Mars creates world’s first Marmite-frosted cake/cookie hybrid developed by AI

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Maltesers AI Cake (4d6172730a). Pic: Mars
The Maltesers AI Cake (4d6172730a). Pic: Mars

Related tags: Mars wrigley confectionery, Artificial intelligence, Marmite, Google, Maltesers, Great British Bake Off

Confectionery giant Mars Wrigley UK is attempting to digitise taste through a partnership with Google Cloud, which has resulted in the first ever Maltesers cake developed by artificial intelligence.

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.

To make it, Sara Robinson, senior developer advocate for Google Cloud created a Machine Learning model that sorts through hundreds of recipes – from traybakes to scones – sifting out the best bits to develop the new creation.

It is called the Maltesers AI Cake and has even been given the binary-code value of 4d6172730a, which is hexadecimal for ‘Mars’.

“AI is a powerful tool and I love thinking about fun, new applications of it,” ​said Robinson.

“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.”

Pairing Maltesers with Marmite

Marmite_Buttercream[1]

The creativity certainly comes in the form of the ‘either-love-it-or-hate-it’ Marmite-infused buttercream frosting, essentially the result of consumer demand. Google Search Trends revealed a leading search by Brits around the classic sweet and salty combo was, “Is Marmite sweet or savoury?”.

Fun facts

  • Over 60% of British households buy at least one Maltesers chocolate treat each year.
  • Over 200 million Maltesers treats are sold in Britain each year.
  • Maltesers were born in Slough in 1936 and are still made there today.
  • The Maltesers recipe is so secret only a handful of people in the world know how it’s done from start to finish. In fact, a special pass is needed just to gain entry to the production line in Slough.

Mars has decided to pit the outrageous creation against a real life baker. 2020 Great British Bake Off winner Peter Sawkins has been inducted to create a concoction of his own and play his part in the #BakeAgainstTheMachine showdown.

However, he’s being equally as liberal with the unusual and is adding a twist to an old recipe passed down from his mother – soy sauce.

“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,”​ said Sawkins.

“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.”

Cake and computers

Kerry Cavanaugh, Mars Wrigley UK marketing director, noted that like cake and computers, and Maltesers and Marmite – certainly ‘the unlikeliest of couples’ – Mars is in the business of creating unforgettable moments.

The family-owned business has more than a century of history making some of the world’s best brands, like M&Ms, Snickers and Twix.

“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,”​ he said.

The company is inviting consumers to head to www.bakeagainstthemachine.co.uk​ to create their own unique bake off recipe, and the chance to win a KitchenAid Stand mixer and Maltesers bundle.

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