Some foods are just made for each other. Think cheese and chutney, chocolate and caramel, peanut butter and jam. But what about Maltesers and Marmite? Or Maltesers and soy sauce? I was dubious too, but these surprise combinations were born out of a rather innovative challenge set by the Mars Wrigley UK – of Twix, Galaxy, and M&M confectionery fame – and Google Cloud. The results? Scrumptious.
The chocolatiers and the tech brand teamed up find out if creativity really is the final frontier for Artificial Intelligence. How, you ask? With a baking challenge, naturally. The Google Cloud team engineered a Machine Learning model that scanned hundreds of existing recipes to create a unique new cake. Simultaneously challenging 2020 Great British Bake Off champion Peter Sawkins to do the same. Welcome to the Battle of the Bake.
The AI cake turned out to be a delectable cake-cookie hybrid – a cakie, if you will – topped with a Marmite infused butter cream which you have to taste to believe. Sawkins went for a nostalgic approach, basing his delicious creation on one of his mum’s recipes, and adding a modern twist by way of a dash of soy sauce. “Creating that perfect blend,” explained Sawkins, “Umami.”
Who won the race? Well, that’s up to you. You can find both recipes below in full, and enter a competition to win a stand mixer over at www.bakeagainstthemachine.co.uk. As they say in the GBBO tent: On your marks, get set, bake!
Malteser AI Cakes
For the biscuits you will need:
- 20g self raising flour
- 132g plain flour
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 80g butter
- 72g light brown sugar
- 21g caster sugar
- 1/2 egg lightly beaten (~30g)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp golden syrup
- 30g crushed Maltesers (you can crush them in a plastic bag)
For the icing you will need:
- 165g butter, room temperature (1 ½ sticks)
- 330g icing sugar
- 3/4 tsp double cream
- 1 tbsp + 3/4 tsp golden syrup
- 1 ½ tsp Marmite
- Extra crushed and whole Maltesers for decoration (optional)
For the cake you will need:
- 57g self rising flour
- 30g all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp almond flour
- 1/16 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 60g golden caster sugar
- 17g caster sugar
- 55g butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp milk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp sour cream
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp golden syrup
- 20g crushed Maltesers
To make the biscuits combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. In a mixer, cream the butter and brown and caster sugar together. When smooth, add the egg, vanilla extract, and syrup. Fold in the Maltesers and then mold into a ball and wrap it in cling film. Chill it in the fridge while you make the other components and you can leave it overnight in the fridge.
To make the cake add the flour, baking soda and powder, and both sugars to a mixer. Once all the ingredients are combined add in the butter. Then add the egg, milk, syrup, vanilla, oil, and sour cream. Once it’s creamy in texture add in your Maltesers.
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Lightly grease six 175ml pudding molds and place on a baking sheet.
Then roll out your biscuit dough on a floured surface and, using a 7cm circular cutter or the top of a glass, cut out six circles. Put a heaped tablespoon of batter in each mould and bake for seven minutes. Remove it from the oven after three minutes to put three maltesers in the centre. Then cover with your biscuit round.
Put it back in the oven for another 14 to 16 minutes until the biscuits are brown. Take out and give it time to cool. Carefully loosen each treat and then flip the tray over to release them.
To make the icing, put your butter into a mixer and cream. Then add half of the icing sugar and combine. Add the cream and the rest of the icing sugar. Once that’s mixed in add the syrup and Marmite and mix. Ice the cakes and top with the remaining Maltesers.
For the base you will need:
- 50g Butter
- 25g Golden Syrup
- 100g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 100g Maltesers, crushed
- 100g Dark Chocolate
For the mousse you will need:
- 200ml Whole Milk
- 2 Large Egg Yolks
- 50g Caster Sugar
- 4 tbsp Malted Milk Powder
- 200g Dark Chocolate
- 200g Double Cream
For the caramel insert you will need:
- 100g Sugar
- 1 tbsp Water
- 15g Butter
- 70g Double Cream
- 20ml Dark Soy Sauce
For the glaze you will need:
- 100g Water
- 80g Caster Sugar
- 120g Glucose Syrup
- 10g Cocoa Powder
- 70g Sweetened Condensed Milk - 3 Gelatine Leaves
- 100g Dark Chocolate
For this bake, Sawkin’s recommends that you use moulds that are 6.5cm diameter and 3.5cm height.
To make the base heat the butter and syrup over low heat until melted. Then remove from the heat and stir through the crushed biscuits, salt and Maltesers. Spoon the mixture into the base of the moulds and compress.
Melt the chocolate and brush a layer over the top of the bases. Leave the mixture to chill in the fridge.
To make the caramel inserts stir the sugar and water over high heat until the sugar has dissolved and it begins to boil. Stop stirring and leave on the heat until it reaches a deep amber. Stir through the butter then gradually add the double cream. Stir through the soy sauce and pour into mini hemisphere moulds. Place this in the freezer to set.
To make the mousse heat the milk in a pan until just boiling. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and malted milk powder in a bowl. Pour the hot milk over the yolk mix whilst whisking. Return this mix to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until it reaches 82ºC. Take the custard off the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. Leave aside to cool to 35ºC. Whip the cream to firm peaks. Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.
Fill the moulds with the mousse 2/3rds full. Roll a ball of caramel from the freezer (it will be mouldable but very sticky) and press into the centre of the mousse. Cover with the remaining mousse, level the top and freeze.
To make the glaze soak the gelatine leaves in cold water. Put the water, sugar, glucose syrup and cocoa powder in a pan over high heat. Bring to the boil whilst stirring. Take off the heat and stir in the condensed milk. Then squeeze out excess liquid from the gelatine and stir into the mix. Pour this mixture over the chocolate in a bowl and emulsify with a stick blender. Pass through a sieve and leave aside to cool to 35-40ºC.
To glaze your entrements you need to unmould the frozen mousses and place them on a wire rack over a baking tray. Generously pour over the glaze to cover the mousses. Carefully lift them from the rack and transfer to a baking tray using a palette knife. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
Top with some Maltesers to serve.