A week before baking:
Decide on what to make.
Look up lots of recipes online. Don't write anything down, just observe.
Two days before baking:
Wash a sinkload of dishes. Everybody knows you can't cook without a clean(er) kitchen! Make a good faith effort to clean out one side of the sink and some counter space.
Day of baking:
Pull out trusty Disney Cookbook to use Snow White's Cupcakes for the base of the recipe.
Ooops, did that butter melt too far? Mix it with the sugar and see it it creams anyway.... Nope! Add the rest of the wet stuff anyway then put it on the porch to see if cooling the butter means it will cream again later.
Uh oh, no regular flour? Use "special" gluten free stuff instead (special because its all the odds and ends of flours and has no identifiable composition nor could it be remade).
Right, using GF flour? Add some xanthan gum for good measure. Mix all dry stuff together so when your wet stuff is fixed, everything is ready to go.
Oh right, making RUM cake? Might need some RUM! Going to a friend's for dinner and now running late? Take your project with you! Pile everything into the car, ask nice ladies at the liquor store how many tiny bottles of rum you need. Instead of saying "making a dozen of Snow White's Chocolate Cupcakes" just say "making a rum cake"; hope one or both them bake, and when neither of them have a clue, decide as a group that 2 bottles is good.
Get where you're going.
Act as a jungle gym for friend's kids. Roll around on the floor. Get snotted on, and jumped on and head-butted all in the name of doing exercise with Jackie Os Full Body Time Saving Workout (or something like that). Be careful not to hit anyone with hand weights (AKA cans of beans).
Now back to baking.
Liquid still doesn't cream, but the butter will just melt in the oven anyway, so its all good! Add powders and rum and apple pie spice (because what isn't better with apple pie spice?). Stir. If batter can be picked up with the spoon all at once in a ball shape, add oil and milk until its a little more squishy. Stop after 1/2 cup combined even if its still absurdly thick for cake batter.
Prepare cupcake liners by sprinkling brown sugar, apple pie spice (because what isn't better with apple pie spice?) and pecans in the bottom because surely one of those recipes last week said to put pecans in the bottom of the cake pan??? Scoop dough blobs into cupcake holes, cross your fingers and bake! The recipe called for 20-22 minutes at 350*, right? Cross other fingers too, just in case that was for some other recipe....
Eat dinner. Try not to let kids pour juice/milk/water/cider/stew on anything that can't be easily thrown in the bathtub/dishwasher/laundry. Kids get cupcakes at this point. "OOOOOOH! They have SPARKLES on the bottom!" The 4year old is thrilled by sparkly cupcakes. Agree they're Very Pretty Cupcakes. Even though these are Birthday Cupcakes, the BirthdayGrownup hates the Happy Birthday song so sing Video Killed the Radio Star instead; the thrilled 4 year old knows Video Killed the Radio Star (at least the chorus, which isn't that really all most people know anyway?) which is pretty entertaining and way better than the birthday song. 1 year old dances and claps while we sing.
Now its bath and bed time. One person starts wrangling children, other person makes cupcake sauce. What to put in it? Ummm, some butter, maybe some brown sugar, some apple pie spice (because what isn't better with apple pie spice?), and lastly the other tiny bottle of rum. Cook it, stir it, boil it, stir it. Pour it on remaining cupcakes.
Go assist with bathtime. Play games with shampoo. Play games with towel. Insist that pajamas need to have arms and legs, so the sundress that was picked out isn't wrong, it just needs to be supplemented with pants and a shirt. Read stories. Tuck in blankets. Turn over to other adult for final bedtime activities (more tucking, socks, water, songs, etc).
Go read good bedtime stories alone in the living room, which is a glorious 82*F because the wood stove was just filled. Enjoy Llama Lllama Red Pajama especially, and contemplate "accidentally" dropping some of the Barbie Princess books in the wood stove.
NOW (after a week of leading up to it) its grown-up cupcake time. Grab a big glass of cold water (82* is bordering on too hot now) and a cupcake. Cross fingers, review lack of recipe used to create them, and take a bite....
Success! They have a good texture, they're kind of fluffy, kind of chocolatey, and have just a hint of rum. Delicious!
Spend 2 hours eating cupcakes and chatting and forget to put in the movie that was the plan for coming over in the first place! New unplanned plan was way better than a movie, anyday!
Friends big and small, full-body exercise (leg lifts and baby-lifts and everything in between), getting adored and appreciated, and a sucessful baking adventure... What more could a girl want in a day?