Hummingbird Bakery – Authentic American Cupcakes?

I recently read a blog post about a supposed authentic American-style cakes and desserts place called Hummingbird Bakery here in London. This blogger described his red velvet cupcake in great detail and said it was the best he had ever had and that he could have easily had more than one, so I decided to go check it out and see if it was actually 1. authentic American, and 2. any good.

It has several locations in the city, with the closest to me being the Notting Hill branch, so that’s where we went. Now it’s located on Portobello Road, which if you aren’t familiar, is where an outdoor antiques/clothes/stuff/food market it held every Saturday and is especially rammed. And being as I went on a Saturday, the market was in full swing (which is a must-see in itself. You can find anything at that place) and the bakery was equally as packed. Good sign, right? Also being that it was a Saturday, they have some rule that no one can sit down to enjoy their cupcake in the teeny, tiny bakery because there just wouldn’t be enough room for all the rest of the queuing guests. So we took the cupcakes that we chose from the plethora that were available and ran home with them in two cute little cupcake boxes, but not before buying some antique silver sugar cube tongs at one of the stalls. Cupcakes and sugar tongs. They go together.

We chose four different cupcakes as this was for research of course, and because I really like cupcakes. We had the red velvet (obviously), vanilla with chocolate icing, carrot cake, and something called Jaffa cake.

Along with a cup of tea, we tried out our cupcakes. I chose to try the red velvet first, of course.

Well, where to begin. There was way too much icing on top. And I mean way. I scraped off a good inch of it and still had enough to my liking. And it was much too buttery. It definitely needed more powdered sugar in the mix. As for the cake, it was pretty dry and totally boring. It was nothing to rave about and frankly, if I had this in the States I would make remarks like, “this is the worst cupcake I’ve ever had” and “you can make better from Betty Crocker”. Which is, of course, true. It was distinctly drab and definitely too flavorless. A cupcake is supposed to explode with sweetness (but not overly so) and intense flavors of moist vanilla or chocolate or red velvet or whatever. But it just didn’t. I was very much underwhelmed.

It didn’t get better trying the vanilla one with chocolate icing. While I did enjoy the chocolate sprinkles that were on top, the icing was, again, too buttery and the cake was uninspiring and dry. The rest weren’t good, either, with me hating carrot cake so I refused to try it, and also hating Jaffa Cakes (they are so gross. Nasty fake cakey outside with chewy orange goo inside, it is horrendous), which I also refused to try.

So overall, not good. I would definitely not consider them authentic American-style cupcakes at all. I would consider them authentic English-style impersonation cupcakes. I won’t be going back.

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