Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes

I thought I’d follow up on my post about the Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes I made the other week as I tried out a second recipe fromĀ The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and had a much better experience with the recipe this time.

Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes I

This time I made the banana and chocolate cupcakes. I used my silicone cupcake cases which are slightly smaller than the paper “muffin” cases I used last time, but bigger than regular paper fairy cake cases. In these the recipe made exactly 12 cakes with a couple of them overflowing the cases in the oven. The chocolate frosting was the exact right quantity – there was a bit left in the piping bag but I wouldn’t have got all the cakes iced with any less. The only thing I thought was wonky was the amount of chocolate they suggested grating on the top. I can’t remember how much they suggested but I know I only used a fraction of my Green & Blacks for grating before eating the rest whole!

Next time I’ll probably put a bit more banana in the cake mix as I didn’t think they were quite banana-y enough but that’s just a getting-the-taste-perfect issue not a recipe problem. They were lovely!


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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

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I loved the book of The Time Traveller’s Wife but found it such a unique quirky kind of a thing that I wasn’t sure it’s success could be repeated. It was completely unbelievable whilst being completely true to itself and exceedingly captivating at the same time. I was really pleased to find that this book manages to pull off the same kind of trick without in any way emulating the first book. It is basically a ghost story – a genre that generally just annoys me by breaking what I consider to be the rules – but it’s much more than your average haunting in Highgate cemetery. The ghostly elements don’t seem out of place and the human characteristics are spot on. Really pleased this turned out to be fabulous!

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

I picked up this recipe book, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, with some book tokens I had for my birthday as it seemed to be full of the kind of cake recipes I want. I have endless cookbooks full of recipes for ordinary cakes but these seemed to be the kind of more exciting flavoured cakes that catch your eye in a bakery that I’d love to be able to make at home.

First recipe I tried out was the Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

They were as delicious as expected but there were enough things slightly wonky with the baking process that I thought I’d write them down for another time. These may be my fault or the book’s, I’m not yet sure.

  • I was using UK muffin cases for a cupcake recipe as the book directs and yet the mix only just about made 8 cakes and not 12 as it said. (Though I’m quite happy with an 8 cake recipe I wonder if I put too much mix in each case.)
  • The recipe has you put chopped up strawberries right at the bottom of the case and the cake mix on top. This made the cakes difficult to get out of the cases to eat and I think they may have been better with some cake mix under the berries and will try that next time.
  • The cream cheese frosting mix would indeed have been just the right amount for 12 cakes…. but I only had eight.
  • The recipe suggests smashing up 200g of digestives for the topping. That would have been way way way too much. Two or three biscuits would have been plenty.

Hummingbird have a list of baking tips on their website which I’ve had a look at and am pretty certain I followed the instructions correctly. In any case the results weren’t perfect but they were delicious and I’ll be doing plenty more baking from this book soon.

At The Chime Of A City Clock by DJ Taylor

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I dropped into the library on Friday to return some overdue books and ended up paying off all Darren’s library fines by mistake. I wasn’t going to borrow any books because the fine was making buying books look cheap but I spotted this book with a Nick Drake quote for a title and couldn’t resist. On Sunday I had most of the day to myself and picked the book up to read and finished it a few hours later. I can’t remember the last time I did that. The book doesn’t have a great deal to do with the Nick Drake song except for the obvious chiming of clocks as you go through the book. It’s set in 1930s London with the financial crisis playing out in the background. Loads of details evoke the period nicely. The plot is a bit thin, which wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t subtitled as “a thriller” – it really doesn’t deliver on that. There are criminals chased here but it’s not big on action or suspense. If I’d read the book at a slower pace I think I’d have liked it less – and reading books slowly seems to be what I do these days – but a few hours on a Sunday going round the London of the thirties with a door-to-door carpet cleaner salesman and the characters he encounters worked out to be very enjoyable.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.