blueberry cake when I used a ring tin that was much smaller than recommended. This made the batter overflow during cooking. So the next time I made the cake I had the correct size tin and again it turned out as good as the other recipes.
In terms of ingredient quantities and methods, the recipes are wildly different to what I'm used to (which doesn't matter to me). For the most part I have kept to what has been written and everything has so far turned out well.
And just for the record, I do not work for Hummingbird or the publisher and I am a keen home cook, not a professional caterer or chef!!!
I hope this helps.
139 of 148 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book with decent recipes,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)*EDITED*
There have been a number of mixed reviews about this book - in fact, there're quite a few negative ones that almost put me off trying to make anything from the recipes. I really wanted to know if this book was worth anything so I decided to prove it to myself. I am a decent baker; that is to say, I taught myself to cook and bake on a regular basis (often with good success!) but have no real culinary skills or knowledge. However, I do spend enough time in the kitchen to notice that the methods for doing various things in this book is quite different from most recipes that are commonly used. For example, the methods for mixing the cake mixture in Vanilla Cupcakes provide that you first combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and a bit of milk in one bowl; and some eggs, milk and vanilla extract in the other. Once thoroughly incorporated, the book tells you to mix the two together. Now, most recipes would ask you to first beat the egg and sugar in one bowl, add the milk and vanilla, follow by the dry ingredients. But I decided to stick closely to the recipes provided - using whatever amount of ingredients (which may seem "ridiculous" to many people) that the book suggests, and have my fingers crossed. The results? Well, the cupcake recipes (vanilla, chocolate and the velvet cupcakes) that I've attempted so far have turned out pretty good! They're all very tasty and do not appear to be "dry" or "inedible" in any way. My guess is that for those of you who are rather experienced would question the validity of the recipes and so instead of sticking to the book, would be tempted to do "what they think is best" - which is probably why there're more experienced bakers complaining about their various failures, etc. So my advice is for you to turn blind eyes and ears and just follow the recipes to the letter, even though your experience and "instinct" are telling you otherwise!
***The book itself is simply beautiful. It is well laid-out, divided into several sections like cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, etc. The recipes include: the basic vanilla/chocolate cupcakes, lemon cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, strawberry cheesecake cupcakes, lavender cupcakes, hazelnut and chocolate cupcakes, coconut and pineapple cupcakes, banana and chocolate cupcakes, pumpkin cupcakes, marshmallow cupcakes, ginger cupcakes, hummingbird cake, carrot cake, brooklyn blackout cake, coffee cake, blueberry cake, spiced pound cake, banana bread, nutty apple loaf lemon loaf, New York cheesecake, icebox banana cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, mississippi mud pie, apple pie, brownies, muesli bars, rocky road bars, ham and mushroom muffins, spinach and cheese muffins, blueberry muffins, banana and cinnamon muffins, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, white chocolate and pecan cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and gingerbread men. The photographs are all stunning, you get to see exactly what your cakes should look like.***
However, I must say that since I own over 80 books on cakes, cookies, ice cream and desserts, this book doesn't give you a very wide range of recipes - hence why I've given it 4 stars. The book is quite thin and it does have "enough" to keep you entertained for a while, but I prefer to have more choices so I usually have several books on very specific subjects. For example, if you're looking for a good book on cookies, I'd recommend "Martha Steward's Cookies", "The Good Cookie" and "Great Cookies"; for cakes, I'd recommend "Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book" and "Southern Cakes"; for cupcakes, I'd recommend "Cupcake Heaven", "The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake" and "Cupcakes: Luscious Bakeshop Favorites"; for general baking/desserts "Desserts by the Yard", "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts", "Jim Fobel's Old-fashioned Baking Book"; for ice cream "Ices", "The Ultimate Book of Ice Cream", "The Perfect Scoops"; and for chocolate, I'd recommend "The Essence of Chocolate" and "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts".
N.B. Many of the suggested books require US measuring cups - which can be bought at various online stores or decent bakery shops. A lot of people complain about the "inaccuracy" and "complexity" of using US cups. I personally don't understand why anyone would make such a big deal out of it, as not only is it SO EASY to use (just put it in the cups and start mixing! MUCH easier than having to accurately weigh everything!) but it also produces great stuff! If the whole US population can produce successful goodies using these "not so accurate" instruments, so can we! Invest in a set - it won't fail you. Trust me, many great baking books are from/for/published in America. You'll find that once you start exploring, you'll find plenty of amazing books/recipes to make the most wonderful goodies and not be restricted to European-style of baking only.
