In the last week I have made the jump from being 32 to 33. I’m not certain, but I think that may have taken me from being in my early thirties to my mid thirties. If I am still exempt from mid thirties, my boyfriend, who today turns 34, certainly isn’t. But we don’t mind. Its a week full of birthdays and that means one thing – a visit to the Hummingbird Bakery and an opportunity to eat Red Velvet Cake. Twice.
Each year on my birthday we go to The Dorchester for a champagne afternoon tea. Its a delightful tradition. We always seem to have the same wonderful waiter (Edward, I think, is his name) who at some point brings me out a rich chocolate cake with birthday candles while the pianist plays Happy Birthday to me. The Lapsang Souchong and cucumber sandwiches are all wonderful, as is the glass of Laurent Perrier at the start of the tea, but the terrible truth of the matter is that I might be just as happy if they plopped down an 8-inch Red Velvet Cake in front of me and handed me a bib & a spork. I know – I’m a cretin!
Despite my tendencies of spending every spare moment in my kitchen, trying every idea that pops into my head, I have never baked a red velvet cake. One reason is that I have a distinct fear that if I did, I would very possibly eat the whole cake in one sitting. The second reason, is that, why bother when Hummingbird Bakery does such a smash up job of making them? There are many bakeries in London trying to be all American and cupcakey, but none of them do a particularly good red velvet cupcake other than Hummingbird. And they don’t stop at cupcakes – they make the real deal – the whole cake. When I turned 30 I ordered one of their 10″ red velvet cakes to take to the birthday dinner party my friend was throwing for me at her home in Highgate. I’m not certain what my English friends thought of this American atrocity, seemingly composed of sugar, fat and e-numbers, but when I ended up having 2/3 of the cake to take home with me at the end of the evening, I wasn’t disappointed at all in their lack of interest, and I spent the next 2 days eating nothing but slices of cake with cups of coffee. I’m sure that weekend will have to answer for any future osteoporosis I might develop.
Those who avoid eating wheat & gluten (but also have a deep pocket book I might add) will be pleased to know that Hummingbird do their red velvet cake and cupcakes, as well as their vanilla and chocolate cakes, in a gluten free version. Expensive at £46 for an 8″ cake, but worth it, so you too can develop a taste for this cult status cake.
*Image obtained from http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/475341/Red-velvet-cupcakes