No, you didn’t get the headline wrong. Mars Wrigley UK issued an interesting press release that I picked up on called ‘Bake against the machine’. I was going to use that too, but I wanted to include Google and A.I.
Mars in the UK approached Google to discuss working with them, using their A.I. technology to generate unique recipes using favourite UK chocolate – the Malteser. If you’re not familiar with a Malteser, they are a small round malted honeycomb biscuit covered in chocolate.
Google used a technology they have developed called TensorFlow, the tool has been around for years and is open for anyone to use. The plan was to use the A.I. in combination with a human – in this case, Sara Robinson, a Google employee, who is also an amateur baker.
They created a Machine Learning model using hundreds of existing recipes to generate the ideas that ultimately ended in a new cake creation called the “Maltesers® AI Cake”.
Now, they’ve even got the Great British Bake-Off winner, Peter Sawkins to get involved and see what he can do!
While this is all in good fun, there is no discounting the possibility of chocolate companies using Machine Learning in the future to create new recipes, possibly ones that we can’t help but find irresistible. Is that a good or a bad thing?
The press release is below, but I found more detailed information on Google’s own page here.
If you want to try the recipe referred to in this article – I’ve attached it as a PDF below.
Slough, UK (March 30, 2021) – Can taste ever be truly digitized? Confectionery giant Mars Wrigley UK has decided to try and find out. In partnership with Google Cloud they have developed the world’s first ever Maltesers® AI Cake. Giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘tech crunch’!
To do it, a top Google Cloud engineer created a Machine Learning model that used hundreds of existing recipes from traybakes to scones to develop the new cake creation called the Maltesers® AI Cakes. Which, for Brits not well versed in binary-coded values, is hexadecimal for ‘Mars’.
The AI Cake, which technically speaking is a ‘cakie’ (a hybrid between a cookie and a cake), includes both AI-generated cake and cookie elements. The treat is topped with Marmite infused buttercream frosting after Google Search Trends revealed a top search around “sweet and salty” was “Is Marmite sweet or savoury”.
However, humanity isn’t ready to yield the stove just yet. 2020 Great British Bake Off Winner, Peter Sawkins has been parachuted in to create a competing baking concoction of his own and play his part in the #BakeAgainstTheMachine showdown.
Peter took a more human-centric and nostalgic approach, dusting off an old recipe passed down from his mother and giving it a creative twist – soy sauce!
Speaking about his Maltesers® masterpiece Peter Sawkins, The Great British Bake Off winner 2020, said: “I wanted to echo what makes Maltesers® so moreish, so I incorporated malted milk powder and soy sauce to bring a savoury note to what is otherwise a very sweet bake. It was also important for me to think about creating interesting textures. There should be contrast with the crunch from the base, the rich, thick mousse and the smooth saucy caramel centre.
“Baking against the machine is a fun challenge. Not many people can say they’ve baked head-to-head against a Google Cloud AI.”
Kerry Cavanaugh, Mars Wrigley UK Marketing Director, said: “Cake and computers; and Maltesers® and Marmite. The unlikeliest of couples. We’re in the business of creating better moments at Mars Wrigley and, in the spirit of peculiar pairings, I urge you to find your own unusual-but-you’ll-love-it dessert match this Easter weekend. We’ve already done the hard work for you with some amazing, and questionable, recipes available online, so all you’ll have to do is the washing up!”
Reflecting on her passions for baking and AI, Sara Robinson, Senior Developer Advocate, Google Cloud, said: “AI is a powerful tool and I love thinking about fun, new applications of it. In this case, maybe it will even inspire other amateur bakers out there to build their own creations! I set out to build a model using Google Cloud AI that could provide the basis for a new recipe featuring Maltesers. Baking is an art as well as a science – it requires finding a delicate balance of ingredients, sprinkled with a bit of magic. AI is the foundation, and human creativity combined with technology made this project shine.”
To get your baking fix this Easter, head to www.bakeagainstthemachine.co.uk to get a special recipe of your own and decide who comes out on top in the battle of the bake. Those searching for the perfect baking challenge will also be in with the chance to win a KitchenAid Stand mixer and Maltesers® bundle.