“Your iron, my lady.” With a kind face, Luthias set the cast iron cake mold on the Cooking Bench, then returned to his side of the Workshop.
Gabrielle’s hands clapped together. “Yippie! Thank you!”
“My pleasure.” He sat onto a wooden stool, picking up that half-forged sword from the Forging Station. He held the red-hot metal to the anvil and muttered a magic word. A block of mana crashed down with a muffled thump, smacking impurities out of it.
The Station looked like a neatly-packed amalgamation of your usual blacksmith goodies—a furnace, anvil, vice, and a few other things that Gabrielle didn’t recognize. Glowing, a supply of runestones lodged into various nooks and crannies supplied oodles of magic. Not too ugly. And more importantly, not too noisy. It heated the room nicely too.
“Kay, let’s do it.” Her gaze meandered to Skylar, who was sitting on a stood in front of the Bench. “Ready to record?”
Silver Elf eyes flecked with gold blinked. “One sec. Can’t seem to find a place to save it.”
“Have ya tried Plopbox?”
“Ah… Got it, thanks.” He smiled cheesily, but his nerves tucked his chin. “Are you sure you don’t want Rowan to do this?”
“Nah. He’s busy with whatever.” Something to do with Enchanting, which was super important for the settlement, extremely so. “And ya’ve asked that like nine times now.”
“Oh. It’s just… he’s a bit… territorial with you.”
Gabrielle put on her best comforting expression. “Aww, dun’ worry. Just say episode one is a surprise for him!” It actually was.
That seemed to work! His confidence returned. “Okay. Three. Two. One. Action.”
Whoah, that was quick!
Gabrielle breathed in through the nose and slapped on a cute winning smile. “Hello! I’m Gabby the Demon Cook, and I’m bringing ya Sortis Yummies, episode one! Today we’re gonna be baking a good ol’ family recipe—Draesear’s Hellfire Mudcake. I know, I can’t wait!”
A jolly breath refilled her lungs, the scent of dark chocolate watering her mouth. She picked up Mister Stabby, also known as the Mithril Bone Dagger, and pointed at the ceramic cups of ingredients one by one while chirping away: “A cup of unsalted butter. Two cups of at least good quality dark chocolate. Two and a half cups of brown sugar. Five big chicken eggs. Half a cup of cocoa powder.”
She sneaked in another big breath. This was harder than it looked. “Two cups of at least good quality wheat flour. A teaspoon of baking soda. Half a cup of at least good quality cow’s milk. One teaspoon of vanilla extract powder. And if ya want more or less of this or that, it’s your choice, really. But for these last two, lemon sugar icing and orange sugar icing—absolutely essential!
“Now, I’m not saying ya need to have the Cook profession, but it does help by just a pinch. Who likes to wait hours for things to stew and bake? Not Gabby! Not my grouchy husband Row, and not Mister Stabby here either. Say hi, Mister Stabby. Oh, you’re not in the mood? That’s okay. Hehehe.
“Anywho. At level one Cook, the only things that can be done with magic are… boiling, sizzling, baking, and chopping, which really is more than enough for a cake. Sadly—so, so, so sadly—we won’t gain any super buffs with this recipe, but just a single slice will grant ya the typical Well Fed buff. Amazing, I know!
“Oh, I forgot. Hehehe. This handy dandy Cooking Bench will help by tonnes. It’s a special Work Station that makes cooking way easier—and way more Lucky. Look at these magical heating pads. Look at this magical sink. Look at this magical oven, which… ya can’t see. But trust moi, it’s there. We dun’ have to use any of these cool helpers, but I do recommend cleaning up in the sink even if it does cost some runestone.”
She grabbed the clay mixing bowl. “Alrighty, let’s get started. Make sure your hands are clean. Some meanies fed me dirty, dirty mushrooms the other week, and I got really, really sick. Ya should’ve seen how crazy it made Row. Hehehe.”
