It's #NationalCupcakeWeek, so if you fancy getting your bake on, we've rounded up the mobile apps and tech you need to make baking a piece of cake...
It’s #NationalCupcakeWeek and Bake Off season all at once, which means one thing: now’s the time to get your bake on! Summer’s pretty much over, everyone’s finished their beach body diets, and we’re all looking forward to the hearty foodie freedom that autumn brings. Jumpers, coats and layering all mean we get the chance to eat more and hide the evidence, so there’s no better time to try out a host of new recipes.
But where do you start if you’re a baking novice, or looking for new ideas to spruce up your repertoire? Don’t panic! In the age of the smartphone there are plenty of apps and loads of top tech to help you achieve a super soufflé or resplendent red velvet. To prove it, we’ve selected just a few that’ll inspire, aid, or do most of the hard work for you…
BBC iPlayer | iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, Free
Last week brought that sad news that The Great British Bake Off will lose popular presenters Mel and Sue when it moves to Channel 4 next year. But for now, you can still enjoy the joy, laughter, and tears – all fronted by that most British of comedy duos – on the BBC, so make the most of it by downloading iPlayer and catching up on the latest series of #GBBO. What better way to get you in the mood to bake?
Yummly | iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, Free
Yummly is so much more than just a great name for a cooking app. It’s got loads of great recipes to try out, and it makes it super easy to prepare with the ability to add entire recipes to your weekly shopping list. It even categorises the ingredients for you, so you can whiz round the shop in no time. You can also save favourite recipes to your digital recipe box and set your taste and nutrition preferences – it’ll then serve you up more recipes that match your preferences! Added bonus? It’s not just a baking app – there are all sorts of recipes available (mac and cheese bites anyone?) but hopefully that’ll just encourage you to become an all-round master baker and chef.
The Betty Crocker Cookbook | iOS, Android, Free
As a baking stalwart you’ll recognise the Betty Crocker name from the easy to make cake mixes and ready-made icings you’ll find in every large supermarket. But did you know that you can actually make those cakes and icing from scratch using the recipes in this app? A favourite of ours is the Vanilla buttercream – making it yourself will save you about £3.50 and it’s a really simple and easy recipe to follow.
“You can also easily keep track of the ingredients you’ve already added and the steps you’ve completed by simply tapping each ingredient.”
Having recipes on your phone is handy, but a nightmare if you have to keep waking your phone up and putting in your passcode every minute with buttery, floury hands, right? Not any more: Betty’s got your back. When you’re using the app the screen won’t dim and your phone won’t lock. You can also easily keep track of the ingredients you’ve already added and the steps you’ve completed by simply tapping each ingredient or stage in the recipe.
Cupcake decorating ideas by mcsydapps | Android, Free
So you’ve successfully made your cupcakes for #NationalCupcakeWeek, but what next? Well, if you really want to impress, a lovingly decorated bun will win you lots of compliments, and maybe hide the fact that you accidentally dropped a bit of eggshell in the mixture… This app will help you transform your cupcakes into works of art with over 100 decorating ideas, all of which you can save to your phone or share with others. There is one slight downside to this app and others of its kind – they don’t show you the ingredients you need to achieve the effect, or even how to do it. So think of it more as a cupcake decorating mood board, or a game of imitation. As a pro baker we’ve no doubt you’ll rise to the challenge.
Cake and Baking Recipes | iOS, Free
If you’re only looking for recipes to make sweet treats in the form of cakes, puddings, tarts, pies, cookies, or cheesecakes, then this is the app for you. Cake and Baking Recipes does exactly what you’d expect, packing in loads of recipes that don’t need to use mobile data to view – useful for baking addicts’ battery and data allowance! There are some really unusual recipes on offer too – the ‘Thousand-Layer Pancake Cake’ sounds like an instant classic, while the ‘Cookie Monster Craze’ and ‘Brownie Cupcake with Oreo Centres’ are sure-fire winners for #NationalCupcakeWeek.
Days Ago | iOS, Free
Have you ever wondered how many days ago it was when you opened that jar of jam, or bottle of milk, or packet of baking powder? Freshness matters in baking, so it’s important to be able to keep track of when you opened your ingredients. That’s where the Days Ago app comes in, letting you track whatever you like (it doesn’t have even have to be baking or food related) and even attach a photo of the specific ingredient to remind yourself. It’s free to track up to 3 items at a time, but if you need more you can upgrade to unlimited use for a small cost.
Useful smart kitchen tech
iGrill Kitchen Thermometer | Amazon.co.uk, £49.99
For the slightly more advanced baker, a smart thermometer is a must. Fans of Bake Off will recall seeing many a scene in which baking hopefuls stick thermometers into jams, sugar, caramel, bread, and chocolate, all of which have to be certain temperatures to achieve perfection. So why a smart thermometer instead of a regular one? Well, smart thermometers connect wirelessly and seamlessly to your smartphone, which will then alert you when your desired temperature has been reached, meaning you’ll never need to guess when your chocolate is ready to temper, or when your bread’s cooked through, and you’ll never burn your caramel or jam again! It’ll also come in handy for cooking meat at next summer’s BBQ, too.
Drop Kitchen Connected Scale and Recipe App | Lakeland.co.uk, RRP £59.99 and Drop app | iOS, Free
The Drop Kitchen Connected Scale may be a bit of a mouthful to say but it’ll help revolutionise your baking. It’s is a wireless scale, which easily links to Apple devices and helps you gather together the exact ingredient amounts. The accompanying Drop app has loads of tried and tested recipes too, and comes packed full of handy videos and helpful hints and tips.
Once you’ve chosen what you want to bake, simply click on ‘Start Recipe!’ to get going. And, if the last time you did any mental arithmetic was for your GCSE Maths exam, then Drop has got you covered when it comes to serving sizes: it cleverly rescales recipes depending on how many servings you need. Likewise, if you run low on a specific ingredient it’ll refresh the recipe straightaway so you don’t have to nip out to the shops halfway through a baking session. And the best bit? Its recipes are all one-bowl, so less washing up after you’re done!
Quirky Egg Minder | Amazon.co.uk, around £30
Every good baker knows that the fresher the egg, the better the outcome. Quirky Egg Minder know this too. It wirelessly connects to your phone to track the number of eggs you have, and will alert you when they’re going bad. In-tray LED lights indicate the oldest egg of the bunch, while push notifications let you know when you’re running low. Simple, but brilliantly effective.
So that’s it – you’re now set to enjoy #NationalCupcakeWeek to the fullest, and to make a host of new friends by plying them with sugary treats. With the help of theses smart tech and apps you’ll be baking like Mary and Paul in no time, whipping you into shape for The Great British Bake Off series 8… Whatever that looks like! On your marks, get set, BAKE!
Need a workout after all those cakes? Click here to find out how your phone can make you fit with top vlogger Btekt.