...more importantly cakes and treats from the Hummingbird bakery cook book. Some of us even ventured to the South Kensington branch (see featured image for this in action) on our recent Christmas adventure to London. We do love our food a lot. We love homemade cakes so much that we bake them for anyone in the team celebrating a birthday in the office. So much nicer than bringing bought treats in - although we do this a lot!

Here is a favourite recipe from moi and what I hope are some good tips. This is lifted from the Hummingbird book 'Cake Days' below - I highly recommend the carrot cake but this one is easier:

Red velvet cupcakes (or a full cake too!)

120g unsalted butter, softened (get it out of the fridge for a long time prior to starting, especially if you are old-fashioned like me in your cake baking and don't use electric appliances for creaming) 300g caster sugar 2 large eggs (make sure that these are at room temperature - they help your cakes to rise and if they're too cold, this doesn't happen!) 20g cocoa powder 40ml red food colouring (this is one whole bottle) 1 tsp vanilla essence 300g plain flour 1 tsp salt 240ml buttermilk (if you don't have this, you can simply use milk and lemon juice, prepare at the beginning and leave to almost curdle...) 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting

100g unsalted butter, softened 600g icing sugar 250g full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia) Coloured sprinkles or crumbs of 1 cupcake (I don't do this, what a waste of a cake - sprinkles or smarties or whatever takes your fancy!)

Cream your butter and sugar, til light and fluffy! If your butter isn't soft then you're going to need to try harder with your fork.

Slowly add your eggs (careful when breaking, nobody wants to eat a bit of shell) and mix in.

In a separate bowl, mix your food colouring with the cocoa powder to make a paste. Then add this to the main mixture and mix thoroughly.

Add the vanilla essence, and then gradually add your flour and buttermilk concoction in stages. Add it until it is all combined evenly and everything in the bowl is a lovely yummy red mixture.

Finally add the white wine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda - not sure what this does, but hey if Hummingbird says do it, then do it.

Pop them in cake cases/muffin cases (about two thirds full) and then into the oven at around 180C for approximately 20 minutes. When you take them out of the oven they should be springy to touch. I'm sure you all know when something is baked...

When they're cool, you can ice them. I'd make the icing and stick it in the fridge for a bit - cream the butter and icing sugar and then add the cream cheese. You don't want the cheese to be warm as this makes your icing runny. Add a bit of vanilla essence if you like or a bit of orange zest is nice. Then whack it on the top of the cupcakes or inbetween your big cake - either way, I'm not about pretty decorating sometimes.

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