- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd; Later printing edition (15 April 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845978307
- ISBN-13: 978-1845978303
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 1.6 x 24.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 834 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook Hardcover – 15 Apr 2009
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This cookbook is a classic. The cupcakes are fool proof, the brownies perfectly gooey, and you can't go wrong with its carrot cake guaranteed to make your stomach rumble. --The Independent
A collection of indulgent recipes from The Hummingbird Bakery. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product description
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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.
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.
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