I found something about the TieredCaker app on twitter and it looked interesting, so I retweeted about it. I was contacted by the company owner to see if I'd like to review it on my blog, and of course I said yes! They sent me a copy for my iPad and I played with it for a while to see what I could do with it.
This app is available for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone...What it does it takes a serving count and gives you the various tier combinations that will add up to that count. It gives you exact as well as approximate combinations, and options of two, three, four or more tiers. You can switch between round, square, heart and hexagon shapes.
It also has a serving chart for individual tiers, and it changes based on the size of the serving. You can switch between wedding servings and party servings, or customize a serving size. When you customize the size the serving count and price update automatically. (This is actually a good argument about why pricing by the serving doesn't always make sense, since the same cake can cost different amounts if you change the serving size!) I chose 3" x3" for a serving size, and it said that a 6-tiered cake would serve 54 people. Good to know in case I ever need to do a party for a bunch of teenaged boys.
It allows you to either choose a pre-chosen size configuration or build your own stack of tiers. You can also go in and remove or add tiers to a prechosen arrangement, so it's customizable. Every time you change something the serving count updates, so you can see what would happen if you added or removed a tier. This would come in handy for a client who says "what if we added an extra tier?" You can update the serving count and price by adding in the extra tier.
It would also work well for people who want to use different shapes of tiers on the same cake. The custom stacker will let you stack rounds and squares, for example, and get the correct serving count without having to use multiple charts.
Another feature is the customizable price calculator. You can choose a cake size, then select the price per serving in and it calculates the total cost for you. if you increase that the price updates, so you can calculate fondant vs. buttercream pricing, for example.
When you've chosen the cake size, you can go to the serving chart, which is a diagram of how the cake should be cut, and email it to the client. This would be REALLY helpful for people to see how they're expected to cut the cake to get the correct servings. It will eliminate one point of confusion for clients who think they're supposed to cut a cake into the 3x3" servings I mentioned before.
Another feature that's really useful is the ability to add or remove cake pan sizes from the options. Let's say that you don't have a 7" round pan. Just go into the pan selector and uncheck that size. It won't use the 7" pan in any of the combinations from then on unless you recheck it.
There are some limitations to the app, of course, which is only to be expected because no app does everything. The designers have a way to contact them with feedback and suggestions, though, so they're interested in hearing from people who would be using the app.
The things I would add would be a feature that lets you calculate a tier combination that gives you the serving count without the top tier included. I don't include the top tier in the serving count for my wedding cakes, so that would be helpful. In the meantime, I can just look on the one-tier-lower combinations and add a smaller tier to a combination that has the number of servings I need.
The other thing that could be a problem for some people is the serving charts themselves, since the wedding cake servings counts seem to use the Wilton charts. Some people prefer the square-cutting method, which gives you slightly fewer servings per tier. You can adjust for that by customizing the serving size, though.
If you set it on 1.25"x2" you get close to the square-cut serving chart numbers. If you're trying to split the difference between the two charts, you can set the custom serving size to 1.25 x 1.75", and the serving count ends up about halfway between the two charts.
The one real limitation that I could see is that it doesn't include rectangular pans, but maybe they could include that in an update? hint hint.
This is a very useful app, and the things about it that are limitations will just take a little working around. For myself, I can set the custom serving size to get the result that's midway between the two charts, and add a smaller tier to a combination that's the number of servings I need. Once you learn what the different features will do it's really easy to customize the app to work with the way that you have your cake pricing set up.
The TieredCaker app is $7.99 in the App store in iTunes. The Calculated Cakes website says that they're developing more apps to go along with the line, so keep your eye on the website to see what's coming up. Go to www.calculatedcakes.com for more information, and watch this video to see the app in action: