The device: For my batch of troisième, I extracted a simple text-based recipe with the help of Apple’s latest smartphone. When it comes to tasks in the kitchen, the Apple iPhone 14 doesn’t offer many special features, unless you want to take photos of your food with its improved camera. The 14 is more or less a mid-size smartphone, and all things considered, it felt like a shiny new version of the smartphone most of us carry around in our pocket or bag.
The baking: At this point, my counter was starting to get a bit cluttered with sacks of flour and sugar and an assortment of tools ranging from a rarely used strainer to my trusty white KitchenAid mixer. My previously arranged mise en place was more like the aftermath of a home invasion. So the prospect of using a compact, almost tiny device was very attractive.
But using Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, in the kitchen was a bit confusing.
When I tried to look up a traditional recipe I’d read about, Siri initially found me “comer and see cupcakes” instead of “Commercy cupcakes”. But on the second try with Siri, I found the old school recipe I was craving.
Leonce Chenal’s site design was elegant and the text was single big enough that I could read the steps with the phone on the counter (although I needed to tap the screen to scroll down, Siri couldn’t help with that). And all his measurements were metric.
I started by converting sugar from grams to ounces using an iPhone app called Converter, which required more screen taps. Then I gave up and got out my gram scale for the flour and baking powder. This was a smart move, but it also pushed my chaotic countertop into overload. So I put the phone in the pocket of my hoodie to keep until I could load the dishwasher.
Despite the website’s ode to Hermès graphics, this recipe was actually very easy; No need to brown butter, whip sugar, or even butter your cupcake liners. I just threw everything together, including so much baking powder I thought was a typo, chilled the dough, and baked. Who needs fantasy?
The result: Siri was fine as a digital assistant, although I needed to manage the iPhone 14’s screen more than I liked. And while this was a text-based recipe, I also went through some technical videos, and reading them in detail required me to pick up the iPhone and hold it up to my face. Those Trade Cupcakes, however, they were a revelation: tasty and delicate, although the “hump” was a bit misshapen on some.