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Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi
Chapter 167

Ch 167 -- A Thank-you Gift For Ugor-san
Everyone had finished eating but I still had more cooking to do. I wanted to build up a stock of ready-to-eat food, rice and assorted toppings of minced meat and the like to put away in my Item Box. I set pots of rice to cook on three of the burners of the Black Magic Cooking stove while I made a lot of meat sauce on the fourth. I heated up oil in a frying pan and stirred in minced Orc meat until it browned nicely then skimmed off the fat before I added soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar and some grated ginger (the stuff from a tube was fine) and kept it at a low heat, stirring continuously until it was ready. I let it cool down before putting into a container and storing it away.
This is a super simple recipe, usable for all sorts of dishes, a topping for rice and as a side so having a good amount to hand was very convenient. The meat can be a mixture of beef and pork or just beef or chicken by themselves, it doesn't really matter. That done, I decided I had something else to do before I visited the Adventurers Guild tomorrow, to repay the kindness of Ugor-san. He had really helped me out a lot today, after all.
Without Ugor-san's intervention the jewellery I was selling would have been purchased for less than it was really worth. I'm not short of money thanks to Fer's efforts, not to mention Dora-chan and Sui too of course, but I don’t know much about gems and if Ugor-san hadn't said anything I would have accepted the first offer Adriano-san made. Even if Elland-san had been with me (that person seems to be useless except when it comes to Dragons) I suspect he wouldn't have spoken up like Ugor-san did.
I didn't know much about how the Merchants Guild in this world carried out their business but I could guess -- the phrase "Buy cheap, sell dear" from my own world probably existed in this world too so making a low offer to start with was just a natural thing for Adriano-san to do. I didn't think that a Merchant as skilled as he was had really made a mistake in his first offer, after all. If I knew what the items were really worth I maybe could have negotiated a better price myself but I didn't. Ugor-san knew what they were worth though. I decided that from now on I'd only sell items to the Adventurers Guild, it was safer that way.
Anyway, enough of that, I had to thank Ugor-san for taking care of me today. And what comes to mind for a thank-you present? Sweets of course. I had heard from Elland-san that Ugor-san has a wife and children so something like confectionery that the whole family can share would be even more pleasing.

My first thought was to choose something from the Sanke cake shop but I decided that wasn't something I could safely do, I didn't want the knowledge of my Net Super skill to leak out. So, something hand-made perhaps? Even though I've been cooking all my adult life (and, not to be boastful but I think I'm quite good at it), I've not made sweets much. As I strained to think of something appropriate my eye fell on the pound cake tins I had used for meatloaf.
"Ah, of course I've made pound cake before!" I remembered one of my part-time student jobs, working at a coffee shop which was famous for its delicious coffee and cakes. The most popular cake sets included chiffon cake, cheesecake and yes! pound cake too served up with their own-blend ground and filtered coffee. The cake sets were popular not only with female customers but also with old men. Me too, I should add even though I'm not female or old. Good coffee and simple handmade cakes go well together, that's all.
So, I made cakes working at that part-time job, pound cake, chiffon cake and the no-bake cheese cake too. It had been a while but I still remembered how to make them, well a simple version of a vanilla pound cake anyway.
I paused for a moment to think since all the ingredients would have to come from Net Super. What would be the status effects of eating a pound cake I made myself? I didn't think they'd be too dramatic even with Net Super ingredients. I decided I'd bake one and then use Appraisal on it and if it was too risky I'd not give it to Ugor-san. I knew the Gluttonous Trio would quite happily dispose of it for me, never mind sweet-toothed Deplorable-sama.
The recipe called for unsalted butter and sugar, eggs and plain fine flour, baking powder and vanilla essence. I already had eggs on hand so I purchased the other ingredients at the Net Super along with a whisk and a rubber spatula. At the coffee shop I had used an electric hand mixer but I couldn't use one here.
A pound cake is made by mixing flour and butter and eggs and sugar together, equal weights of all the ingredients. That's what made remembering how to bake it so easy. Baking powder made the pound cake fluffier like the cafe's own speciality version and a little vanilla essence sweetened the taste. Yosh, let's get started.
While the unsalted butter and eggs returned to room temperature I sifted the flour and baking powder together and lined the pound cake tin with a baking sheet before beating the eggs together in a separate bowl. I whisked the warm butter until it became runny, like very thick cream before adding the sugar bit by bit and continuing to whisk until the mixture became fluffy. It was time for the beaten eggs now which I fed slowly into the mix while I kept going with the whisk. Adding all the eggs in one go would be a mistake, it would make the mixture lumpy.

Finally I poured the sieved flour and baking powder into the mix and stirred it quickly and thoroughly with the rubber spatula. Once all the flour had combined it was ready to go into the oven. I spooned the finished dough into the pound cake tin I had lined with baking parchment, made a dent in the centre of the dough and then dropped the tin a few times on the table to displace any air bubbles.
A pound cake is baked for 40 to 45 minutes in an oven preheated to about 170 degrees. There's a trick, after about ten minutes of baking cut a slice in the middle of the top crust. This will make it look pretty when it's finished. Of course because I was using my Black Magic Cooking Stove I couldn't figure out the temperature properly so when the crust looked right I poked it with a bamboo skewer and confirmed it was cooked properly in the centre.
"Yeah, that looks okay..." I muttered as I took the tin out of the oven and tipped out the still-hot pound cake before wrapping it up in a clean cloth to let it cool down slowly. I'd leave it like that and unwrap it later to put on a plate for Ugor-san. Maybe I could get a nice basket with a lid instead though? Tomorrow perhaps.
I made another pound cake for Elland-san too although I wasn't sure he'd appreciate it. Despite Elland-san being, well, Elland-san he had helped me out a lot too, with the Earth Dragon disassembly and such. Ugor-san was married and had children so I was sure sweet things would go down well with them but Elland-san was single and presumably childless. Did Elves have a sweet tooth? Well, I'd find out tomorrow. What else... Oh, that's right. Appraise...
[ Pound cake ]
A pound cake made from different world ingredients. Increases magic power by approximately 1% for 5 minutes.
So the Net Super status boost would only be 1% for 5 minutes? That was insignificant so it would be fine to gift these pound cakes as I had intended. I'd hand them over when I went to the Adventurers Guild tomorrow to receive the payment for the items they had purchased from me. I could drop into a general store and buy baskets with lids on the way.