“Cupcakes and Curries” – our verdict

Anna: You and Maureen have done very well with the cake-baking this month. As you thought you would, being two expert bakers.  I’m afraid my only effort was the Blueberry and Sour Cream cake, which was delicious, and will be made again.  But unfortunately life got the better of me though and the time for cupcake-baking was allusive.   I’m sure the day will come soon when I’ll be glad to have the book to use though. I’m definitely going to try the vanilla cupcakes…maybe for Peter’s birthday in a few weeks.

Kirstin: Ooo…you could try the salty chocolate cake for his birthday. I never got around to making that one; it was the Cake that Got Away! But oh I did love the mojito cakes. And the vanilla cupcakes recipe I know I will use forever now. In fact, I’ve enjoyed baking so much this month that I have moved my Kitchen Aid properly onto a surface in the kitchen.

Anna: Really?

Kirstin: Well, there’s something about baking in April. That said, I loved that book so much I know I will be dipping into it throughout the year. And even though I wasn’t sure I liked the way the chapters were themed (by season and Valentine’s day etc), I loved it by the end of the month. It’s a wonderful, wonderful book.

Anna: What did you think to the Curries book? Would you make anything from it again?

Kirstin: I only made one recipe but it was so good, so very good that I will make it again. And I know that if I ever need to make a curry that it is definitely the book to use.

Anna: As I feared, whilst the recipes taste great – and I think we all agree that they did – they take an AGE to make. And lots of different pans. And spice grinders.  I want to make more of her recipes, but they are definitely weekend dishes. Not a curry to russle up after work. I think I was hoping this book would be different from the other’s of hers that I have, but sadly not.

Kirstin: I guess you can’t make a curry in a hurry!

Anna: So I’m handing over to you and Maureen for next month’s book. Unfortunately Peter’s going to be the master chef in our house due to my work schedule, and it’s best for us all if he sticks to what he does best. Which is a shame, as I’m very excited by the book.  I’ll have to come round to dinner…. See you in June!

“Cupcakes and Curries” – our verdict

“Hot Chocolate Cupcakes” from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

Maureen: Do you know what the problem with this cookbook is? The quantities are too small. If this were an American book, they would have a yield of at least two dozen cupcakes. That makes sense. If you’re going to make it, you might as well get a decent batch out of it. Then you can eat some and have plenty leftover to give to friends, have the next day, whatever.

Leceia: Do I really need to remind you of the obesity problem in the U.S.? Do you think their cookbooks have anything to do with that?

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“Hot Chocolate Cupcakes” from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

“Apple Streusel Cake” from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

Maureen: After a fantastic barbeque of beef tagliata (thanks Nigella!) with asparagus, aubergine, peppers and halloumi, it’s time for dessert. Tonight it’s apple struesel cake.

Andrew (11) and Nicholas (7): Hooray! Cake!!

Alice (Visiting grandmother): Has your mom ever made you a cake you haven’t liked?

Andrew: Yes! The prune cake!

Andrew and Nicholas: Yuck! Awful! Worst Ever! Disgusting!

Tim: There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no such thing as a microwave cake.

Andrew: It was truly disgusting. It was the worst thing ever!

Maureen: Moving on from the microwave cake, which we can agree was a crime against gastrononmy. What do we think about this one?

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“Apple Streusel Cake” from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

Vanilla Cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days.

Tom: So, what did we all think of the cupcakes?

Jenny: They were so lovely after all those hot-cross buns. I’ve been living on hot-cross buns for two days.

Kirstin: So Miles has been asking me why it is called Good Friday?

Jenny: It’s really Bad Friday. It’s really bad and sad. It’s the saddest day of the year.

Kirstin: Was Jesus precipitating his trip to the cross? Did he know what he was doing when he went to The Temple?

Jenny: Of course he did.

Kirstin: I thought these cupcakes were moister than Nigella’s recipe. And I downloaded the app to learn to do the frosting (thank you Kathryn for the tip!). But I couldn’t do her swirl. I watched it five or six times, and I tried, but the swirl was not happening.

Tom: Her icing was stiffer. I think you need stiffer icing to do the swirl.

Continue reading “Vanilla Cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days.”

Vanilla Cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days.

“Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie” from “Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

I apologise but there is no dialogue for this recipe. The reason is quite simple. We were having too good a time for me to start writing it all down. It’s also possible that while we were eating this dessert the conversation stayed from the quality of the pie to more important topics, such as the leap of faith required to rely on the public bus system in the Lake District.

