Monday 7 May 2012

Glitz & Glamour Hummingbird Cake

Cake clubs are springing up all over the place and last year Baking Addict (a.k.a. Ros) and I heard about one run by Cakes4Fun, a company that runs cake decorating classes in Putney, west London. For £10 we could gain a place in the evening session where we had to bring a cake on the theme of "glitz and glamour", and would be able to meet like-minded bakers, swap ideas and recipes and more importantly try all of their cakes!

This was before I had really got into baking or cake decorating in a big way and was struggling to think of something I could make - especially as pretty much the only rule was "no fondant!". In the end I turned to a cookery book that I had recently been given - the Hummingbird Bakery's Cookbook - and realised that I had never actually made their namesake cake. I was also pretty unsure what a hummingbird cake would turn out like, since it contains pineapple, nuts, and bananas (I hate bananas!) - I have to admit I prefer chocolate cakes or ones without banana at least and I thought that making it for the cake club was a good idea, because if I didn't like it, I wouldn't have to eat it!

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos while I was making the cake, as it was before I had started this blog (though there are pictures of the finished product further down).

I found the cakes very springy when they came out of the pan, but they also looked quite thick - I had split the mixture into three pans to make three layers as shown in the recipe, but maybe the diameter of my pans was smaller than suggested, as the cakes turned out pretty deep and when I layered them together, I had a very tall cake!

I also found the buttercream frosting far too runny and had to add a lot more icing sugar in order to be able to cover the cake without it all running off. Since then I've met a few people who have said they always have problems with the frosting recipes in the Hummingbird Bakery books so it isn't just me!

I also wondered how I could make it more glitzy and glamorous and around the same time had a rare shopping trip to Hobbycraft, where I came across a Wilton candy melt mould in the shape of girly items such as a handbag, lipstick and compact mirror, and also for the first time came across edible lustre spray. This was about 6 months ago or more, and since then I've seen Dr Oetker has brought out a spray which you can buy in Tesco, but at the time it seemed pretty unusual.

I began by melting the candy melts - which were pink - in the microwave, and filling the shapes in the mould.

They looked pretty cute when they were set!

But they just weren't glitzy enough... so I sprayed them gold!
I discovered two things at this point - firstly, the lustre spray didn't hold well to the shapes. I think it's because the surface of the candy melts was too shiny or slippery and it would have worked fine if I was spraying fondant or cake, but as you can see from the picture below, when I touched the candy melts the gold rubbed off. It was a little better after it had set but I don't think the lustre spray was particularly designed to be used in this way.

The second thing I discovered was that I don't particularly like the taste of candy melts! This was the first time I had used them and I think I was expecting it to taste like, well, candy! Instead it tastes like icing sugar and as if you are eating a giant lump of icing. I think it would be fine if it was covering something like a cake pop but I don't particularly recommend eating candy melts by themselves. However, I've noticed more recently that there are flavoured candy melts available - I think I saw peanut butter - which might be nicer than the standard flavour, which I think is vanilla.

Here are the candy shapes placed rather haphazardly on top of the cake.... and then I sprayed the whole thing gold! I don't think I really knew what I was doing at this point - and I want to underline again that this was before I got into cake decorating in a big way! It looks quite random and having an entire cake sprayed gold is not something I would do again!

It's pretty bling!

I thought my cake looked very poor in comparison to the other members of the Cake Club, though none of them were as novice as I was. Funnily enough I was the only person who had not made a chocolate cake, so mine was quite welcome after the chocolate overload.... and while it may look a bit OTT, I can promise you that the Hummingbird cake tasted great! It was really light and moist and is definitely something I would make again. I just wouldn't spray it gold this time!

Here are some of the other cakes that people brought along to the Cake Club. If one of these is yours please let me know!

This cake below with the amazing chocolate collar and gold-sprayed maltesers (see, I wasn't the only one with the lustre spray!) was made by Ros from TheMoreThanOccasionalBaker.

We tried a piece of everyone's cake but after a while could only manage a few bites of each one, as there was a lot of cake! Here's the haul that I got to take home :-)

I think that cake clubs are a great idea and I'd love to go along to one again, but I was a little surprised that Cakes 4 Fun charged £10 per person - I know they have overheads as they run a shop and classes, but we didn't actually learn or gain anything from the class other than talking to the other participants about their cakes. As far as I know, other cake clubs are more informal meet-ups that don't charge a fee. Unfortunately the other reason I'm banning myself from joining the Clandestine Cake Club at the moment is that I am supposed to be on a diet and really do not need any more excuses to eat cake!
As this is a Hummingbird cake I am entering it into this month's Alphabakes challenge that I am hosting as the magic letter is H. I baked this several months ago before I had started this blog, and kept meaning to add it as a new post, so now seems as good a time as any!


  1. I also wanted to make a hummingbird cake when the letter H was announced. but the honey walnut cake just seemed to happen in the mean time and I guess I'll stick to that one for my entry :D.
    BTW m sure the cake tasted good minus all that bling :D

    1. Yes, it tasted really nice - I forgot to say you couldn't even taste the banana, which in my opinion is a good thing!

  2. Wow! That's bling! Been racking my brains what begins with H and Hummingbird is a clever choice!

    1. Thanks - I made this one a while ago and hadn't put it on my blog yet, then suddenly remembered it was just right for this month's challenge!

  3. I can vouch for the delicious taste of your hummingbird cake! It's one of my favourite cakes although I have not made it for a while. Gosh Cake Club seems such a long time ago - how time flies! Great entry for AlphaBakes!

    1. I just remembered I hadn't written this up yet, and it begins with H! Do you remember who made any of the other cakes in my photos?


Thank you for your comment, all feedback is appreciated - even the negative! However due to a lot of spam comments on this blog I have had to turn on captcha. If you have problems leaving a comment please email me at