back to article You put Marmite where? Google unveils its latest AI wizardry: A cake made of Maltesers and the pungent black tar

Following Microsoft's 2019 foray into whisky-making, Google has got into the AI-infused consumables game with the frankly horrific-sounding Marmite and Maltesers® cake. We'd like to blame Google's AI for the atrocity, but it appears that the idea for the addition of the Marmite* came from a human. Apparently one of the top …

  1. Brian Miller

    Safely Ingestible

    Like "mostly harmless," this is at least safely ingestible. Some of the recipes that AIs have churned out have not been fit for human consumption.

    (No, I'm not a fan of marmite.)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Safely Ingestible

      I rather think that's the point.

      Having gained the ability to recognise crosswalks and parking meters - the only way to distinguish between AI and mere humans will be to ask if combinations such as "Fruit cake and cheddar cheese" go together.

      If the AIs get any smarter they will be asking us about seeing a turtle on its back in the sun and not helping it

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Safely Ingestible

        Better with Stilton, but what does the AI recommend I drink with it?

        1. Julz Silver badge

          Re: Safely Ingestible

          Beer. Beer goes with anything.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    Papiliary GBH

    I prefer my marmitic ingestion as an accompaniment to sweat inducing hyper mature cheddar on toast, the thought of combining Marmite with maltesers sounds like a serious assault on the taste buds deserving of a slap.

  3. Efer Brick

    Sounds better than

    Marmite and Cheese hot cross buns

  4. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    The Reg, for one, will not be welcoming our new machine overlords if this is what the future holds.
    You will sit at the table and you will not leave the table until you have finished eating. Pah! Young vultures these days...

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Reminds me of school meals sixty years ago in infant school... "You will finish that blancmange before you leave the table!"... "But I don't like that thick leathery skin on it"... Got smacked around the head and told to eat it. Forced it down and promptly ran to the toilets to vomit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        school meals

        I had similar experience with fish as school dinners. Only I don't recall getting as far as the toilets.

        Still can't abide the things today - even the smell wants to make me puke.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: school meals

          I liked school dinners. Maybe that was because we had good catering staff. It was the occasional halls of residence dinners that I had problem with: rabbit bone stew and epoxy cauliflower cheese were the offenders.

        2. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: school meals

          I resided at university in Halls which doubled as the NZ Presbyterian seminary. Seminarians lived out, farmed into local parishes. So there was largely just us prole students in residence.

          Fridays we always had fish for dinner, despite being Protestants. Go figure. Big square, WET, slabs of fish. In first year we had to do dogfish dissections. We had Biology labs on Fridays.

          We had the same dogfish for three weeks, dissecting various bits, they were fixed, kind of but they still began to smell.

          I like fish, I have eaten dogfish i have caught. But on the third week I could not eat the fish.

          My speciality is muscle, hence the monniker, the previous PhD student in the lab could not eat steak, she had cut and examined too many muscle cross sections. I became expert on the anatomy of the lower hindlimb, which made eating chicken drumsticks problematic. My mind kept trying to identify the muscles.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: school meals

            As a farmer/rancher who grows most of his own meat, I'd be horrified if I couldn't identify what I was eating. Take for example those unidentifiable bits of protein at Safeway/Tesco that are wrapped in Styrofoam & plastic and marked "meat for stew". If you know what you are looking at, you can actually get some pretty decent meat from inexpensive "scraps".

      2. Vulch

        Ah, school dinners

        My mum once got a phone call from my primary school, "We told him he couldn't leave until he's finished his dinner. It's 3 o'clock and he's still sitting there, what do we do?". Cue laughter from my mother and a response along the lines of "Your problem, you deal with it".

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Ah, school dinners

          And then they wonder why we have an obesity problem.

          If you are full, stop eating. It may not guarantee you don't get fat, but it will certainly help.

        2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Ah, school dinners

          Oh if only I'd thought of that.

      3. CuChulainn

        My favourite emetic in school dinner form was the liver.