Overall, if you're truly passionate about cakes and are NOT looking for "healthy" cakes (whatever that means!), you'll love this book. It'll be a great addition to your cook book collection, although I wouldn't say that this will be the ONLY book you'll need, because the book just simply doesn't offer enough varieties in the long-run. I've also been to the bakeries in London and I am happy to announce that my most recent batch did taste rather closely similar to the "real" things! I can assure you that this book will give you some great ideas and the pictures will be able to keep you coming back to the book time and time again!
P.S. I've also noticed that a few people have been comparing this book with Magnolia Bakery Book. I own all of them (2 by Magnolia, 2 by Buttercup Bakeshop and The Hummingbird Bakery) - and I'd NEVER pick the Buttercup Bakeshop over the other two. In fact, The Hummingbird bakery book actually contains MORE cupcakes recipes than those Magnolia books! It should also be noted that none of these books offer "healthy" goodies! Have fun baking!
152 of 164 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by it's cover,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)I'm afraid to say that I was utterly seduced by the stunning pictures inside this book. However, after a good read through of the recipes I was quite suprised at some of the techniques and quantities used. I am a qualified pastry chef but also have two decades of home-baking experience. I would like to point out that I have a gas oven, with which I use an oven thermometer to make absolutely sure that it is at the correct temperature. I use the correct bakeware that is required and I always test a recipe at least twice. The first time I follow to the exact recipe; the second time I may make a few amendments. Any professional chef worth their salt would do this for a commericial purpose. Home-baking however, should be relaxing rather than experimental. I bake regulary anyway, but if I was baking for a special occasion I would test out a recipe first. I have tried 3 recipes now, the Blueberry cake, the Carrot cake and the Blueberry muffins.
The Carrot cake: VERY sweet and did not cook in the time stated, mixture stayed raw for a very long time. That said, it was well recieved but more a special occasion cake.
Blueberry muffins: Followed the EXACT recipe and they ended up dense and rubbery, again, took longer than stated. Didn't even taste nice.
Blueberry cake: Worst one of all, It took an extra 50 minutes to cook, the quantities were all wrong, tasted ok but nothing special, especially when it costs so much to make (6 eggs, 350g butter, 250g blueberries etc). The frosting isn't anything to shout about either, I would recommend putting some vanilla extract into it, just to give it some flavour, rather than just cream cheese, sugar and butter.
The major negative points of this book:
I can only guess that the recipes were not tested in a domestic kitchen, it seems to me that they have just been scaled down from their commerical quantities. This is why so many reviewers of this book (and not just on Amazon) have had a few disasters. Commerical ovens are very different from domestic ones, hence the incorrect timings.
Secondly, I think it would benefit from a list of suppliers (squires kitchen or jane asher are all good for cases, colourings and decorations btw)
Most importantly, the recipes just do not go into depth, it appears as if they have been thrown together without any thought to the person reading them at home. For example, my blueberry muffins were dense and rubbery because I followed the recipe and over-worked the mixture. Muffin mix needs to be lumpy to achieve that fluffy texture, i know this as an experienced home cook, let alone pastry chef, and yet they didn't mention this in the book. It doesn't explain the importance of adding eggs slowly to creamed butter and sugar to avoid curdling, or how to correct it if this does happen. It would also be great if they had step-by-step pictures on how to ice or frost the cakes.
Overall, I have been massively disappointed with this book, I read another review that says the Hummingbird Bakery have amendments to the recipes on their website. I have never heard of this with any other book before! It goes to prove that they were not dedicated in making absolutely sure that the recipes work, or that they are commited in helping the home cook achieve gorgeous bakes; instead they rushed it out to make some money. I imagine that a lot of first time bakers have picked this up and have concluded that they are a disater in the kitchen, which is a shame.
The positives are that it is stunning but it's not all about looks as this book proves!
I can really recommend Leith's Baking Bible, Jane Asher's Beautiful Baking, Rachel Allen's Bake, ANYTHING by Delia and Nigella is fool-proof and reliable and James Martin has an excellent white chocolate and hazelnut cake recipe which I found in BBC Good Food Magazine, so it's worth looking that one up on their website.
I have also ordered Eat Me: by Xanthe Milton, hopefully this will be the cupcake book I've been searching for.
60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a waste of time and ingredients AVOID,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)I have been seduced by this book for the last time. Five recipes and five disasters later I am just about to consign my lemon meringue pie to the bin- together with the so called 'recipe' book that spawned it.
It's obvious what has happened here- the commercial recipes have just been divided by a factor of ten in order to scale them down for a domestic kitchen- but have never been properly tested.
If they had- they'd know that the resulting 'cakes' are either raw, or don't fit into the prescribed tins- or overflow when they rise- or don't rise because the mixtures are too runny, I could go on. But I don't need to, as all the other reviews quite eloquently describe exactly the same thing- the upshot being these recipes simply don't work.
