Zhu Junyang let out a heavy snort and waved his sleeves as he left. Head Steward Liu used a finger to point at Yu Xiaocao a few times before he sighed and also followed his angry master out of the Fang Estate’s kitchen.
Yu Xiaocao pursed her lips and quietly muttered, “Didn’t he just whip some frosting up? Is it necessary to be this angry ah?”
Yingtao cheerfully stated, “Miss, you’re the only one who can order Royal Prince Yang to do things! Although His Highness looks quite scary, I never would have thought that he’s that easy to talk to ah!”
Easy to talk to? If the people who had been beaten up by Royal Prince Yang could hear her say this, they would have all retorted vehemently, ‘Are you blind? How can Zhu Junyang, that black-faced devil, be easy to talk to? You’re not the one who was beaten until you were bedridden for a few months, right?’
After the cake finished baking, Yu Xiaocao first cut it into three circles of differing sizes and spread on a layer of frosting. Then, she prepared a piece of oiled paper, rolled it into a triangular shaped tube, and poured the whipped frosting into it. Using her pastry bag, she squeezed out beautiful flower decorations on the cake. In her past life, Yu Xiaocao had worked at a pastry shop prior to opening her braised food shop. Because she had skillful hands, all of the cakes she decorated were praised.
At first, she was a bit unfamiliar with this process. As she continued, the skill came back to her and each consequent flower was more beautiful than the previous and more lively. Since the season wasn’t right, there weren't any ingredients available for her to use as food dye. Thus, all of the icing flowers she squeezed out were a pure white color. However, Yu Xiaocao had the servants take out some preserved jams from last year from the ice cellar. There was bright red strawberry jam, orangey-yellow tomato jam, purple grape jam...she also used some spinach juice mixed with honey to create a green colored dye.
With these five colors available, she used them all to gently brush onto the flowers’ edges. The whole cake immediately became bright and lovely. Yingtao and another head maid, Muxi, stared in awe at all of the stunning flowers on the cake. Their eyes were opened wide as they took in the sight.
The cake had three layers and the first layer was about twenty inches in diameter. The second layer was around sixteen inches and the topmost layer was around twelve inches. Each layer was decorated with carefully crafted icing flowers. The top layer had some writing on it written in red jam that said, ‘Happy 1st Birthday to Fang Haolin’. In addition, there was a cartoon figure underneath the words that was colored with different jams. It looked almost exactly like Little Linlin.
The grabbing ceremony had already finished. Fang Haolin had lived up to expectations and grabbed a tiny wooden knife. This caused everyone to exclaim ‘like father like son’. For the banquet, they invited the head chef of the capital’s Zhenxiu Restaurant——Liu Bi, who was personally in charge of cooking. This caused many guests to be pleasantly surprised because the head chef of Zhenxiu Restaurant was very hard to book. He only took three jobs in a month and the waiting list had already extended to next year…
The banquet for the Fang Family was crafted at the highest standards offered by Zhenxiu Restaurant. Roasted chicken, fruit-scented roast duck, salt-water duck...all the hit dishes were available. Thus, the guests ate until they were stuffed and complimented the food endlessly.
The last course that came out was the present that Yu Xiaocao had prepared for her younger brother——whipped cream cake. When the gorgeous and elegant cake was presented out to the guests, everyone was stunned silent. They were speechless not only because the cake was beautiful and incredible beyond belief, but they were also silently ashamed that they had never heard what a ‘whipped cream cake’ was before.
The cake was quickly sliced into small triangular pieces and every guest was given a piece. The guests, who were originally stuffed beyond comparison, all tasted a bite. The rich flavor of the cream and the sweet delicate taste of the cake melted into their mouths. The cake had a bouncy texture that they had never had before. Thus, how could one small slice satisfy the craving of everyone?
The whipped cream cake was most favored by the female guests. After finishing one slice, the noble madams and young maidens were all too embarrassed to ask for a second helping. However, they all clamored to know where this cake was bought from. The texture of the cake was divine and the look was elegant and beautiful. They needed to know where to get this ah!