        Uniform grey slabs with tubes (blood vessels) visible in them. Closely followed by the uniformly spherical globs of 'mashed potato', which always had lumps in them.

        AND I was a fussy eater anyway back then.

        1. MrBanana Silver badge

          Cheap liver + chewy tubes = yuck. I hatted it at school, and when it was a family dinner. In more enlightened times, with good quality liver, it is perfectly palatable - curried for breakfast in Bradford, or from a street stall in Mexico.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Even better ...

            ... just after you harvest it yourself.

            1. sbt Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: After you havest it yourself.

              Ob. "...with fava beans and a nice chianti. Th-th-th-th-th-th!"

      4. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Joke

        Tom Lehrer reference

        Reminds me of the Tom Lehrer lyric:

        'His savoury collations add to our esprit de corps.

        To think of all the marvellous ways

        They're using plastics nowadays.

        It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier."

      5. Sandtitz Silver badge

        I'll trade your blancmage to a half grapefuit we had for breakfast a few times in kindergarten.

        We *probably* had porridge and other stuff, but I only remember the grapefruits, and I'll go to grave with that memory...

        1. jake Silver badge

          Eh?

          What's wrong with grapefruit?

        2. Piro Silver badge

          Not sure what's going on here

          Not entirely sure what the issue is with grapefruit...

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Not sure what's going on here

            Grapefruit.

            Extremely bitter.

      6. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Coat

        Blancmange

        You don't consume it, you challenge it to a tennis match and beat it.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Blancmange

          I actually liked blancmange. I even liked it cold, because it was like flavoured custard.

          I'll admit that I have not tried it since childhood. I suspect it's sensible to keep it that way.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. ShabWeasel
          Alien

          Re: Blancmange

          Good for the kilt industry though....

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      If you don't eat your Marmite, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your Marmite?

    3. MJI Silver badge

      And some of the stuff they force is borderline inedible.

      There are many foods that will set me off, but luckily I do like veg and normal meats.

      If someone gets funny about my dislike of X I ask them if they have any sprouts, if they go yuk, they got the message.

      Now to sprout sick, the Christmas merger of sprouts and cured meats, what a waste, I hate cured meats and my wife hates sprouts.

      What was the frog spawn pudding called?

      1. Codename M

        food of the devil

        What was the frog spawn pudding called?

        Do you mean Tapioca, spawn of the devil?

  5. Dabooka Silver badge

    Have we learned nothing?

    I'm certain there's an episode of Teen Titans where an AI Pizza Bot is tasked with creating hitherto unknown variations of pizza toppings. Needless to say the world is bought crashing to its knees under the sheer scale of the task and creation of all of these pizzas.

    Now if Cartoon Network can see the risks why can't Google?!

  6. Zarno Bronze badge
    Terminator

    Skynet has come, and it seeks marmite.

    Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and Cyberdyne Systems are pleased to announce a new and exciting partnership with the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Company!

    With insight into the needs and desires of todays high-flying tech entrepreneurs, distressed mums, handymen, and Ordnance Engineers, we will be releasing a new line of caffeinated puffy treats, that also double as roofing mastic and high explosive charges.

    Please stand by for launch information on our rigorously tested flavors, including "Fred from accounting", "My favorite potted plant", and "Tingly acai berry surprise"!

    Complimentary restroom ticket enclosed with each packet sold on Bethselamin.

    (It's only a matter of time...)

  7. DarkwavePunk
    Terminator

    I admit...

    I have used marmite in some cooking when I've run out of soy or Worcestershire sauce and couldn't be arsed going to the shops.

    Does this make me a bad human or a bad AI? How can I tell?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: I admit...

      Marmite is definitely not something you will find in my kitchen, but if you are into it, I could understand why you would use it as a substitute for soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. They are all in the salty / umami flavour group.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: I admit...

        I wonder if I'm still allowed to bring it from England to Germany? Assuming *I'm* allowed to go from Germany to England and back, of course...

        --> Marmite, beer, same thing, sort of, no?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I admit...

