The Chocolate Cake: Part Two
Brianna quickly handed the form to her teacher, and hurried away quickly. Followed shortly behind her was Apple, who walked slowly and sadly, his back slumped over somewhat.
Suddenly, Brianna turned around to face Apple. Apple turned to walk away but was stopped by a chocolate hoof belonging to Brianna.
“Hey, App, I just wanted to say... I'm really sorry 'bout before, ya know? I was stupid to laugh, and you're right, I should've supported your decision to enter too; the truth is... I might have been a bit jealous, okay? What with a new cook in the school and all, I thought my fame might leave, but I guess...”
“I guess you were wrong, okay?” Apple suddenly interrupted. “Lose your fame? Look, Bri, you're a great cook obviously, you have great friends--okay, well maybe that Cybunny isn't so nice, but still- and I mean, who would choose a healthy vegetarian not-allowed-chocolate Quiggle like me over a funny, smart, awesome chef like you? Really, Brianna, really?”
Brianna bit her lip. “Oh, App, I truly am sorry, I must seem so horrid to you! Please forgive me, and tomorrow, I promise things'll be better, kay? I'll tell Claire and the others to stay away and leave you alone, got it? Please, App! Say you're still my friend!”
The Quiggle eventually softened. “Oh... okay, I guess you're forgiven, but first, don'tcha wanna know what I'm making?”
Brianna nodded happily, glad to be friends once more.
“Well... I'm making... fruit salad!”
Brianna's eyes bulged out wide. “Wow, App... f... fruit salad? Sounds... yummy?”
The truth was Brianna had actually never tried any kind of fruit before, unless the coco bean counted as a fruit, which she somewhat doubted.
“Yup, well, anyway, I better get going, see ya around, Bri!” and with a final wave and smile the little Quiggle was gone.
The second Brianna got home, she charged straight up to her room and slammed the door. She sprinted over to her mini library containing only cookery books and began rummaging around for one containing a recipe for chocolate cake. She scanned every page with her big Ogrin eyes. Cupcakes, carrot cakes, even dirt cakes, but no chocolate cake recipe was to be found.
“Well then,” Brianna said to herself hopefully, “I shall just have to make one from scratch.”
So she clambered down stairs and into the large, messy kitchen, and opened the fridge wide.
“Hmmm...” she mumbled. “Let's see, there's some chocolate, some sugar, some flour, two eggs, and some icing to put on the top. Hey, making this cake-making malarkey isn't so hard after all, hehe!”
But when it came to making the cake, that's when Brianna began to struggle. She started off with frying the eggs, adding the chocolate, squeezing in some icing, then throwing everything else in... big mistake. The gooey mixture exploded in the oven in seconds, causing Brianna's little brother Jake, a baby Lupe, and big sister, Chloe, to come running into the room.
“Uh-oh, Bwee has made a big mess of da kitchwen!” Jake barked.
“Oh, Bri, what have you done this time?” Chloe said, wrinkling her speckled Xweetok nose at the stench.
“I... I was t... trying to m... make a c... chocolate cake...” Brianna whimpered guiltily.
“With a FRYING PAN?” Chloe questioned, raising her eyebrows.
“Well, I'm not exactly an expert on baking chocolate cakes...” Brianna admitted sadly. “Look, I told everyone I was gonna enter a chocolate cake for a school cooking contest and I didn't have the guts to say no... only now, as it turns out, hehe... I can't exactly MAKE chocolate cake...”
“Woo don't sway!” Jake said, putting his paws up to look into the oven. It was coated in a thick, brown gloop.
Suddenly, Brianna's mother walked in.
“What in the name of Neopia happened in here?!” she cried, dropping her bags of recently-bought shopping onto the floor.
Brianna immediately ran over to the bags, and gleefully pulled out a fresh bag of flour, a new carton of eggs, a packet of sugar and, best of all, some squares of chocolate.
