Spoiler alert: I burned the cupcakes.

by Veronica on April 15, 2014

in Gotta Laugh

I woke up this morning and thought “FUCK. I forgot to bake cupcakes!”

This is not the first thought I usually have of a morning, which is usually more along the lines of “Oh god, morning already?” and “Can I hear the kids yet?”

Backstory: Isaac’s Kindergarten class was having a Pirate Party for a pre-Easter break up. Children were invited to wear pirate costumes, and to bring both some cut up fruit and veg for snack time, and party food for lunch time.

When the same thing happened with Amy, I wasn’t caught quite so unawares. Amy had a very pirate-y flowing shirt to wear, and black leggings, and boots. We made an eye patch out of black cardboard. I made fruit kebabs on straws and everything was fantastic.

Isaac had none of those things.

I could blame the virus which had kept me in bed over the weekend, thus ensuring I had no idea where any of Isaac’s potential pirate costumings might be.

So at 7am when I remembered his party, I quietly wished I could just go back to sleep and ignore the whole thing. Of course I couldn’t.

I was not bouncy this morning, nor was I well rested. Evelyn had had a relatively awful night and I had a baby sleep hangover. You know the kind, when you’ve woken up every hour all night and your head hurts and your eyes are full of grit.

Now picture me trying to get my act together to bake cupcakes.

A few months ago Amy became obsessed with my cupcake decorating cook book and disappeared with it into her bedroom to gaze at the pink sprinkles longingly. I’m not a huge cupcake fan, so I don’t bake them often, much to the disgust of my children.

Once the book hit Amy’s room it vanished into the great void which also contains all our hairties, multiple hairbrushes, left socks and pants that fit.

I was already scrabbling for a recipe, but it was nearly disaster when I couldn’t find THE recipe. You know, the failsafe one which always works and never ever burns on the bottom.

I found a muffin cookbook instead, with HALLELUJAH, cupcake recipes. I picked the simplest one. It wasn’t my best choice.

It didn’t take long to get the cupcakes in the oven, while Isaac ran around requesting a magic pirate costume to be magicked up out of nowhere because DAMMIT, suddenly he needed to be a pirate more than ever. Despite not actually caring about the costume in the days leading up.

But then he realised, wearing a pirate costume meant taking his school clothes off and putting on a vague interpretation of a costume which looked nothing like Mummy’s character on Assassin’s Creed.

“But Isaac! This shirt has sharks ALL OVER IT. Pirates love sharks. Sharks live in the water, pirates have ships, it makes sense, yes?”

He looked at me dubiously as I shook the black tshirt at him.

“And put on black jeans! Pirates are ALWAYS wearing black jeans.”

Frantically I hunted for a vest, or a shirt, or SOMETHING to make him look more piratey.

Clearly pirate costumes also disappear into the great void. Along with any black cardboard or cloth I could have used to make an eye patch.

“Can’t you just sew me an eye patch?” Isaac asked plaintively as I counted down the minutes for the cupcakes to be ready in my head, realising soon after that I hadn’t made Amy anything for lunch yet.

“Mate, I don’t have any material to stitch anything and we don’t have any time. Now make yourself breakfast please.”

Evelyn wailed on the floor as Isaac noticed she had his iPad and removed it from her.

Amy sat on the couch, dreamily brushing her hair, half dressed and still un-breakfasted.

Making room in the sink, I washed the mixing bowl so I could make quick icing for the cupcakes, thanking god Nathan had remembered to buy lemons. Isaac made breakfast, dressed as a pirate in a black tshirt and green hoodie. He didn’t look very piratey. He spilled cereal all over the floor as I began cutting butter for icing.

Evelyn continued wailing on the floor until I placated her with a banana.

Peering in the oven, I noticed my cupcakes were looking decidedly sunken. And kind of weird.

But no worries, icing fixes everything. EVERYTHING.

Juggling icing spoons, (the damn buttercream wouldn’t smooth out) and cereal bowls and banana skins, I managed to get the cupcakes out of the oven.

Sadly it was too late for the bottom tray. Their bases were scorched, burned black.


“Mum, you shouldn’t swear,” added Amy.

Now I had ten minutes to quickly make Amy’s lunch, cut carrot sticks for Isaac to share, feed Evelyn breakfast and finish the god forsaken icing.

“Can you brush my hair?” Amy asked, handing me a hairbrush and ties.

20 minutes she’d spent brushing but here I was, doing it anyway. Lifting my head to the heavens, I bit down my grumbles and quickly threw her hair into a ponytail.