Taking hold of the chocolate and butter, she licked her lips. Her forked tongue said hi. “First step, mix the butter and dark chocolate. Melt on the heating pad. Medium heat. No boiling. No lumps. Do it slowly. If I see any lumps in yours… weeeeeell, let’s just say Mister Stabby isn’t gonna be happy.
“Second step. Off the heat. Add in the sugar with the eggs. One by one. No lumps remember. Once ya’ve got it to a thick, creamy consistency like this, start addin’ in flour and baking soda with splashes of milk and vanilla. Do it slowly. No lumps; I hate em. Keep on giving it plenty of stirry love until it’s all combined and smooth. If it’s way thicker than this, then ya dun goofed.
“Third step. Slowly pour the batter into an oiled cake tin. Check for lumps. If it’s lumpy, stir some more. And by the way, I’m using cast iron, so if ya dun’ have the Cook profession, make sure ya know how to prep it. But if ya do have it, the Bake skill will prevent any annoying sticking. If only cast iron were so easy to use in real life. And dun’ tell anyone, but if this gets rusty, I’m just gonna toss it to my local Metalworker for some buffin’ up. Oh hi Luthias. I’m treating the iron real well, trust me. Hehehe.
“Fourth step—the fun part. Ya can do this anywhere, really, but if ya do it by a Cooking Bench, ya get thirty extra Luck points, which is super important for cooking high-quality dishes. Simply hold out your fingers, wiggle them about, and invoke Bake!” She did as she instructed, singing the single magic word. Euphoric magic rose from her belly and sailed down her arms out her fingernails in little rivers of wavy red mana. She mentally commanded the skill to bake on roughly 300F heat for sixty minutes worth.
In thirty seconds flat, the baking was done. The room was filled with delectable buttery-chocolate scents.
“Done!” she chirped merrily. “Oooooo, look how even it is. And look, it just slides right out onto the plate. No mess. No stickies.” She was far too tempted to take a bite, her tummy grumbling.
She held out four fingers plus another on the opposite hand. “Fifth step! These heating pads also doubles as cooling pads. How, you ask? Magic is how. The heat is simply gobbled up into the void. Who would’ve of thought the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply here? Hehehe. Simply cool it down to, hmmmm, a bit above freezing, then grab your icings.
“Be careful. Take your time. It won’t spoil. I dun wanna see ugly Draesears with weirdly bent horns. Oh, no, he doesn’t like that. So make sure this is perfect. Use the yellows and oranges to outline a skull like a fiery silhouette. Make sure the eye sockets are menacing. Make sure the teeth and nice and pointy… like this. Make sure the horns look like they can impale a meanie through the neck… Good!”
She jumped up and down. “And there ya have it! Draesear Hellfire Mudcake. Let it warm back up to room temperature, and serve it up.” She picked up Mister Stabby and cut out a slice, then cut a bit size and brought the cake up to her mouth on the flat of the blade. Her forked tongue snatched it up. She chewed and swallowed, the fruity chocolate flavors incredible.
“Delicious! Row and my pretties are gonna love this!” she chirped. “And that’s that. Seeya on the next bite-size episode of Sortis Yummies! Mister Stabby, say goodbye. Still not in the mood? Awwww.”
Wide-eyed, Skylar held up an OK sign. “Wow.”
“Wow as in a good wow or a bad wow?” It better be good.
He blinked three times. “Wow, as in I think you’re going to be famous.”
Giddiness shook her fists. “Aww, thank you, Skylar! Have a slice.”
He almost went for Mister Stabby but diverted to the blacksteel knife instead. Dummy. Mister Stabby wasn’t going to bite—only stab. He took a bite. His pupils enlarged to the brim. “Whoah. This is really good.”
“Of course. It was baked with Demon love.” She cut a slice, pushed it onto a plate, and skipped out the door. Row better have similar compliments. She said over her shoulder in maybe a too sharp of a tone, “Luthias, have one too.”
“Yes, my lady.”