However, when they found out that this cake was a present given by the Fang Family’s adopted daughter to her little brother, all of their hearts fell down. If this cake was bought from a shop, it didn’t matter if the price was high and the demand was outrageous, they would still be able to buy it one day. However, the creator was the daughter of the Fang Family. Although she was only adopted, they couldn’t just demand her to spend half a day to craft another cake just to sate their cravings ah!
When they left, all of these ladies and maidens had a bit of regret on their faces. When their husbands and fathers asked them why, they could only laugh helplessly. Fang Zizhen was a rough person yet the daughter he had adopted had some skills. She not only cured the young imperial prince’s illness, bringing her to the attention of the empress, but she also had culinary talent. Even the old glutton, the emperor emeritus, unceasingly praised the food she made. Now she had the ability to make novel desserts that had never been seen before.
The fact that Zhaoyang General’s daughter had great culinary skill quietly spread throughout the noble and wealthy families of the capital. That same day, the master of the Imperial Palace, Zhu Junfan, had also heard of the ‘whipped cream cake’ that Yu Xiaocao made. He raised an eyebrow——Looks like I have another clue eh? Such a good old transmigrator friend!
Just as he was about to summon Yu Xiaocao to the palace again to ‘have a deep conversation’ with her, the girl had already said her farewells to her godmother and left the capital with Fang Zizhen, who was going back to the harbor. The two of them were on the road back to Tanggu Town.
When Zhu Junfan got the news, he silently cursed inside, ‘Little lass, you’re escaping quite quickly! However, I’m not in a hurry. It’s not like the little lass can run away forever. In the future, I’ll have to slowly ‘punish’ her!’
Yu Xiaocao was riding on her little red horse next to her godfather. Behind them were some of Fang Zizhen’s personal bodyguards. The little red horse wasn’t very big yet it had a lot of energy and was able to keep up with the pace set by Fang Zizhen’s beloved horse.
Fang Zizhen’s beloved horse wasn’t as valuable as the legendary Ferghana horses, but it was still a good horse. The little red horse that Yu Xiaocao rode was the one that he gave her. However, at the time, he had thought that his daughter was young so he mostly picked out a horse that had a gentle and serene nature. Who would have thought that his daughter had picked up a diamond in the rough? The little red horse was quite a good horse!
Since Yu Xiaocao was worried about her family’s piggery, they spent the entire journey on horseback and they even ate lunch on horseback. At night, even Fang Zizhen’s beloved horse was already exhausted, let alone the horses of his bodyguards, which were on the verge of collapsing! However, that little red horse that caught no one’s eye was still going on strong and full of energy. Naturally, this was definitely related to the fact that Yu Xiaocao had raised this horse of hers on mystic-stone water for a long time.
At the speed that they were traveling, they would be able to get to Dongshan Village by noon the next day. Yu Xiaocao had noticed that the horses the bodyguards were riding on were not up to par and was afraid they would delay her journey, so she secretly gave them some mystic-stone water that night. The next morning, the bodyguards, who were certain they couldn’t travel at the same pace as yesterday, were all startled to see that their horses were acting as if they had eaten a bunch of stimulants as they were full of energy. It was quite a surreal experience——Did people come over at night and switch their horses over for fresh ones? Fang Zizhen looked at his daughter, who was currently grooming the little red horse. In his heart, he had a feeling that the changes in the horses had to be related to her. His daughter was skilled in medical arts. Perhaps she fed them some medication to relieve fatigue?
Fang Zizhen was the same as Yu Hai and doted upon his daughter to his bones. Although he had his doubts in his heart, he didn’t voice them. For the past two years, he had discovered that his adopted daughter had out of the ordinary abilities, so he was sure she had a big secret. However, none of this influenced the love and trust he had in her.
They had been in the capital for more than half a month. Before they left, Yu Xiaocao went to the Imperial Plantation with Royal Prince Yang to see that the corn and potatoes were growing very well. With the wells of mystic-stone water at the farmstead, it’d be more surprising if they didn’t grow well! However, the spiritual energy at the wells could only last for one year. She would have to deal with the following year when it came!
When they got to Tanggu Town, neither of them stayed somewhere to rest. Instead, Yu Xiaocao and her godfather went their separate ways. Fang Zizhen went to the docks to oversee the continued construction while Yu Xiaocao went back to Dongshan Village. Fang Zizhen was a bit worried about his daughter going back alone so he sent a bodyguard with her.
They traveled at top speed. By the time they got to Dongshan Village, they were just in time for lunch. When Yu Hai and his wife saw their exhausted and travel-worn youngest daughter, they both put down their bowls to help. Madam Liu went into the kitchen to heat up some water for her daughter to wash herself while Yu Hai led the bodyguard to take a seat to eat some food.
“Grandfather, everyone should eat first and don’t let the food get cold!” Yu Xiaocao laid down in exhaustion on a chair under the grape trellis in the courtyard and gulped down a few mouthfuls of mystic-stone water. Gradually, she felt the bone-deep fatigue disappear from her body.
Madam Liu swiftly heated up some water and had her daughter wash her hands, face, and neck. After Yu Xiaocao changed into a clean set of clothing, Madam Liu quietly asked, “Are you hungry? If you want to eat something, Mother will make it for you!”
“Mother, there’s no need! Lunch is already made, so I’ll just eat with everyone else okay? It’s not like I’m a guest!” Yu Xiaocao wiped her body quickly. After changing into a set of clean clothes, she stretched leisurely. It was still best to be at home ah! In the capital, she had to be aware of her every word and action at all times as she didn’t want to lose face for her godparents. It was quite exhausting ah! Now that she was home, it was as if the air was filled with the smell of freedom and comfort!
Madam Liu had a smile full of tenderness as she said, “You truly aren’t a guest, but isn’t there a guest waiting outside?”
Yu Xiaocao had to admit that was true. The bodyguard had given his all to escort her back home, so she should make something good to thank him for his work. She left the room and saw that the bodyguard was already sitting next to the table full of food and eating happily in the open courtyard. The capital didn’t have many fresh vegetables around. Those who were able to have green vegetables at the table either had lands with hot springs or greenhouses to cultivate vegetables. In front of a table full of fresh green vegetables that were tasty and well cooked, the bodyguard couldn’t stop himself from eating!
When he heard Yu Xiaocao ask him if he wanted anything else, Zhu Xiao quickly swallowed down the mouthful of lettuce greens with oyster sauce and shook his head, “Miss, no need to cook something especially for me. The food here is very good and is more than enough to fill me!”
Yu Xiaocao thought for a bit and still had her mother stir fry a plate of grasshopper sauce and also make a plate of chives stir-fried with sandworms. Zhu Xian saw that the portion sizes were generous and thus opened his belly to eat more. Older Brother Li Li was right, the Yu Family’s food was very delicious. If he could eat such sumptuous food every day, he would even be willing to go down to the fields every day to help the Yu Family.
The Yu Family didn’t have the custom of ‘staying silent during mealtimes’, so Yu Xiaocao found out how the piggery at the foot of the West Mountain was doing as she ate. The construction on the piggery was pretty much done. Her three maternal uncles had all gone out and came back with a total of forty to fifty piglets. These piglets were all given to some families that they had a good relationship to raise in their stead for now.
“Our family doesn’t have much experience with raising pigs, so I think we shouldn’t raise too many for the first year. What do you think? Are these piglets enough for now?” Yu Hai had a few misgivings about raising pigs. They ate a lot of grain, so would they be able to afford this? If they raised too many, they didn’t have enough people at home to go out and cut fishwort for them to eat. How would they be able to keep feeding all of them?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: Mmmm, now I want some cake too.