Spoiler alert! Cake Doodle is the best of the Thanksgiving apps, and it’s not really even a Thanksgiving app. It’s an Easybake oven for the iPad with Thanksgiving decorations. If it sounds familiar, it’s pretty much exactly like Cookie Doodle which I reviewed before Halloween. But Cake Doodle is just a bit better.
The problem with Thanksgiving is that it’s an in-between holiday. The tradition only goes back to the seventeenth century. The holidays it’s sandwiched between, Halloween and Christmas, not only go back millennia but they’re kind of polar opposites—the season of darkness verses the season of light.
How can Thanksgiving compete with that? It wasn’t really an American holiday until after the Civil War. Do you honestly think the Catholic Southeast and the Bible Belt in the Southwest would celebrate a Puritan Yankee holiday? It didn’t even involve mint juleps.
The liberal Democrat FDR made it a an official holiday to lengthen the Christmas shopping season and help to drag us out of the depression. This was short-sighted because big business wised up and started the Christmas season the day after Halloween. After that Thanksgiving became kind of a vestigial holiday and, as such, it got the short shrift. The only Thanksgiving movies? Home for the Holidays and Planes, Trains and Automobiles—neither one a classic and either of which could have just as well been about Christmas.
No magical figureheads like Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Great Pumpkin. No songs. Well, some people claim “Over the River” is a Thanksgiving song, but it could be about any visit to grandma. No big Thanksgiving day sales for Thanksgiving because those are really for Christmas.
And no apps. As you will learn over the next couple of days, the Thanksgiving iPad apps are pretty thin in both availability and quality. The best one, Cake Doodle, isn’t even a Thanksgiving app even though it’s marketed as one.
Just type “Thanksgiving” into the App Store search field and it will turn up in the list.
Cake Doodle manages this by offering Thanksgiving cakes and decorations, turkeys and cornucopias, pumpkin and apple cake. Ironically, somewhere along the line the developers forgot that nobody eats cake on Thanksgiving. We eat pumpkin and apple pie.
And, in the south, pecan.
So if they were really going to do a Thanksgiving app, it should be Pie Doodle. The only catch is, pies aren’t as much fun to digitally pretend bake as cakes. You buy a store bought crust, you scoop the pumpkin pie mix in and you stick it in the oven.
These days we don’t even bake pies. We buy them and warm them in the oven. Are they as good as mom’s homemade pies? That depends on how good a cook your mom was, and mine would never forgive me if I segued down that memory lane.
So it looks like we’re stuck with Cake Doodle.
Cake Doodle adopts the same formula as Cooke Doodle. You choose your cake, add the ingredients and mix the batter, bake the cake and decorate. But there are a few more wrinkles Cake Doodle.
First of all, there are a lot more cakes than there were cookie recipes.
You have access to quite a few cake recipes.
Next you mix in the surprisingly realistic ingredients. I haven’t made a real cake (or cookies) using the recipe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t. Like Cookie Doodle you have to crack the eggs and shake the salt. But you also have to sift the flour, and even slice the fruit.
Cake Doodle simulates the physical aspects of the virtual ingredients
Cookie Doodle had a cute little Easybake over for the cookies. Cake Doodle’s oven looks a little more real. I think they could have kept the cute, but maybe they want to target ten-year-old girls who have outgrown plastic baking.
You also have to choose your style of cake and bake the different layers.
There are more cake styles than cake recipes.
Finally you get to decorate your cake, and Cake Doodle goes all out with frosting, piping, decorations and even cake toppers. You can choose the frosting color (and even mix the colors to create new ones).
You have all the decoration materials of a professional pastry chef.
When you’re finished you can eat the cake and/or save a photo to your photo album. These aren’t screen shots either (unlike Dot Connect! Thanksgiving, which I will review next week). Cake Doodle manages to mask out the interface elements and shoot the cake in isolation.
You can build your cake portfolio with the photos album.
What’s missing from Cake Doodle is the ability to save your cakes and look at them in the app later. Nor can you use photos from your album for decorations. But these are small complaints. Even adults can have fun with Cake Doodle, if they’re willing to unleash their inner children.
Jenny Manytoes rates Cake Doodle
Jenny Manytoes would make biscuits all over Cake Doodle. It’s like the frosting in her cream, which we never actually give her because it turns out milk products are bad for cats. But maybe on Thanksgiving we’ll sneak her into Bill and Liza’s1 and when nobody’s paying attention because this year’s Cowboys just gave up the fourth touchdown in the quarter, I’ll slip her a teaspoon full. Just for Thanksgiving.
Or maybe we’ll just go to Threadgills and then to the movies so we can root for the aliens during Skyline. In Texas we all know the movie’s a metaphor for immigration reform. And Thanksgiving is, first and foremost, a holiday to celebrate the natives making peace with and granting amnesty to the aliens who showed up to steal their land.
And that turned out pretty well.
For the aliens.