I chose to make these after flicking through the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. They looked pretty tasty and promised a chocolate cupcake with a spoonful of cheesecake baked into it. How delicious does that sound?! Beware though! What you see is not what you get!
The recipe is as follows:
Chocolate sponge base
190g plain flour
120g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
40ml sunflower oil
1½ tsp white vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
140g cream cheese
60g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
100g milk chocolate chips
Cream cheese frosting
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter
125g cold cream cheese
Dusting of cocoa powder
I’m afraid to report that this recipe is deeply flawed. Firstly, the sponge mix was so stiff when I mixed all the ingredients together that I knew something definitely amiss. The instructions tell you to add 125ml water but I had to add a little more, just to incorporate all the dry ingredients.
The batter was more like a sticky, brownie type mix. I’ve never seen a sponge recipe as draconian as this. Water and oil? No butter or eggs. Only ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda? I should really have known this wouldn’t turn out right but if anybody knows how to make cupcakes, it’s surely those people at Hummingbird. Isn’t it?!
Once the batter was finished, the next disaster was the cheesecake filling. When you mix the ingredients together, you get a thin, runny, custard type consistency. There’s no way this was going to be ‘scooped’ on top of the sponge mix.
Nevertheless, I poured on the cheesecake mix and baked for 20 minutes. As you can see, the cheesecake part turned out to just be a coating.
Once frosted, they looked great. I had basically made a very dense, chocolate cupcake. The cheesecake part was a waste of time and effort, not to mention ingredients. The layer is so thin that the cheesecake flavour is not discernible at all.
Let’s face it, there are serious mistakes in this recipe. Perhaps it is a case of it being untested in a domestic kitchen? Or are there other reasons?
I think the sponge part could be greatly improved by using butter instead of oil, a couple of eggs instead of the water and substituting plain flour with self-raising to create a light, chocolate sponge.
The cheesecake filling needs to be less like a liquid so I would recommend using an egg yolk only instead of the whole egg.
So far, I haven’t tried these amendments but would say to anyone who wants to follow the original recipe – don’t! It will not turn out like it does in their pictures. This was a major disappointment to me as it was the first time I’ve used the book so I’m disgruntled to say the least. If all the recipes are going to be this bad, it makes me wonder if I should just bin it!
I now really, really wish that I’d bought Mary Berry’s cookbook instead but I was seduced by the Hummingbird photography and apparent accessibility of their recipes.
Have a look at this 2010 blog post from Cake/Off to see how others have fared when making these cupcakes. Unfortunately we only found this after the event! If this recipe was found to be flawed in 2010, I wonder why it still appears in the latest edition.
If anybody has had a similar experience, or would like to let us know what they think about any of the other recipes in this book, please let us know.
Original recipe: Click Here
Please also check out this thread: www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth