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General Recipe FAQs

Follow the latest goings on with our blog and find answers from the Hummingbird Bakers to your most frequently asked baking questions. Our FAQs are updated regularly, so keep checking back for updates!

Unfortunately we can’t answer individual queries via the blog. Baking has many variables and it takes practise. Even at our bakeries, it doesn’t always go perfectly, so don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t work first time. Making the perfect cake or cupcake is both a science and a skill – it’s not easy being this tasty.

Reduced Fat, Reduced Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Can I substitute butter or sugar in the recipes?

We make all our cakes with quality butter, sugar and whole milk. Our goodies are meant to be enjoyed as indulgent treats, so we try not to skimp on flavour! Using reduced fat ingredients and sugar substitutes will affect the fat content and this will affect both flavour and the results. We haven’t tried our recipes with these substitutes, so if you wish to try out new ingredients it will be an experiment.

Can I reduce the amount of fat or sugar in the recipes?

We don’t recommend it as you will not get the intended results or flavour. It is important to remember that our cakes are American-style and this might mean that recipes are a little sweeter than you are used to, but this is the American way! Plenty of our recipes have less sweetness – aside from our savoury muffin recipes you can also try our Buttermilk Pound Loaf, Nutty Apple Loaf, Rhubarb and Almond Loaf or our Breakfast Bran Muffins. There’s something to suit every level of sweet tooth.


Can you post your recipes online?

Due to copyright restrictions, we aren’t at liberty to post without the permission of our publishers.

Can I post your recipe online on my blog or website?

We don’t hold the rights to our recipes so we aren’t at liberty to give them out without permission from our publishers. If a recipe is posted without permission, the publishers will pursue copyright infringements as they see fit.

Are your recipes correct?

Yes, all our recipes are correct as written and they have been thoroughly tested before print. There were only two corrections in our very first edition of The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and this had a very limited release of only 3,000 copies. These corrections were for the Lemon Loaf and the Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake and this was concerning the measurements for the flour (the correct measurements being 350g of plain flour).

Who tests your recipes?

There is a rigorous three stage test before a recipe reaches our cookbooks. Our team test the recipe, then a home economist tries it out and finally it goes to a team via our publishers. Most importantly, all our recipes are eventually tested by our home bakers who overwhelmingly continue to be very happy with their results.

Sometimes the amounts or the results can vary. Is this normal?

Absolutely. In our bakeries, no batch comes out looking exactly like the last and even our expert bakers have to throw out the odd batch that isn’t up to standard. Baking is an exact science and there are many variables that can affect the outcome from the size of eggs you use to the temperature of the oven. However, taste is the most important thing.

Are you sure this recipe should use this much of an ingredient?

Yes, all our recipes are correct as written and we recommend you test them out as written before altering the recipe. Lots of home bakers and cooks adapt recipes to suit their own personal taste and this is fine. Just make sure you’re not missing out on something even tastier first!

Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free and Vegan Substitutes

Do you sell gluten-free cakes in your shops?

We have a Made Without range which is made without gluten, but because we bake onsite it is made in a gluten environment. As a result, we don’t certify our Made Without range as gluten-free. We sell Made Without Red Velvet Cupcakes and Vanilla Cupcakes in our stores, but there is a greater selection (including whole layer cakes) online. If you’d like more information about our Made Without range, please see our website or contact us.

Do you sell any vegan or dairy-free ranges?

As of yet, we haven’t developed any vegan or dairy-free ranges.

Can I make your cakes from the cookbooks with gluten-free substitutes?

If you want to make gluten-free cupcakes you can use gluten-free flour instead of normal flour. We recommend Doves Farm Self Raising Gluten-Free Flour instead of Plain Flour. Use the Doves Farm flour in exact amounts in each recipe. You can also substitute bicarbonate of soda and baking powder with gluten-free alternatives. Using these substitutes, you should get great gluten-free results.

Can I make your cakes from the cookbooks with egg substitutes or similar vegan substitutes?

We haven’t found an egg substitute that gives results we’d recommend, but do experiment and see if you can create something to your taste.