I had already bought the ingredients so I stupidly thought I'd give it one more chance with their Lemon Meringue Pie. Here's what happened: The pastry base remained completely raw after blind baking for three times the given timings. The lemon filling needed three times the cooking time. The meringue was rock hard on the outside and completely raw on the inside.
Oh- and the ingredients were enough to make two pies.
And don't get me started on the Pound Cake. No amount of cooking would transform this batter into something solid that could be sliced.Eating raw cake mix by the spoonful is not something I have ever enjoyed. And once again- too much batter for the size of tin they call for,
Obviously this book was hastily cobbled together to cash in on the fashionability of the bakery, something which is all too common. The sad thing is- if I hadn't made scores of successful cakes and loaves over the years- this book would leave me convinced that I couldn't bake.
I am an experienced cook and a successful one- but this book has provided me with about 75% of the kitchen disasters I have experienced in nearly thirty years of cooking.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Recipes - disappointment,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)Though this book looks great, many of the recipes are grossly inaccurate in terms of quantities. There are so many problems with them...to much milk, too little baking powder...the list goes on. Whilst the bakery is great, the book has come out in haste without testing the recipes - this was a huge disappointment. Waste of money
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yummy recipes, bad instructions,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)I purchased this book after having eaten several time at the Bakery in South Ken. As noted by other reviewers, the recipes are delicious but the instructions/quantities are most definitely suspect. My first attempt was the Lemon Loaf - my loaf tin matched exactly the dimensions given in the recipe but it was far too small. During cooking the loaf overflowed and my oven looked like something out of a disaster movie, filled with cake trying to escape! I have since cooked the Lemon Loaf again, and several other of the loaf recipes, and have solved the problem by dividing into two smaller tins. I am intending to purchase a much larger tin for the future. I feel this is a book suited to the experienced baker (which I am) rather than a beginner, nevertheless I am pleased with my efforts so far and would recommend. Gorgeous photos as well
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars RUBBISH,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)Have just finished trying yet another recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. No disrespect to Mr. Malouf, but I was left thinking yet again, about why he decided to publish a book about recipes from the bakery, if he was not going to be honest about measurements etc. Just finished trying th Red Velvet Cupcakes,and they definitely did not come out like the pictures in the book. There was not enough red colouring or cocoa in it. I have now tried all of the cupcake recipes and have not been pleased with any of the results. I don't live far from the South Kensington shop and frequent it often, but these recipes taste nothing like what is available in the shop. To quote other people from the review, these recipes clearly were not tested for use in a domestic kitchen.
I am sorry that I ever wasted my money buying this book. Pretty pictures but a load of hot air in that book.
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Recipes EVER!,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)I was naturally attracted to this book as the cakes on the front look so inviting! I have tried two recipes from it since purchasing a week ago and both ended up in the bin; wasting not only time but money also. Much like another reviewer, I don't believe these recipes have been tried before publication. One called for 200g of cornflour to be whisked with 120ml of water. I should like to encourage whoever wrote this book to try this as its near to impossible. Fabulous pictures but dreadful and unworkable recipes. Don't waste your money on this one!
60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mistakes!!!,
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)The trouble with this book is there are so many mistakes! Most of the corrections are on the Hummingbird Bakery website but not all! I have just ruined a tray of banana and chocolate cupcakes by adding 1tbsp of baking powder, as stated in the recipe.,(it should probably have been 1 tsp). OK, I know that on reflection I should have spotted that error, but I was in a hurry and wasn't really thinking. Previously I made a disastrous Lemon Loaf (the correct recipe is on the website).
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cakes do not resemble the ones sold at the shop!,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Hardcover)As a Hummingbird cupcake devotee I eagerly awaited the delivery of my copy from amazon (having looked at sample copy one day at the Hummingbird I found that the £16.99 RRP was a little expensive). As other reviewers have stated the book is very stylish and does have beautiful pictures.
Now for the words of caution: So far I have tried just one recipe the "Hummingbird cake", my recollection of this cake is that it was very pineappley, dark and crumbly. The result obtained from following (to the letter) the recipe in the book is a pale banana cake with pineapple chunks - it tastes nice but neither resembles the picture in the book or the version sold in the Hummingbird bakery in colour or texture (it looks nothing like it - my husband was shocked when I showed him the photo in the book)! I love baking and most of my recipes are a success I feel a little disappointed and can't help thinking that Tarek Malouf has omitted some key ingredients from the recipes in this book. Maybe I was a little naive to think that this book would enable me to recreate my Friday afternoon treats at home! I suppose future experiments (perhaps using recipes for cakes I haven't already scoffed at the bakery) will perhaps make me change my rating for better or worse!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf (Hardcover - 15 April 2009)