「我為你做了焙茶（Hoji Cha ？）蛋糕啊。」
Yukiko opened the fridge to get some butter. How much butter should she cut? Sliding her finger on the screen, her cell phone instantly got dusty with flour; trying to zoom in to see the text, the screen then got glossy from the butter. Such simple recipe was already tricky enough to make her flustered.
“I’ve baked a Hojicha cake for you.”
Hatuta opened the door and saw a paper bag. The entrance was a little dark, the lights in the hallway were too white in color. Natsu’s smile was glittering although she was standing against the light. Hatuta invited Natsu in. He suddenly remembered to bring out the new pair of slippers he bought yesterday. Looking at the pink slippers, Natsu seemed to have a little concern, “Can I first take off my socks and dry them?”
Only then did Hatuta notice Natsu’s skirt was so damp that it was sticking to her calves. The umbrella in her hand was still dripping. June is the rainy season, it had been raining since early this morning. “I parked my car a little far, my feet already got all wet from this short walk,” said Natsu.
Hatuta wanted to take over the socks Natsu just took off, but she grabbed the hanger from Hatuta and said shyly, “Let me do it myself.” She walked up on her tip toe, raised her hands and hung her socks in front of the bathroom ventilation fan. Hatuta decided to brew some tea so he would not keep staring at Natsu.
Yukiko poured the sugar into the melted butter and stirred carefully. The fragrance of butter filled up every corner of the kitchen. She took a deep breath, her entire body was filled with the sweetness.
Natsu looked up at Hatuta’s bookshelf and glanced at the books’ spines one by one.
“Have you read all of them?”
“I haven’t read most of them,” Hatuta said jokingly.
“Are you busy with your thesis?”
“Yeah. I’m also taking some pictures for a photography competition.”
“The photos you shoot must be very special.”
“Hm… But I only want to take usual photos.”
“A documentation of everyday life.”
“Right.” Hatuta felt embarrassed for some reason.
“Photos that catch the subtle atmosphere in everyday life,” Natsu said while looking into Hatuta’s eyes. Hatuta could not help laughing, he was surprised she would remember his words.
“Let’s have some tea,” said Hatuta.
When pouring half of the flour into the butter-egg mix, Yukiko suddenly realized she had forgotten to sieve the flour. She quickly spooned out the flour that had not been touched by the mix and sieved it together with the rest of the flour. It gently fell onto the mix like snow falling.
Hatuta let Natsu sit on the only chair in his place. He held the tray with one hand and put his laptop onto the floor with the other. He then pushed away his reference books to give some space for the cake and the tea. He sat by the bed, took the heavy paper bag from his bag and passed it to Natsu.
“I’ve had a look at all these photobooks. I like them a lot, but I am so worried that I would unconsciously imitate them.”
“It is a great effort to pay to avoid being influenced by works you like.” She took the bag and put it on the floor.
“Thank you for coming.” Hatuta caught Natsu spreading and closing her toes, he was watching without thinking. Her toes got so pale as they were soaked in rainwater.
“It’s a short ride to drive.” She glanced at the paper bag and said, “I’m sure I would forget to take it with me.”
Rain was getting heavier. It hit on the window lattice and splashed onto Hatuta’s face through a tiny gap.
“In case you really forget… would you come again to pick them up?” His voice was so low that it almost got muted by the rain outside of the window.
Natsu remained silent, Hatuta was not sure if she could hear him. He had a bite of the hojicha cake Natsu made. The strong fragrance of the hojicha tea was nicely wrapped by that of the butter.
“I definitely cannot forget, my husband needs these books urgently.” Natsu had a sip of the tea, “Your hojicha tea tastes so nice, but hojicha tea and hojicha cake have such a similar taste, they somehow don’t go well together.”
Looking at Natsu’s cheerful face, Hatuta was only wondering why wouldn’t the rain stop.
Yukiko heard the key turning in the lock, she knew it must be Hatuta returning from his work trip. She rushed to take out the hojicha cake from the oven as she wanted to present it to Hatuta once he entered the door. Before he even hugged her, she would say, “I’ve baked a hojicha cake for you!”
無鹽牛津 80 克、糖 60 克、雞蛋 2 個、麵粉 100克、泡打粉 2 克、焙茶 2 大匙、牛奶 1 大匙
1. 將牛奶加熱後，加入 1 大匙茶葉；
3. 雞蛋打散後，拌入混了牛奶的茶葉，再加入 （2），拌勻；
5. 把（3）逐點拌入（4），最後加入 1 大匙茶葉，略為攪拌； 6. 將（6）倒入蛋糕模中
80g unsalted butter, 60g sugar, 2 eggs, 100g flour, 2g baking powder, 2 tbsp Hojicha, 1 tbsp milk
Warm the milk; add 1 tbsp of tea leaves.
Melt the butter, add sugar and mix well.
Whisk the eggs, mix with the milk with tea leaves. Add the butter with sugar and mix well.
Sieve the flour and baking powder.
Slowly pour mix (3) into (4). Add 1 tbsp of tea leaves in and stir.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Ready to serve.