Comparing apples to apples?

I admit, I am a recipe junkie. It doesn't have to be cookbooks, though I love cookbooks. It doesn't have to be from a magazine. It could be an online recipe, or from a friend. It could be anywhere. I just like recipes.

So I admit, Nintendo had my attention the first time I saw the add for What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver. Seriously? A "cookbook", recipes, cooking games and a shopping list? On a DS?

Okay, that appeals to me. Especially the shopping list part, actually. I had an older Palm Pilot at one point, used for the phone book and for groceries, but it kept dying on me. Usually while I was at the grocery store with the list open.

Anyone have this? Is is worth the $40 for it? I'm not sure, which is why I didn't buy it.

Now this one, on the other hand, was only $20.

And, it came with a very good recommendation from this fine young cook, Sabrina. So I took her recommendation, borrowed one of my children's DS, and sat down to find a recipe to try.

There were 245 of them to choose from. No games that I've seen so far though.

In the end, I decided to do a little "bake off", making the recipe for pound cake from the DS Personal Trainer, against the pound cake recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.

It isn't really a fair comparison though. The DS recipe makes a perfectly good pound cake, a small loaf, with very few ingredients. It was good, I liked it. Ina's recipe, on the other hand, had alot more ingredients (it was supposed to have an orange syrup poured on it while hot, and then had an optional orange glaze, both of which I skipped,) and made two large loafs of pound cake.

But if you look closely at these two cakes, you'll see crumb wise, there really isn't much difference between them. The Barefoot Contessa cake is on the left, the larger loaf, and has orange juice in the batter. The cake from the Personal Trainer is the smaller one on the right. It does not have orange juice mixed into the batter.

If I were to pick my favorite recipe based on easy of making and the least amount of mess made, the DS Personal Trainer recipe would win, hands down. It was 5 minutes together, with very few bowls and minimal mess.

If I were to base it on consistency of the cakes, it would be about equal.

In the end, though I liked them both, my two testers, the hubby and my oldest child, gave Ina's cake the slight edge. My husband thought it might have been the orange juice. And the fact that there was alot more of it to test with than the smaller DS loaf.

Still, not bad for a recipe found on my son's hand held gaming unit. And since the instructions are clear, with voice, pictures and words, this looks like it might be a good thing for my oldest son to use to try and get into the kitchen more, a goal we both have this year.

Now.... Anyone have any opinions on the Jaime Oliver one?

Pound Cake
from Personal Trainer: Cooking from the Nintendo DS

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 medium eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
dash of vanilla extract

I'm actually going to write down what the program says to me when I have it ready to cook this recipe. Yes, it talks you through the recipe.

Warm the butter to room temperature - you'll need a mixing bowl. Take the butter from the fridge and put it in the mixing bowl. Leave it to warm at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 35oF.

The next step is to prepare the cake mix - you'll need a mixing bowl, a fine sieve and a whisk. Place the sieve over the mixing bowl and place the flour inside. Add the baking powder. Stir the flour and baking powder with the whisk and sift them into the mixing bowl.

Next you'll need a small bowl to break the eggs into. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them.

That's it for preparations!

Mix the softened butter with the whisk. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly, until the mixture is pale. Gradually add the eggs and mix them in thoroughly. Mix in a dash of vanilla extract. Add the sifted flour and baking powder and use the rubber spatula to fold it in.

The next step is to line the loaf pan. You'll need a loaf pan and parchment paper. (I'm going to skip the details on how you line your pan, though it suggests a 9x3x3 loaf pan for the size.)

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and flatten out the surface. Tap the bottom of the pan gently against a hard surface to remove any air bubbles.

Now it is time to bake the cake. You'll need a wire rack. Bake the cake in the 350F oven for around 45 minutes. After removing the cake from the oven, place it on a wire rack to cool.

It goes on to give instructions about removing from the pan, slicing and serving, so I'll skip those too.


Megan said...

When Sabrina comes home from school, I will show this to her - she'll be tickled pink!!

Seriously though, you put up a fine comparison for the two recipes.

I was wondering about the Jamie Oliver set. I can't wait to see if anyone has it and what they think of it.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now that is really cool in all ways Jenny. From the looks alone I'd go for Ina's but I hear you on ease.

Megan said...

hey jenny - Sabrina here. glad you liked the game!! the cake looks good and i think i might give it a try this weekend- i would recommend the Swedish meatballs if you want a cool twist to your average meatballs!!

Shari said...

I may have to give this a try (if I can pull a DS away from my kids)!

Anonymous said...

I'll join you in the recipe junkie club ~ it's a sickness, LOL!

Peabody said...

Interesting. I have never even seen that for DS.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I LOVE the taste test! Typical that Ina's would be supersized. And a bit complicated. but good to know that you found an acceptable easy recipe. Your son will probably love learning to cook with that program.

Karen Baking Soda said...

Kids have downloaded Cooking Mama just for me or so they say. (Can't pour a pint of water to save my life I'm afraid.) Jamie Oliver on DS? Never saw it..will set my kids on a hunt now!