As humans work their way through every imaginable variation of cake and cookie recipes in lockdown, Google has applied its Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a pair of hybrid baked treats: the ‘breakie’ and the ‘cakie’.
The project was conceived of the company’s AutoML Tables tool, a codeless model generation system, and the project was the brainchild of Sara Robinson, who works on AI for Google Cloud. In April, Robinson took up pandemic baking, and saw a chance to apply machine-learning- to her new-found baking passion. She collected a dataset of recipes and then built a TensorFlow model that took in lists of ingredients and spat out predictions.
Robinson’s model could accurately classify recipes by type, but interestingly, she also applied to develop a completely new recipe - 50% cookie and 50% cake—a 'cakie'.
We have been constantly told about the new dawn of Artificial Intelligence and how it will revolutionise our daily lives, but in general we are presented with potential use cases rather than real life benefits. The culinary world is one sector that is touted as being ripe for the AI treatment, and this is not the first time the technology has been applied to recipes.
While the results of Robinson’s project are undeniably delicious, it demonstrates that AI is very far from ousting chefs and master bakers from their position as recipe creators.
“It is yummy,” explains Robinson on her blog. “And it strangely tastes like what I’d imagine would happen if I told a machine to make a cake cookie hybrid. My fiancé agrees.
“I’ve never made my own recipe before and while I wish you could taste it, you can have the next best thing - the recipe! I added two ingredients for some extra flavor that aren’t part of my model inputs (vanilla extract and chocolate chips), but the rest adhered strictly to what my model told me would be 50% cake, 50% cookie."
½ cup + ¾ tablespoon butter, cold
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
¼ cup olive oil
⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chocolate chips
For the method, check out Robinson’s blog.