We all loved the pie, though, but you should know that the crowd consisted of a majority of Americans– three native born Americans, four boys with dual American-British citizenship and the small minority of one native born British person. The boys ate it all, quickly and enthusiastically. I do think the chocolate-peanut butter combination, which is the root of the beauty of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup– might be an acquired taste, and one that is particularly American.

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“Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie” from “Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

“Chicken Tikka Masala” from I Love Curry and “Mojito Mini Cupcakes” from Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

Tom: So, what did you all think of the curry? Those were clean plates!

Kate: Completely mopped up. Yup. We were demanding more sauce. You need to triple the quantity of that sauce.

Liam: It doesn’t need rice. The naan bread was great.

Mick: I preferred eating the curry with the bread, rather than using weapons.

Kate: It had a gentle but intense heat that crept up on you. It didn’t overwhelm you, but left you wanting more!

Liam: I second that.

Kate: You just want another hit.

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“Chicken Tikka Masala” from I Love Curry and “Mojito Mini Cupcakes” from Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

“Malted chocolate cupcakes” from Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

Cook Kirstin: I am serving these cakes as the pirate treasure at the end of our adventure. Do you like them Pirate Ella and Captain Miles?

Captain Miles: Yes, I do.

Pirate Ella: Arrrr. I like them, I do.

Captain Miles: Arrr…. they’re so so yummy.

Cook Kirstin: What do you like about them and should I make them again? I really love that they are so very moist.

Captain Miles: I like the maltesers.

Pirate Ella: I like the icing because it’s super chocolatey.

Captain Miles and Pirate Ella (in unison): We love these! Make them again please, Pirate Mummy!

Cook Kirstin: Shiver me timbers, I will. And get that parrot away from the crumbs please.

“Malted chocolate cupcakes” from Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

“Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

Lee: People don’t like my comments, because I overdo it.

Tom: We love your comments Lee! Look, a cheesecake! With no handprint in it! Do you remember the time you thought you would help Kirstin when she made a cheesecake and by taking it out of the oven and then managed to leave a handprint in the cheese part?

Lee: I do, I do. You guys will never let me forget it. See this is a naked cheesecake. Who drank my wine?

Tom: You did.

Lee: Did I? Oh. How could I do that? It’s like losing my passport, isn’t it?

Ella (whispering): Please do not talk about fish or clocks, because they are the answers to our riddles.

Lee: Mothers’ Day has been postponed, like Castro postponed Christmas! Because this mother was not available. But like a phoenix, she rises from the fire, and she’s here today!

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“Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

“Grasshopper Pie” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

Maureen: We’re having Grasshopper Pie today. I think this is something my mom made a lot of when we were growing up, but I’m equally sure she probably used jello to make it. Maybe I shouldn’t admit to the world that Mom used jello as an ingredient.

Tim: Why not? It was the 1970s in America. Everybody did.

Maureen: Nicholas wanted to have it because it’s his favourite colour– green. Kirstin tried to make a similar thing for us back in October from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen, but she couldn’t find the liqueurs anywhere in London. We had devil’s food cake instead, which was pretty good. I finally found an online source for the liqueurs, but we never made it. On to this grasshopper pie. What does everyone think?

Andrew (11): This looks mouth-wateringly good.

Nicholas (7): This has got to be one of the best ones of the month!

Andrew: This is very, very, very good.

Nicholas: I’d give it 10 very goods and 10 stars as well.

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“Grasshopper Pie” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

“Whoopie Pie” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

Maureen: I’ve really wanted to make Whoopie Pies for the last couple of months, ever since that avalanche of stories that said Whoopie Pies were the Next Cupcake. They also said Whoopie Pies were a great American tradition, but I don’t buy that, because I never remember having them in all the years we lived there.

Tim: We were in the wrong areas, I think.

Maureen: I’m not so sure about that. They say it’s an Amish thing. Listen, I’ve been to Amish Country. I never had a whoopie pie there.

Tim: No, apparently Vermont is taking credit for them.

Maureen: Oh well, if that’s the case, that would explain why I don’t know about them. I do like the story of how it got its name, though. Apparently, when men opened their lunch boxes and saw these inside, they would say, “Whoopie!” What do you think of them?

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“Whoopie Pie” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”