Yet another birthday cake!

I have always been intrigued by the red velvet cake, but shockingly have never tried a “proper” version. I tried my hands at some red velvet cupcakes, but I evidently did not put enough food colouring in as it came out brown rather than red. They tasted brilliant though, and I was immediately a fan. I did, however, still want to try the red velvet cake from Hummingbird Bakery (I got the recipe for my cupcakes from their cookbook) – but as I wasn’t keen on trekking to South West London in the winter, I decided I would wait till their store opened in Soho.

In the end, I didn’t have to do that, as R got me this very cake for my birthday! 🙂

As you may have noticed, my previous post was about R’s birthday, and this is because we have birthdays that are only a week apart. It can be either good or bad – depending on how you see it. Good as we get to have a joint celebration somewhere in between, bad because there is an endless supply of cake in those 2 weeks. Which is what happened last month – I *almost* feel guilty when I think of how much cake I ate in December, what with birthdays and Christmas and all…

But back to the gorgeousness that is this red velvet cake. I love the simple yet effective way the cake was decorated, with some red velvet cake crumbs sprinkled atop the cream cheese frosting. Definitely something I will do in the future when decorating cakes. The fact that it was a triple layer cake also made it look that much better – height is obviously a plus when it comes to cakes! And just look at the beautiful way the icing is done on the edges of the cake – I can only wish I could do it so skillfully.

The cake itself was very moist, and surprisingly not too dense or “sickly” considering its size. I did find the icing a bit too sweet though, and found that after a while, I had to leave some of it behind. (Shocking I know) It wouldn’t stop me from eating this again though!

And of course, there had to be some food as well. I was actually (very unfortunately) on call on my birthday, so R had the entire day to shop and cook dinner. He made this delicious rack of lamb, served with potatoes and roasted vegetables. The lamb was ridiculously good, with a crispy herby crust on the outside and tender meat on the inside. I sometimes find it amusing how R never cooked before he met me  – and now, here he is producing such yummy food. Am not complaining though. 🙂

Note: there are 2 photos of the dish being served in different ways as we were experimenting! 😉 I also apologise for the terrible photos, but I was hungry and for some reason my light (and my brain!) wasn’t cooperating!

Herb crusted rack of lamb with potatoes boulangere and courgettes provencal
Based on this recipe by Gordon Ramsay

For the lamb:

  • 2 large racks of Lamb, cut in half with 3 bones each portion
  • 4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs
  • 100g grated parmesan
  • Sprig parsley
  • Sprig thyme
  • Sprig coriander
  • Sprig rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons English mustard

1. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, and seal in hot olive oil. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a blender, thoroughly mix all the herb crust ingredients together, season and set aside.
3. Remove the lamb from the oven and brush with the mustard before dipping into the herb crust mix covering the fat thoroughly.
4. Allow to rest and before serving simply return the lamb to the oven for a further 2-3 minutes.

For the courgettes provencal:

  • 6 large courgettes cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 500g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 1 sprig coriander
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

1. Sauté the courgettes and rosemary in olive oil, season and add a dash of vinegar.
2. Add the tomatoes, basil and coriander and cook for approximately 5 minutes further seasoning with a little more oil and vinegar.
3. Allow to cook until the vegetables have just begun to soften.

For the potatoes:

  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 large Desiree potatoes peeled and finely sliced, on a mandolin if possible

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and infuse with thyme, rosemary and crushed garlic cloves. Strain before use.
3. Gently sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until softened and lightly colored.
4. Rub an oven proof dish with olive oil and layer the onions followed by the potatoes, repeating until the dish is full finishing with a final layer of potato. Make sure to season each layer as you go.
5. Pour over the stock until it comes 2/3rds of the way up the dish. Press down on the mixture to help the liquid absorb and finally drizzle a little olive oil on top.
6. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes or until soft and golden on top.

To serve:
Slice the lamb into 3 chops per person, serve with the courgettes and a generous helping of the potatoes before spooning over a little of the vinaigrette from the vegetables.

For the cake:
Go to the wonderful Hummingbird Bakery (branches in Old Brompton Road, Portebello Road & Wardour Street)

41 thoughts on “Yet another birthday cake!”

  1. That’s a beautiful cake, I am hoping my next red velvet effort with gel food colouring will actually look red! So lovely he knew what you wanted for your birthday and went out and got it for you. My other half needs serious “guidance”.

    1. I know, I was quite jealous of how red their red velvet cake was – mine was so boring and plain in comparison. Might try beetroot juice next time as I can’t bring myself to use so much red food colouring! 😛

  2. *shakes head* I think I’ve been stressing too much about work, my first thought about the cake was, “Too much blood loss! Where’s the diathermy??”.