“You've not answered my question yet; who or what made this mess? Was it Jake... no, wait, he can't use the oven. Chloe?”
Chloe just shook her head and pointed at Brianna, who smiled up guiltily at her mother.
Her mother, Esme, just sighed and began unpacking her shopping.
“Just clean it up, okay? I can't be bothered listening to any excuses.”
“Mommy, Bwianna was making a chocowat cake!” Jake piped up suddenley.
Esme's ears pricked up. “You are? Wow, I didn't know you could make cakes, Bri.” She smiled.
“Well, the thing is...” Brianna started.
“She CAN'T, Mom, that's how all this mess came to be,” Chloe finished.
“Oh...” Esme looked upset. “Well, why were you attempting to make something you knew you couldn't? I mean, I'm all for trying new things and what not, but without a recipe for it or anything? That's smart.” Her voice dripped with sarcasm.
“I'm entering a contest,” Brianna said wearily, looking to see her mother's expression...
It was a good one. “Oh, wow, Bri! That's amazing! I always knew you had cooking talent, so good for you for entering... but why not make something you're good at? Look, when is this contest anyway?”
Esme suddenly gasped. She had no idea. She had just acted before thinking, not a good idea.
“It says here...” Chloe suddenly said, digging into her pocket for a flyer she had received for it at school that day. “It's on the 24th, that's... next week!”
Brianna breathed out. That was good; it meant she had a whole week to perfect her cake!
“I thought you might wanna enter...” Chloe admitted, blushing a little. “And, really, I think you should make the chocolate cake. We can help you! Well... practice anyway, I wouldn't want you to think I was planning on helping you cheat, 'cus I wasn't, I just...”
“Thanks, Chlo,” Brianna interrupted. She smiled a grateful smile.
“Oh, I suppose I can help too.” Esme softened.
“Practice!” Chloe and Brianna suddenly both said at once.
“Mwee too! Mwee too!” Jake chipped in, jumping around.
“Of course, little brother.” Brianna smiled.
And so it was settled. Brianna was making the chocolate cake.
ONE WEEK LATER
After one week of practising, Brianna had finally perfected her chocolate cake recipe.
And making it was pretty easy too. All you had to do was:
- Mix up the chocolate and milk in a saucepan
- Put the butter and sugar into another bowl
- Add three eggs to the chocolate and milk
- Add the flour, mix one last time, then put in the oven for 25 minutes
- Once cooled, coat with yummy chocolate icing and chocolate pieces
And that was it! It had taken her a while, but eventually she had finished making the perfect cake, and it truly was scrumptious.
The day before the contest, Brianna brought in slices of the previous cakes she had made with Esme and Chloe (and yes, even little Jake) the nights before, and the response was great; everyone loved it!
“Wow, Bri!” Claire said between bites of cake. “This cake is amazing, you're sure to win!”
It was the 'you're sure to win' part of that sentence that couldn't help but hurt Brianna. She wasn't sure she wanted to win, not if it meant beating one of her best friends, Apple.
Over the week, people seemed to have stopped making fun of Apple, and tended to leave him alone, even Claire (although it took quite a few more tins of carrots to fully persuade her). Apple hung around with Brianna and Claire some days, but he had made some other Quiggle friends from other classes as well, so everyone was happy.
But just then, Apple walked over. “Hey, Brianna! Clair.” He nodded. “That cake looks nice; I'd have a bit, but obviously...”
“Yeah...” Brianna turned red and looked down at her toes. “Well anyway, Claire and I...”
“But mostly me!” Claire grinned.
“Ummm... yeah... well anyway, Claire and I decided to make you a present with my new-found cake making skills!”
“And my love of carrots!” Claire chipped in.
Apple gasped as Brianna pressed a pink box containing a beautifully made carrot cake into Apple's hands.
“Wow! A... a carrot cake! Something sweet I can definitely eat!” Apple grinned, admiring the large cake hungrily.
