Opening in 2004, founder Tarek Malouf set up his first bakery on the vibrant Portobello Road, home to the world-famous market. Little did he know he was about to start a cupcake craze.
Close to the brightly coloured houses, boutique shops and bohemian market stalls, this special area of London is much more than just the site of the famous film. For London, it was the start of a love affair with American baking and all things Red Velvet.
In our first few years of baking American goodies in London, the bakery was a cosier affair; much like a country kitchen. Fresh flowers would line the windows and pastel-frosted cupcakes would be displayed on retro milk glass cake stands in green hues, harking back to our inspiration: the golden days of American home baking.
The menu back then included the bestselling Red Velvet cupcakes, zesty Lemon Bar tray bakes and our meringue-topped Coconut Cake from our first cookbook. We even made smoothies and homemade ice cream one hot London summer. Rainbow Cake was just a figment of our imagination in those days.
For our first Christmas we baked shaped sugar cookies (think candy canes and stars) and stacked them like sweeties in jars. To get in the festive spirit, we cut out handmade paper snowflakes, which fluttered from the ceiling like a blizzard. Sadly, these had to be taken down when we realised their dancing set off the burglar alarm! (We still maintain it was Santa sneaking down the chimney when he fancied something tastier than mince pies…)
Unable to satisfy all our sweet-treat loving customers, we were one of the first shops open seven days a week on Portobello Road, as many of our antique shop neighbours would close up for a few days.
The stall traders and characters of the famous Portobello Road market have long had a relationship with our bakery. We will never forget our glamorous upstairs neighbour, Mary, would sell beautiful jewellery outside the bakery. A long-time resident of the area, she lived on Portobello Road for over 50 years. Always stylishly dressed, Mary also sold glamorous vintage clothing on the market and had impeccable fashion credentials.
Since then, The Hummingbird Bakery has gone on to open five more bakeries across London and three internationally. In 2010, for the first time, our bakeries sold more than 1 million cupcakes in less than a year. What does 1 million cupcakes look like?
12,000 kg of flour
14,000 kg caster sugar
4,000 kg of butter
12,000 litres of milk
2,000 kg cocoa
… the ingredients would weigh more than 14 fully grown adult male elephants!
Today we are lucky enough to count Adele, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, Pippa Middleton and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, as our fans. And to think, our American baking adventure all started in our little bakery in Notting Hill.
Visit The Hummingbird Bakery, Notting Hill
133 Portobello Road,
Monday – Friday: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday: 9.00am – 6.30pm
Sunday: 11.00am – 5.30pm
Order treats for collection in-store at any of our bakeries here.