    But its awesome no? I tend to shuck away the top part of the cream cheese too as I think too much sweetness just overpowers my tongue.

    1. HAHA. How can you be stressing about work when you’ve had a whole week off? 😛

      And yup, it’s definitely awesome.

    Those racks of lamb look and sound splendid! I love red velvet cake (more so than cupcakes) it also looks so elegant and sexy!

  4. in terms of Red Velvet, i gotta say Hummingbird is the still the best I’ve found in London but then I might’ve forgotten some small patisseries/cupcakeries who knows! LOLA’s is great too but the taste of Hummingbird tops it still. Frosting a little on the sweet side (LOLA’s probably gets this right instead) – nevertheless, what a beauty!!!

    Lovely lamb rack. I love how beautifully you’ve plated it all


  5. isn’t the point of being listed on foodgawker – to provide recipes?

    i dont see a red velvet cake recipe… and that was the picture i clicked on to get here. FAKE OUT. 😡

    1. Hi Anna. Thanks for stopping by, and I’m sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for. Though if you had looked carefully, I did provide a link for a red velvet cake/cupcake recipe (by Hummingbird Bakery, yes) in the post itself.

      And on another note – foodgawker describes their site as ” a place for you to discover new sites, dishes, recipes and ingredients to inspire your own cooking”. From what I understand, that means that providing recipes isn’t the only reason for being featured on the site.

  6. Happy Belated Birthday hon!

    I still need to attempt a red velvet something. Don’t know what that will be yet. But the red velvet cupcakes from Magnolia in New York still have my heart =)

    Btw, I’m ROTFL at Wild Boar’s diathermy comment.

    1. I definitely need to try the red velvet cupcakes from Magnolia if I ever make it to New York. 🙂

      I was just thinking – everyone else must think we’re mad, making medical jokes about cake. Lol.

  7. I just saw your post on foodgawker, and I immediately clicked on it when I saw the word ‘Hummingbird’. I didn’t even look at the picture and just assumed this was a hummingbird cake, which is my absolute favorite. But this cake is so beautiful too-must be a nice bakery. I’m so far out in the boonies, that a real and artful bakery is like an unknown thing!

    1. Oooh I’ve never heard of hummingbird cake, I will have to google it and rectify that immediately. 🙂

      This cake is lovely though, definitely something to try if you ever come across it.

    1. I know, it was amazing especially with that mild mustardy taste. Definitely something I will have to make soon!

    1. So pretty, right? For some reason it has never occured to me to use cake crumbs to decorate the cake – so this was quite an inspiration. 😉

  8. Love the way the crumbs are falling down the side of the cake! Will definitely try this trick. There are always crumbs left in the cake pans.
    Nice you could enjoy the lovely lamb rack without having to do the cooking!

    1. My thoughts exactly – it’s such a brilliant idea. 🙂 And I agree, it’s always nice to be cooked for, hehe.

  9. Happy belated birhday Su-yin.I’ve never managed to garner the courage to try a red velvet but have heard tons of good about it! Timing seems just right now with Feb round the corner! {HUGS} Loved yr pics at Mowies’!

    1. Definitely! I’m sure you’d make an amazing red velvet cake. I quite liked the Hummingbird Bakery recipe, which was easy to follow (But did have quite a few steps, especially with the speed of mixing!). Will be looking forward to your post! 😉

    1. Thanks Julia. I agree – I normally am not a fan of food colouring, but red velvet cakes are one of my exceptions. It’s too hard to resist!

  10. Happy belated birthday. The red velvet cake does look ”red”. I find it pretty, but like you, can’t bring myself to add so much of food colouring. Love the idea of decorating the cake with the crumbs. And R has done a great job too 🙂

    1. I know! Will definitely be trying Mowie’s tip about beetroot juice the next time I try to make anything requiring red food colouring, I hear it works really well!

  11. I love the colour of that cake. The striking contrast of sunshine yellow and the red is brilliant!!! id wld love to have made a cake of those colours!!

    what a lucky girl u are to have someone cook for you….n that lamb rack looks delicious…Lucky u!

    N a very happy birthday Su yin!!!!

  12. Happy birthday to you and R!!! Your cake looked awesome, and the color is so rich and bright. It was a sexy looking cake. And the lamb…that looked really good too.

    1. The lamb was really good actually, will have to try out that crust on other meats/cuts to see if it works. 🙂

  13. hey happy belated birthday!! The cake is gorgeous but nowhere near as gorgeous as the dinner R made for you! that is so sweet and whatever re the light, your photos are always amazing! xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s