Developer: Culinate Inc

Price: 2.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

iOS Integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Karen Tack and Alan Richardson are cupcake wizards with three New York Times best-selling cookbooks. They all feature fanciful boutique-bakery quality designs, but are made using every day ingredients, especially candies, donuts, and cookies. Now they have a universal app, Hello Cupcake!, featuring some amazing motifs that are as much fun to make as they are to look at.

10 delicious and gorgeous cupcake patterns are included, each cuter or more lovely than the last. They are set in baking tins that act as a menu. Users select the design, and are greeted by an adorable stop-motion animation featuring the finished creation. After that, a mix of stop-motion voiced-over instructional video and text blend to give would-be cupcake artists easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

The app focuses on decorating, with supplemental videos for each project that teach users the finer points of frosting, dipping, and working with the seemingly endless supply of scrumptious toppings. Like the ingredients, most of the tools, including Ziploc bags, rolling pins and spatulas are everyday household items, not things that will require a trek to the gourmet cooking store.

The actual cake and frosting recipes are not included, mostly because for optimal results packaged products work best. But basic instruction on how to doctor the mixes is in the supplemental materials.

Along with the two included trays are several other tins with even more patterns for in-app purchase of $.99 each. The authors promise to update with still more in time. There are two tantalizingly open spots on the second unlocked tray that I hope to see filled along with additional IAPs.

There is a lot of attention to detail in the app itself. Along with the extra videos, the cupcake recipe and the complete list of ingredients, there is also a comprehensive source list. My favortie touch is that the app works in both orientations. In landscape the images are bigger, but the user has to toggle between the print instructions and the video and images; in portrait the app splits the screen to display both.

The only thing missing is social network integration. So many people I know love to share craft and kitchen projects and to show off their results. The ability to add personal pictures and notes to the designs and the option to share both the templates and individual results on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Pinterest would be a welcome extra ingredient.

Hello Cupcake! is a rare app. While the culinarily competent will want to get cracking, even those of us with severe kitchen impairments can delight in the app’s artful presentation. The projects may be too elaborate for children, but kids of all ages will enjoy the animations, and all that is before the best part – eating!


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