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Pure Imagination Perfect Bake review: Bake up your favorites with Pure Imagination's Perfect Bake

The $70 Pure Imagination Perfect Bake kit makes it easier than ever for beginners to bake their favorite treats.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
5 min read

While you have some wiggle room when it comes to baking (adding extra chocolate chips, for example, is always an acceptable recipe deviation), precision is key. You simply can't fling ingredients with reckless abandon and always expect an optimal result (I've tried). That's why so many folks champion the kitchen scale.


Pure Imagination Perfect Bake

The Good

Pure Imagination's $70 Perfect Bake kit takes you from prep to pulling those chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. You can rely on the app's recipe database and add your own, too.

The Bad

Perfect Bake isn't designed for multi-recipe multi-tasking or independent, experienced bakers who crave control over their concoctions.

The Bottom Line

Perfect Bake offers an interactive experience for families and beginners who need a little hand-holding in the kitchen.

In spite of this, Americans tend to shirk the scale in favor of measuring cups -- whether they're quickly whipping up pancake batter or spending hours on that expert-level recipe they found on Epicurious.

Bake smarter with Pure Imagination's Perfect Bake (pictures)

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Maybe it's because food scales seem unnecessarily fussy; many of us have managed to make baked goods without them for this long, so why mess with a new kitchen implement now? The truth is you don't need a scale to make a decent cake, but it will do more to ensure that it comes out as expected Every. Single. Time. And Pure Imagination's $70 Perfect Bake kit is a perfect extension of this philosophy (this converts to £45/AU80). Its app-connected kitchen scale chimes when you've added the correct amount of each ingredient so anyone looking for a little extra help -- or just a more interactive baking experience -- has a fun, accurate alternative.

Get your bake on

The Perfect Bake kit includes a digital food scale, three bowls, an oven thermometer and a stand for your Android or iOS device. None of the components feels particularly high-quality or seem particularly well-designed, but I didn't expect too much for 70 bucks. Still, the essentials are there: the scale is responsive, the bowls come in small, medium and large sizes, the thermometer is the same standard model you can find for a few dollars in most kitchen supply shops and the plastic stand lets you easily access the app while baking.

The app is thoughtfully laid out and packed full of features that make baking a breeze. It has a fairly exhaustive recipe index -- the options range from simple stuff like waffles to more complex concoctions, like a browned-butter carrot cake with a butter-and-sage-cream-cheese frosting. Yum. And if those recipes aren't enough, you can edit existing ones and add brand-new ones to create your own custom database.

There's also a pantry feature. This is a virtual inventory of the ingredients you have on-hand at home, which the app can use to tell you exactly which recipes you can make without having to take a trip to the store. Once you've zeroed in on the thing you want to make, you simply press "bake" and plug the scale into your device's headphone jack (I used an iPad Mini). Then press the On button on the scale. When it reads "Pour," you're ready to bake.

Lemon bars. Megan Wollerton/CNET

The app will walk you through every detail from prep to weighing your ingredients for you and offering built-in timers that tell you how long to mix, cook, bake, cool and chill your freshly prepared dessert item. It also has a very detailed reference section that provides explanations on every aspect of the app and its functionality, including video tutorials and photos with descriptions of essential baking cookware.

I am a novice baker, but I managed to make perfectly edible, if not quite delicious, lemon bars and a flourless chocolate cake with Perfect Bake. Both recipes came courtesy of the app's database and they provided all of the information I needed from start to finish. Before you even start baking, the recipe outlines the prep needed, a description of the thing you want to make and the ingredients, cookware and tools you'll need.

If you have all of the necessary ingredients, but don't have the right baking dish, you can adjust the size and shape of the pan you're using in the app. And if you don't have the right quantity of, say, flour, it will auto-scale the recipe for you. So, if the lemon bar default recipe calls for 143 grams of all-purpose flour, but you only have 121 grams, you can select "scale recipe" and it will recalculate everything for you. That's an awesome feature -- no stoichiometry needed.

Adding butter to the lemon bar recipe. Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Once you're all set on prep, you can begin adding ingredients to the scale. The app color-codes the steps based on the color of bowl you should use and as you add an ingredient the block "fills up." Once you've added the right amount, it will ding and a check mark will appear, a sign that you've added just the right amount. And don't worry if you add too much -- it will let you know and give you the opportunity to scoop out the excess and salvage your recipe. Perfect Bake's scale is very sensitive, too; it sensed a quarter teaspoon of salt as easily as a whole egg.

The one mistake I made there was navigating away from the recipe within the app while a timer was running -- that will cancel the timer and the progress you've made in the recipe. But, if you navigate away from the app, while keeping the recipe page open, the timer will continue to count and it will still alert you when it's done. That means that you can't start another recipe while your existing one is still "in progress," but you can access other parts of your phone or tablet, as needed.

Flourless chocolate cake. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Perfect Bake is very similar to the Drop Kitchen Scale . This iOS-only scale does have one interesting feature that I didn't find in the Perfect Bake app. If you are missing an ingredient, Drop will supposedly tell you what you might have hanging around your kitchen that you can use as a substitute. For example, if the recipe calls for buttermilk, but you don't have any, you might be able to use regular milk and a small amount of lemon juice instead. That would definitely be a nice addition to the Perfect Bake functionality.

The verdict

Pure Imagination's $70 Perfect Bake kit is exclusively available at Brookstone stores in the US, with plans to expand to Australia and the UK in 2015. It's definitely a specialized product, but I think budding bakers and families with youngsters would enjoy Perfect Bake's interactivity and precision. If you like to deviate from recipes and do your own thing, Perfect Bake isn't for you, but for those of us who might otherwise be intimated by the prospect of baking a flourless chocolate cake, Perfect Bake gives you what you need to make it happen.


Pure Imagination Perfect Bake

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Usability 8Performance 8
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