Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cup Cakes

ta da

There was a time when cup cakes were buns. I blame Sex & the City for our recent (now waning, I know!) obsession with all things cup cake and this surely must be THE cup cake of the noughties. As Méadhbh explained to me this afternoon, if angels came to bake, they’d bake Red Velvet Cupcakes.

At the height of this obsession, “The Hummingbird Bakery” was where any Londoner worth their Celebrity groupies went to buy their kids birthday cakes, except birthday cakes were so 90s – the noughties were all about the birthday cup cakes. Tarek Malouf, the creator and proprietor of “The Hummingbird Bakery” writes in his introduction about visiting cousins in America (probably at the height of Sarah Jessica Parker munching her way through the now world famous Magnolias cupcake) and realised this was a craze soon to hit Europe. He was right. The Hummingbird Bakery is now in all the trendy areas of London – Portobello Road, Soho, Richmond and I see he has three shops in Dubai now too.


And this is his first cookery book.

hummingbird bakery

The basic vanilla cup cake in this is also amazing – moist and fresh as the day they were cooked days later. (Ill post later) I’ve also made his coconut and pineapple cupcakes, lemon cup cakes and I have his marshmallow cupcakes on my (long) list of new things to try. But his Red Velvet I go back to every time. I do need to move on but this is the real winner in the book I feel….. pure Angel Food!


60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar
1 x 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

For the frosting/icing
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold


  •  Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
  • Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.

butter & sugar

  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk.

add red

  • Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.

add flour

  • Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full (I use an ice cream scoop) and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.

pour batterbatter in tray

  • Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

cooked on wire tray

  • Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the icing sugar the remaining 20g of the unsalted 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 mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it 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. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.


  •  When the cupcakes are cold, pipe (or simply spread if you cant be bothered with the faf) the cream cheese frosting on top.

icedon a plate



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