Written by Amy Steadman • Published 01st February 2012

Hummingbird, Magnolia and a little bit of Marc, when it comes to cupcakes it’s all about the mmm…

It is safe to say that the PHA Fashion & Lifestyle girls LOVE cupcakes. With the Hummingbird Bakery just a few doors down, it’s hard to resist the temptation of a celebratory cupcake. “We’ve got a new follower on Twitter!”, “I just had a conversation with that Fashion Editor who never picks up the phone!”, “It’s Friday!” “I’ve just finished my lunch!”-  all, of course, require a cupcake.

Whilst Hummingbird originals are delicious, forking out (excuse the pun) £2.50 a time does mean less money to spend on other necessities like clothes, shoes, make-up, pick’n’mix…

So, inspired by The Great British Bake-Off (undoubtedly the best show on TV) and with a little help from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, I have taken to making my own. My personal favourites are chocolate with vanilla frosting for that sugary sweet all-American, worth every calorie, flavour sensation.


Image Courtesy of Babble Editors, flickr.com

Image Courtesy of Babble Editors, flickr.com

Fancy a go? Here’s the recipe:

Makes: 12

Prep time: 40 mins

Cooking time: 25 mins

Total time: 1 hr 5 mins

For the cupcakes:

100g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

140g caster sugar

1½tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120ml whole milk

1 egg

¼tsp vanilla extract

For the vanilla frosting:

250g icing sugar, sifted

80g unsalted butter, at room temperature

25ml whole milk

A couple of drops of vanilla extract


1.Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

2.Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

3.Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

4.Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until lightly golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.

5.A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

6.When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting on top and decorate with hundreds and thousands.


To make the vanilla frosting:

1.Beat the icing sugar and 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.

2.Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.

3.Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.


Lizzie’s top cupcake tips

As with all recipes, success is down to a little bit of trial and error. Here are a couple of modifications to ensure a winning bake!

  •  Don’t worry if you don’t have whole milk – I always use semi-skimmed and you can’t taste the difference.
  • Take your butter out of the fridge a little while before you start baking – when slightly melted it’s much easier to work with. If you forget just put it in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning them out, it will stop them sinking.
  • For the frosting ignore Hummingbird’s instruction to beat the icing sugar and butter together, unless you fancy sending a cloud of icing sugar across your entire kitchen. I’m still finding it behind the toaster… Instead, add the icing sugar, butter, milk and vanilla extract all at once and beat really well. Comes out exactly the same!
  • If your frosting is a little runny just add more icing sugar – the quantities for this don’t need to be exact, it’s all about getting the right texture.
  • And finally…ALWAYS lick the bowl!


So that’s it, delicious Hummingbird cupcakes from home. Simples.


Image Courtesy of yummyinthetummyblog, flickr.com

Image Courtesy of yummyinthetummyblog, flickr.com

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to write a small tribute to the cupcake mecca that is the Magnolia Bakery in New York. Made famous by the Sex & The City girls, it’s a must on your NYC to do list. And what’s even better is that it is on the same road as Marc Jacobs, which makes Lizzie a very happy girl…