Evelyn tried to steal Isaac’s breakfast as I spooned ricotta into the icing mix, hoping to soften and smooth it out. Everyone screamed a bit.

Finally, it was time to ice. The cupcakes were decidedly sunken, but I had lots of icing! It was going to be fine!

“Mum, you should draw a sword on Isaac. Like a pirate tattoo.”

“That’s a great idea Amy!” Isaac piped up. “I want a sword tattoo!”

I can’t draw swords very well.

“Go ask Daddy. But first, brush your teeth.”

I iced quickly, hoping it would hold up to to slightly warm cupcakes, before throwing everything in the freezer for five minutes. Eve threw another tantrum as Isaac yet again removed his iPad from her grasp.

“Isaac! Brush your teeth! Amy, put your shoes on.”

There was icing on the bench and my hands were vaguely sticky. But the school morning must go on.

I looked Isaac over as he finished his teeth brushing. He still didn’t look very piratey. Not even if I squinted.

“SCARS!” I exclaimed. “You need scars!”


Amy has a good texta supply and it was short work to draw scars on Isaac’s face. He ran to the bedroom and checked it out.

“I hate them. I want them off.”

“Just forget about them. They’re not hurting you.”

He was dubious, but stopped scrubbing at his face.

I looked at him again. A bandanna! Every pirate needs a bandanna. And I had the perfect red scarf.

2 minutes later after hunting through my closet. “Here, put this on around your head.”

“YEAH!” Isaac grinned. “Pirates wear scarves.”


I tied it around his head. He shook his head.

“I need it off.” He said, dragging it down. “It feels bad.”

So at this stage I had an angry toddler, a mostly dressed daughter and a pirate who wouldn’t let me pirateify him even a little bit. I brandished my texta.

“What about a beard?”

Isaac shook his head.

“Just a little beard? A small one? Or I could draw an eye patch on you?”

No. No beards, at all, ever. And no texta eye patches. Briefly I hoped they’d make eye patches at school to assuage my guilt.

“How about a belt?”

No belts.

“When are you going to draw my sword?” he asked.

I looked at the clock. Late.

“Ask Dad to do it once you get to school.” I said, shuffling children towards the door, at which point Evelyn noticed and screamed her displeasure at not going in the car too. “Sorry baby, you’re stuck home with Mummy.” She screamed louder.

Amy went to put shoes on, only to realise she’d forgotten socks. And to brush her teeth.

Juggling again, I handed out lunchboxes and passed cupcakes to Nathan as they headed towards the door.

“Tell the teacher there’s nothing allergenic in there! Eggs, flour, butter, sugar.”

Don’t cupcakes usually have more ingredients I wondered briefly, checking the recipe back over again.

No, but it was strange.

One last chaotic rush and everyone walked out the door while Evelyn screamed in disgust. I gave her back the iPad for five minutes.

Waving, I looked Isaac over again. He was a very modern day pirate, in his hoodie and pants. Or not, as the case may be. Less swashbuckling, more saunter.

Or something.

I closed the door.

Looked at the sad burned cupcakes on the bench.

Wished I’d made my son more pirate-y.

He hadn’t even said ARRRR once.

School parties are clearly not my thing.

Amy R April 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

No leavening ingredient! Should have had baking powder.

Your morning sounds very hectic. I feel spoiled with our slower, more relaxed pace. I don’t miss the rush, rush, rush! one single bit.

Veronica April 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I used self raising flour, so there was baking powder, thank god! And no one complained.

monika keane April 15, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Sounds like our house (on a good day!)

Kim @frogpondsrock April 16, 2014 at 8:28 am


Anne April 16, 2014 at 8:43 am

Yep, sounds like my house on a school morning.

Hope Isaac had a great party (loved his costume btw) and well done to him for getting two merit awards and winning the easter raffle! 🙂

river April 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

You need to have a ready-made, un-iced batch of two dozen cupcakes frozen at all times for just such an occasion. As soon as they are used, make and freeze a new batch. Ice while still frozen on the morning you need them, they’ll be thawed by the time they get eaten. It’s the only way to get through the kindergarten/primary years.

john malpas April 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Entertaining writing – my wife liked it and she is a grandmother.

Beth April 16, 2014 at 10:07 pm

OMG you’re so good. I have to admit that I used to buy reduced for quick sale packs of plain cupcakes and whack them in the freezer. Same with biscuits. When bloody school events came up I’d just pull them out and ice them……. I’m soooo lazy! The good news is that once they reach 10 or so, you can make them bake their own, haha.

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