I first started stress baking during my sophomore year in college and have not stopped since. The first thing I ever baked was a batch of Pillsbury Funfetti cupcakes from a box mix in a tiny communal kitchen in my college dorm.
I've come a long way since then.
I fell in love with the Hummingbird Bakery during a trip to London a few sumers ago, but I fell even more in love with the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. You mean, I could have the magical experience that I had in London over here? All the way over in the US? Heck yeah! Sign me up!
(photo by my lovely and talented friend Kimothy)
What really hooked me was the cookbook's use of everyday, unfussy ingredients. The kind of stuff that I was already likely to have in my pantry — flour, sugar, butter, eggs. No crazy, hard-to-find ingredients like glucose or chocolate feves. Who knew that gourmet cupcakes all the way from London were so easy to make at home?
But I didn't actually become a serious baker until I moved to Denver, CO last winter. This was the first time I'd ever lived in the mountains. I'd always heard that baking at high-altitude was a completely different game from baking at sea-level, but I didn't believe it until my fail-proof, crowd-pleasing Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcakes resulted in puddles of goop.
Now I'm the kind of crazy person who doesn't do anything in moderation. To wit — when I decided that I wanted to "get into biking" during my junior year of college, I spent the subsequent summer riding my bike from New Hampshire to Vancouver, Canada. Without hardly any training at all.
With this kind of thinking, I decided I would spend my year in Denver adapting the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook... for high-altitude. And this was how Hummingbird High was born. The blog started out as a record of my attempts, trials and (many) errors, and eventually, my successes. But it eventually turned into something so much more.
A lot of food bloggers out there think that baking through a cookbook is kind of a cop-out. But it taught me a lot of different things that I never would have figured out if I'd just kept bouncing from cookbook to cookbook, blog to blog, and recipe to recipe. It taught me how to have results that were consistent and delicious every time. I've shared most of the tips and tricks that I've learned at the bottom of my cupcake recipes and here, but that's only the beginning.
Baking at high-altitude and adapting the recipes to work in the mountains also did wonders for my baking skills in general. I examined every failure and every puddle of goop through a scientific lens (probably to the dismay of many readers) and doing so taught me to understand the relationship between ingredients and the importance of each step in the process. It was only then that I realized I'd taken the baking process for granted my entire life. And for that, I'll always credit my time in Denver for teaching me how to troubleshoot recipes and becoming a better baker in general. Even though I now live in Portland, Oregon, where I don't have to worry about adjusting recipes (because Portland's at sea-level!), I still employ many of the meticulous baking techniques I learned at high-altitude.
Which brings us to here. What you'll find in Hummingbird High are a bunch of recipes from my beloved Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, as well as some recipes from other cookbooks and blogs I follow and find. I'm finally starting to get comfortable creating my own recipes, but it's definitely a learning process and I've got a ways to go.
For more information about the Hummingbird Bakery itself, check out my page detailing my undying love for the bakery and one of my earlier posts explaining why their cupcakes are so damn good.
For more information about me, the blogger, check out my About Me page.