Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Hummingbird's Banana and Chocolate cupcakes
A couple of quid off The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook in Waitrose was all the excuse i needed to purchase yet another cupcake themed book. The recipes not only include Hummingbird's famous red velvet cupcakes, but a delicious array of cheesecakes, layercakes, muffins and traditional American pies.
But this is a cupcake blog and onto the job in hand i set about choosing this week's cupcake. In the end it was a toss up between the chocolate & banana or marshmallow cupcakes. In an unusually thrifty move i decided to use up the neglected banana's that were slowly browning in the fruit bowl.
Unlike Primrose's recipes, which use a mix of plain and self-raising flour, Hummingbird uses plain with a spoonful of baking powder. This immediately had me worried, as the recipe didn't specify a heaped or level tablespoon, would i be able to get baking powder amount accurate enough?
The recipe also called for a 'pinch of salt' which in my opinion was unnecessary, but this could be because i never salt my food to taste. I also felt that at 120g, there was far too much banana in the mix, which gave the final cupcake a squidgy texture despite an additional 8 minutes baking.
I was unconvinced by the banana sponge and wasn't very confident with the texture. After 23 minutes (the recipe called for 20 mins baking at 170c) the sponge was far too soft and after a further 5 minutes it wasn't much better, although on both occassions there was no raw batter remaining. The plain flour meant the cupcakes didn't rise as much as with other recipes i've used and i was left with a dip in the centre of the sponge.
If i were to bake these cupcakes again i'd use less banana (around 100g) and use self-raising flour, or even a mixture of the two. On a more positive note, the cupcakes did have a lovely caramel smell when they came out of the oven.
The banana cupcakes were topped off with a chocolate buttercream, which is pretty difficult to get wrong! The recipe did make the right consistency of buttercream but there wasn't enough to coat 12 cupcakes and i ended up making more. Instead of 300g of icing sugar its probably worth using 500g and upping the butter, milk and cocoa powder accordingly.
Overall the combination of banana and chocolate was pleasing, but i'd have to give the recipe a pretty average score of 5/10.