Well, after a welcome break it is back to the kitchen with a jolt this last few days as I have baked Empire Biscuits (traditional and Chocolate Orange) and Dark Chocolate Gingerbread for customers, as well as, Melting Moments baked by my daughter with her very own little twist (dark chocolate drizzle instead of a glace cherry on the top). They were delicious and they didn’t last very long. 🙂

The Empire Biscuits and Gingerbread were for postal delivery and collection so I hope they arrive safely. I’m lucky the customers who order for postal delivery usually let me know if everything arrives on time but I do tend to check as well just to put my mind at rest. It is quite a stressful part of the job even now after all these years. 🙂

The Dark Chocolate Gingerbread was a bake which I hadn’t made in quite a while and I forgot how much mixture there was so I managed to bake a few Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes for my husband to enjoy with a cuppa with the leftover mix. The best bit about gingerbread is that the flavour improves with time, they keep so well and I think that gingerbread actually becomes more moist with time unlike other types of cake.

My order for the end of the week is for Lemon Meringue Cupcakes (some vegan and some non vegan). As soon as I heard about the vegan requirement my brain instantly went to how to make the meringue and lemon curd so that a vegan could eat them?? At first, I was going to make both parts of the recipe from scratch but then I decided to look online for vegan lemon curd but to no avail so homemade it is. I have found a recipe thanks to the sainsbury magazine and I am hoping to make a batch of this vegan lemon curd tomorrow and that it tastes good. This has left me with the meringue to master before the weekend and I have found a couple of recipes to try out. I do love a good challenge as it keeps the brain active and keeps me out of trouble. 🙂

The first recipe is using egg replacer, water, sugar and cream of tarter. This mixture was horrendous to work with as it was so gloopy and sticky to handle and won’t be getting made again. Although this vegan meringue rose well in the oven it didn’t really caramelise on the top and actually deflated whilst in the oven towards the end of the baking time. I have never seen anything like it and so I won’t be trying it again. I can safely say that the vegan meringues baked with the egg replacer did not rise to the occasion and were a total disaster. 🙁

The second recipe I wanted to try was using chick pea water or “aqua faba” as it is widely known. The recipe I found is by “the lazy vegan baker” as it is a great step by step recipe and method to follow. So I am writing this right now as the vegan meringues made with aqua faba bake. So far everything looks good and I am quite impressed so fingers crossed for this batch of vegan meringue using aqua faba otherwise I will be off to the shops to find some ready made vegan meringues.

Vegan Meringues baking in the oven.

What I do know is that I will have to bake the meringues separate to the cupcakes and place them on them on top of the cupcakes as they take so long to bake and hold their shape unlike traditional meringue which are made with egg white. I am sure I can manage to pull this order off but I don’t think I will be in a hurry to make these again. I am going to use my standard vegan vanilla cupcake recipe which I know works really well but I will add lemon zest and juice to the recipe to flavour the sponge.

We are constantly learning new things in this life but whoever discovered that chick pea juice has the same qualities as egg white for making meringue deserves a medal as a whole new avenue has opened up for myself today which I can’t wait to explore. 🙂 Bring on the vegan bakes again. I think I will have two very happy daughters if I start some vegan baking trials. 🙂