four brand new, never-before-tried-by-you recipes
extremely limited time
a complete lack of necessary kitchen appliances
a three year old and a one year old
a rough ETA for the arrival of the majority of your in-laws
a husband who is to be surprised for this birthday extravaganza, leaving him completely bewildered as to why you would need 2 hours to make, what he thinks, is one batch of cupcakes, and is totally frustrated by the fact that you say we don’t have time for him to mow the lawn
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
When filling cupcake cups with batter, be sure to overfill, so that all of them overflow into each other and have to be cut apart in order to get them out of the pan.
Begin making the chocolate frosting, the first of 3 separate home-made frosting recipes to be made as the clock ticks on and your in-laws inch closer and closer. Establish that you do not have a double boiler, whatever that is, and decide to microwave the chocolate instead. Forget to add additional milk at the end, resulting in a very thick, difficult-to-spread yet very tasty chocolate frosting, not unlike the consistency of fudge. Declare the frosting for your Aunt-in-law’s birthday cupcakes done.
Decide, because you are crunched for time, to do the last two frosting recipes simultaneously. Begin by bringing a sugar water concoction to a boil with the intent of creating a “sugar syrup” for the lemon marshmallow frosting meant for your husband’s birthday cupcakes.
As it comes to a boil, begin the 3rd recipe for a strawberry cream cheese frosting for your baby’s first birthday cupcakes. As you follow this recipe to a “T,” wonder why it looks like a runny soup with snotty pieces of mashed strawberry mixed in. Re-read the recipe approximately 9 times, trying to figure out where you have gone wrong. Try to decipher what in the recipe, exactly, is meant to thicken this strawberry soup. Note that it says one “may add up to 1/2 cup extra confectioner’s sugar to reach proper consistency.” Do this. Do this again. Repeat one more time. Realize, once you have added over 2 extra cups of powdered sugar, that this shit is not going to thicken.
Wonder what that smell is.
Quickly remove boiling sugar water (from 2nd recipe), now dark brown and sizzling, from the stove top and run to dump into sink. When dumping, be sure to splash boiling mixture all over yourself, creating multiple searing, droplet sized burns over your arms and chest, and leaving you with sticky burned syrup all over your body that can still be found in various places 2 days later.
Wash pan. Decide to make second attempt at sugar syrup sans distraction. With great wisdom, choose NOT to trash strawberry soup, knowing full well that you may still need it if things continue down this path.
Set second sugar water mixture to boil. Stand at stove and watch it like a freaking crazy person. Watch it appear to thicken slightly. Make the mistake of thinking it may actually turn into a syrup and you might succeed. Note that there is still no sign of the “thin threads” that should be dropping from the spoon. Watch it go immediately from liquid form to crunchy coated within seconds. Try, desperately to salvage some of the damn mixture and get it into the bowl where it is to be mixed with the marshmallows, which need to be melted via the “syrup’s” heat.
Realize, while mixing syrup and marshmallows, that the scraping sound coming from the bowl is several pieces of tiny, crystallized sugar, not unlike small pebbles, littering your “frosting.” Stare, in horror, at the sad, half-melted marshmallows and rock sugar, wondering why you are so incompetent.
Go back to pan of syrup which was meant to “continue simmering” while you melted the marshmallows. Discover it is totally solid. Attempt to pry spoon from rock formation. Declare the pot and spoon casualties.
Head back your strawberry soup, which is now looking damn good, and slop some of it onto a few cupcakes, racing to the refrigerator in hopes of forcing the coating to solidify enough that it can be served to your FREAKING IN-LAWS and your baby on his FIRST FREAKING BIRTHDAY.
Go to your husband and admit what you have done, explaining to him why you have been in the kitchen for a full two hours, why he was not allowed to mow the lawn which has not been mowed in a month, and show him what you have accomplished in that time.
Listen to your in-laws walk in saying, “What’s burning?”