Mars Wrigley aims high with Google Cloud partnership for world’s first Maltesers AI Cake
Mars Wrigley UK has posed a key culinary question of whether taste can ever be digitised? The answer, it seems, is yes, with its Google Cloud partnership developing the world’s first Maltesers AI Cake, reports Neill Barston.
It was achieved with an engineer from the tech giant, who created a machine learning model analysing hundreds of recipes from traybakes to scones to develop the new cake creation.
The AI Cake, which has been developed as a ‘cakie’ hybrid cookie and cake, includes both AI-generated cake and cookie elements, with the freshly devised treat 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, as Mars explained, humanity isn’t quite ready to give way to a digital takeover, as 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 pitting more conventional skills against a new digital rival.
He 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, as his secret recipe winner.
Speaking about his Maltesers creation, Peter Sawkins (his work below), 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 noted that cake, computers, Maltesers and Marmite seemed the most unlikely of combinations, but one that has proved a success.
He said: “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.”
For more information on Easter baking, visit www.bakeagainstthemachine.co.uk to enter the fun and get a special recipe of your own and decide who comes out on top in the battle of the bake.