This time last year, M was admitted into GOSH for scopes and he and I spent Mike’s birthday away from the birthday boy himself, leaving him to celebrate at home with the rest of the family. There was a point this year when I thought history was about to repeat itself as we’re once again waiting for an admission date for M, who needs further testing to try to sort out the games his body is currently playing. However, Mike’s birthday came, and went, with no sign of a phone-call from GOSH and I finally had a chance to make a long-awaited attempt at the Lemon Meringue cake I’d been dreaming of making last year.
Lemon Meringue pie is Mike’s favourite dessert and there was a time, many eons ago, when I’d actually make him one from scratch for his birthday treat. With the arrival of G and M, the general busyness of work and juggling the school-run alongside business meetings and the general day-to-day running of the household, I don’t think I’ve turned my hand to such a dish for at least a decade. Add into the mix, the newer challenges of egg-free meringues and MEWS-free pastry and it’s not been the easiest pudding to make. I attempted a cheesecake version for Fathers’ Day this year, but that didn’t quite go as planned, so I put my thinking cap on to see if I could figure out an alternative format for this popular dessert.
I settled on lemon drizzle cupcakes topped with vanilla butter-cream icing and small meringues. I’ve made Lemon drizzle cake before, but found that the rice flour made the sponge taste very granular and I was keen to see if I could improve the texture. I found a lovely recipe for vegan lemon drizzle cake and read around the options for replacing the flour to make the cake both gluten- and potato-flour-free. My final recipe included gram flour – an ingredient that’s been lurking in my cupboard for a while, but which I had yet to brave using – rice flour and tapioca flour and the end result was infinitely better than the last time, though some further tweaking to create the perfect lemon drizzle cupcake is needed.
I whipped up a small batch of my vanilla butter-cream icing and used it to secure the mini egg-free meringues to the top of each cupcake. I was delighted with how these cakes looked and M spent most of the day, and evening, before Mike got home from work, begging to try one to “just check it’s okay for Daddy!” I am assured by the family that the cupcakes were a huge success and so that’s another recipe added to my ever-increasing repertoire.