“Try a bit, it's real nice!” Claire smiled, greedily staring at the cake.
“Well, I think we should all share it.” Apple nodded surely.
“You sure? I mean, it IS yours...” Brianna said.
“You heard the guy! He said he's sharing it!” Claire grinned, licking her lips.
“What else are friends for?” Apple smiled, carefully cutting a slice for each friend.
It was a day to remember. But not to remember as much as the day after that, the day of... the contest.
The whole school was buzzing with excitement, and people were still trying to guess what Apple was making. That's right, Brianna was sworn to secrecy on what Apple was making, and he had not told anyone else, as he wanted it to be a surprise.
THE DAY OF THE CONTEST
That morning, Brianna couldn't help taking one last peek of her cake, before finally sealing up the box containing her pride and joy, and carefully tying a white ribbon with brown spots (it matched her fur) around the box and getting ready to walk to school.
“Good luck, Bri, I know you'll win!” Esme smiled at Brianna.
“Yeah, Bri, I'll be the one in the audience cheering for you!”
“Gwood Wuck, Bwee!” Jake contributed, and then that was it. Brianna was on her way.
She walked with a carefully stride to school, and, just as she was about to reach the gates, BAM!
She felt the floor slip from within her feet, and before she knew it she fell face-first into the cake. The reason? Simple. She was tripped. By the big yellow Zafara that had been giving Apple hassle from day one.
She eventually got to her feet, and when she did, she wish she didn't. Because if she didn't, she wouldn't have been able to see the damage her trip had caused... her cake was destroyed. Even the box hadn't saved it.
“You... you... you tripped me!” Brianna cried, tears streaming down her face.
“Wha?” the Zafara said, acting innocent. “I did no such thing. How dare you make up such accusations!”
“HOW DARE YOU!” Brianna screamed, panting for breath through tears. “You've been horrid to me ever since I became friends with Apple and you know it!” and then she ran into school where she bumped into Apple.
“Apple! Oh, Apple! Look at my cake!” She just had time to see Apple holding a large, multi-coloured bowl containing many fun-shaped slices of fruit... the fruit salad.
“Oh, Bri... what ever happened?” Apple gasped.
“I'll tell you what happened! That big Zafara bully happened! And it's all your fault! If I hadn't befriended you then he wouldn't have held such a grudge against me!” and Brianna shoved the box at Apple and ran away in tears.
Several hours later and the school theatre was filled up with neopets buzzing with excitement as in five minutes the winner of the cookery contest would be announced. There was several judges who would try each dish before finally revealing the winner. Brianna had not yet told anybody what had happened to her entry, and in fact as she walked into the theatre there was a round of applause and people began cheering “BRIANNNA, BRIANNA, BRIANNA!” at the top of their lungs.
Several tears suddenly formed in Brianna's eyes, and she wiped them away hastily with the back of her hoof. She took a seat in the front row next to Claire, who squealed with excitement when she saw her.
“This is it, Bri, I just know you're gonna win, and who knows, maybe Apple will come in second, eh?” Claire nudged Brianna, who shrugged her off quickly. Brianna just looked sadly up at the empty stage containing nothing but the three trophies up for grabs, a bronze, silver and, of course, gold.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS, PETPETS AND PETPETPETS OF ALL AGES, WELCOME TO THE ANNUAL NEOPIAN NEOSCHOOL COOKERY SHOW YR 12! THE WINNERS ARE NOW TO BE ANNOUNCED, STARTING WITH THIRD PLACE...” the loudspeaker suddenly announced, and the crowd suddenly hushed, although a tingle of excitement buzzed around the room like a hyper Mozito.
“Hey Brianna...” Claire suddenly whispered. “Where's Apple, I've not seen him anywhere...”
But just then, Apple sneaked in to the theatre and sat also at the front but at the seat right at the end, closest to the stage.
Claire laughed a little. “Confident a little? The nerve of it all! Sitting right next to the stage expecting to just swagger right up there and collect his trophy! Hmph!”
