Hummingbird Chocolate Cupcakes – sweet and easy

chocolate hummingbird cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing

If you like American style cupcakes you will love these. The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is one of my favourites, partly because it is a stylish book that was quite original when it came out. It has a lot of great recipes, including my favourite carrot cake recipe.

I should admit that I don’t particularly like this type of cupcake, I think because I was brought up on Victoria Sponge. I wouldn’t normally include a recipe on my blog that I don’t love but that said, I’m sharing this with you because I know so many people are fans of the Hummingbird Café and their cakes.

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you may remember my slight obsession with the Hummingbird Café and my desire to actually visit one. I did finally get to the one in Islington and the cakes are beautifully laid out and appealing. I chose a carrot cake muffin to see if it tasted the same as when I make it, which I think it did. I don’t know if they use the same recipes in the Cafés but it certainly seemed like it.

hummingbird cafe islington

Hummingbird Café display, Islington

I wanted to test their chocolate cupcakes out and I needed to make something to take to my daughter’s netball fundraising evening. Which seemed like the perfect opportunity: I didn’t think the girls would be too critical! As it was they were only critical of my netball playing skills. I wish I could say I was surprised…

I also wanted to try out some white paper cases to see how they looked with chocolate sponge.  As you can see, it turns out they don’t look particularly good, whatever you do.

I opted for a small amount of vanilla icing with some pretty sprinkles in Spring colours. As the cupcakes are not intensely chocolatey in taste I thought vanilla icing would be a good match.

hummingbird cupcakes

Sprinkles, sprinkles everywhere

The recipe uses, I assume, the American method but I adapted the method slightly as I didn’t want to overwork the flour, having done so in the past in other recipes of theirs. It gave a good result so I am sharing my method rather than theirs and it is extremely easy. The book says that this recipe makes 12 cupcakes. I made twice the recipe quantity and got 15 muffin size cupcakes.



100g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

140g caster sugar

1½ teaspoons baking powder

40g butter at room temperature

120ml whole milk

1 egg

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract


Set the oven to 170°C. Line a muffin tin or tins with paper cases.

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder.

Beat the butter until soft and whisk in the milk, egg and vanilla extract until it is all well mixed together. Don’t worry if the butter is still in little lumps.

Mix in the flour mixture and spoon into the paper cases.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are well risen and springy to the touch.

Leave the cakes in the tin for a little while before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.

I have used a small amount of vanilla icing and you can find the Hummingbird icing recipe (which is fast becoming my go to recipe for icing) in this Vanilla Cupcake post.

And a special thank you to my wonderful daughter Eden who arranged the beautiful Mothers’ Day flowers you can see in the top photo: not only do they (and she) light up the room, the flowers even go with the sprinkles. And what more could you ask for?

Well, maybe just breakfast in bed at 6.45am on Mothers’ Day made entirely by my very grown-up 8 year old, Linus. He made me cereal, fruit and bread and knowing me well, even managed to find a couple of pieces of chocolate for the tray. He wasn’t sure which knife was the bread knife and managed to slice the bread with the scariest carving knife we own. Without incident!

mothers day breakfast

The Best Mothers’ Day Breakfast and Cards Ever!

Thank you kiddiewinks, love you both!

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Cupcakes, Recipes

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Beautiful but if you don’t think they’re delicious, I’m sticking to cake from the box for cupcakes. My coworkers like Betty’s and Duncan’s recipes just fine. Love the sprinkles! Happy belated mum’s day to you!

    • Thank you – I’m amazed that given your job, your house, your dogs and your garden you even find the time to make cake, even from a box!

      • Lol! My life is actually very calm, despite seeming busy. I do get up very early and do most garden things (like water) before work. That’s mostly because of the heat we get here. Raised beds and mulching make maintenance easier (fewer weeds to pull). And truly the plants just do their own things. As for the Gs, having three means they do lots of playing together. I threw the ball for Godiva today for 30 minutes but then she and George decided wrestling would be more fun. Guinness loves his napping.

        Work is my wild card! But since I enjoy baking and cooking (eating too), I seem to find the time. I’m trying a super easy low fat/cal pumpkin muffin recipe this weekend. It’s just a can of pumpkin and a box of yellow cake mix.

      • And I actually forgot to mention the obvious, your blog, which is a lot of work too! Have a great weekend and enjoy the pumpkin muffins.

      • I was skeptical about a two ingredient recipe (can of pumpkin and box of yellowcake mix) but the muffins are delicious. Bruce even liked them. But i did add a few improvements: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.


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