“Unless...” Brianna's stomach suddenly twisted. “What if the winners have been told already they've won? What if he's just getting ready to go receive it?” Her voice wobbled a little.
Claire's face fell. She knew there was a possibility this was true. “Aw, Bri, cheer up. Don't think like that, think positive!”
The speaker suddenly began talking again, and the room fell silent.
“SO, THIRD PLACE GOES TO... SOPHIA THE PINK LUPE WITH HER NICLEY DECORATED PINK CUPCAKES! COME UP AND GET YOUR TROPHY!”
And suddenly a pretty little pink Lupe scampered up on stage and smiled a toothy grin as people took photos and cheered. She held up her trophy in a victory stance before trotting back down off stage, looking smug and very pleased with herself.
“AND SECOND PLACE GOES TO... CASPER THE GREEN SHOYRU, WITH HIS HEALTHY BUT TASTY SUSHI! COME UP HERE CASPER TO RECEIVE YOUR GREAT SILVER TROPHY!”
Next a shy looking green Shoyru flew up on stage and blinked up at the cameras with big, amber eyes as he quickly pulled his hands out his pockets to hold on to his trophy and stumble back off stage.
Brianna's stomach was now doing back flips. So this was it. Either Apple had come first place, or he hadn't even placed at all. She almost couldn't bear the tension. She turned to see what Apple's reaction to all this was, but, to her shock and surprise, Apple was gone!
Brianna felt a furry chocolate paw clutch hers and from the wetness of it Brianna knew it was a) Claire's and b) she was awfully nervous.
“Don't worry, Clair...” Brianna whispered to the nervous chocolate Cybunny. “Whatever happens, I won't mind, honest.”
And then finally- “AND NOW, IN FIRST PLACE, WITH AN AMAZING, COLOURFUL, TASTY BAKED ITEM, WE HAVE BRIANNA THE CHOCOLATE OGRIN WITH HER... FRUIT SALAD CHOCOLATE CAKE!”
Claire suddenly leapt up and screamed, causing the whole audience to suddenly explode with applause.
“BRIANNA! BRIANNA, YOU WON! I KNEW YOU WOULD! THIS IS SO AMAZING! IN FACT, THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER! AND THE BEST PART? I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW YOU WERE MAKING A FRUIT SALAD CAKE!” Claire gushed, her face flushing red with excitement.
“N... neither did I...” Brianna heard herself saying. She didn't understand, there must have been some mistake, another Ogrin, another Brianna, another fruit-salad-chocolate-cake-making neopet somewhere in the audience. But then... wait a minute... FRUIT SALAD?? That's what Apple had made, was it not... ?
Suddenly, Apple leapt up from behind the stage, ran down the stairs and grabbed Brianna by her hooves.
“Come on, Brianna! You've got a gold trophy to receive!” Apple grinned, and suddenly the winning cake was wheeled out by one of the judges, a blue Tuskaninny.
Brianna stopped and stared at the cake. It was amazing. It was just like her old chocolate cake at the bottom, only on the top, was all the fruit from the fruit salad, complete with whipped cream and perched even higher above that... two marzipan figures, one a speckled Quiggle, the other a chocolate Ogrin. It was perfect.
“Oh, Apple!” Brianna gushed, running up to hug the Quiggle. “You fixed up my cake and lost your own entry in the progress, how can I ever thank you?”
“The fact that this beauty won is thanks enough as it is, Bri, and I'm so glad you like it, I fixed it up for you just before the show, that's why I was late coming in...”
“Ummm, excuse me?” the blue Tuskaninny suddenly asked, wrinkling his nose. “And who exactly are YOU?” he asked Apple.
Brianna suddenly grabbed the microphone and cried into it: “This is Apple. He's a speckled Quiggle, an amazing chef, a kind, caring person, and one of the bestest friends in the whole, wide WORLD!”