          "Marmite, beer, same thing, sort of, no?"

          Separated at birth.

        2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: I admit...

          Germany hasn't allowed the import of chemical or biological weapons since the 50s.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: I admit...

            >I wonder if I'm still allowed to bring it from England to Germany?

            I think current UK policy wrt to Eu trade would involve finding a Lancaster, loading it with Marmite and popping over to Frankfurt to 'deliver'

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Re: I admit...

        In what way is yeast a plant?

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: I admit...

      I've done the same thing. Turns out that Marmite works well in marinade for grilled chicken. It's rather nice as the salt component on salmon, too.

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Re: I admit...

        Teriyaki Stoke-on-Trent.

    4. Piro Silver badge

      Re: I admit...

      It's great in sauces...

  8. ShabWeasel
    Pint

    Marmite Icing

    Kinda fits with the current trend of putting the ghastly stuff into anything the manufacturers can get away with.

    Marmite chocolate - sure!

    Marmite crisps - why not?

    Marmite biscuits - what the hell?

    Marmite humus - Dave, you feeling ok?

    Marmite Lynx Africa - WTF! (honestly, this exists!)

    Much prefer the precursor (hence the icon) to the devil's diarrhoea....

    1. Steve K Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Marmite Icing

      I had to check as I thought one of us might be hallucinating...

      https://www.lynxformen.com/uk/africa-marmite.html

      WTF?

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Marmite Icing

      I see no problem with Marmite crisps or crackers and have on occasion put Marmite with butter on to digestive biscuits ( though they are a snack for the desperate).

      The first time I was ever invited to a family Thanksgiving meal in California, one of the ingredients of the roast turkey dinner was mashed squash with a layer of marshmallow roasted in a tin, looked odd but was actually not bad.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Marmite Icing

        "looked odd but was actually not bad"

        Blargh ... This Californian sez "I know it's traditional and all that, but c'mon .... sugar on sugar on sugar? I'm not eating that ... and what do you mean, it's supposed to be a savory dish? What kind of fool do you take me for?".

        Not surprised a Brit would find it palatable, though ...

    3. MrBanana Silver badge

      Re: Marmite Icing

      I'd just gotten through a jar of Marmite and peanut butter - not terrible, but easily reproducible, and controllable, without having to buy a whole jar. Then I saw Marmite humus. No, just no.

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Marmite Icing

        Marmite hummus is an excellent savoury balance. On hot spuds... food of kings!

        1. MrBanana Silver badge

          Re: Marmite Icing

          I see a smiley face, not a joke icon. Dare I?

          In any case, I'll see your Marmite humus on spuds, and raise you a sausage and marmalade sandwich. Extra points for opening a split in the sausages and shoving in some baked beans.

        2. Huw D

          Re: Marmite Icing

          I am a Marmite fan, but that Marmite hummus was diabolical.

    4. Outski Bronze badge

      Re: Marmite Icing

      Marmite crisps? Aren't they just flattened twiglets?

  9. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Oh dear

    To Vulture Central:

    Gentlefolk, you posted this story 2 days too early. Today is the 30th March, not 1st April. Do, please, get a calendar.

  10. AndrueC Silver badge
    Happy

    When I was a child I used to like honey and Marmite sandwiches. I don't rule out the possibility of Marmite helping make a nice delicious cake for someone.

  11. 100113.1537

    Computing power

    I worry how much computing power was wasted on this. Asking for a cup of tea was pretty devastating for Arthur Dent.....

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Computing power

      Asking for a cup of tea was pretty devastating for Arthur Dent.....

      He told it about barley, ripening in undulating fields. He told it about hops, the varieties for each type of brew and how they were grown and picked. He told it about yeast, and spring water. He told it about malting, and mashing, and the large copper kettles in which the mash is boiled. He told it about how the wort is cooled so that yeast can be added, allowing it to ferment in large tanks. And he told it about scraping the residue off the bottom of those tanks, and packaging it in brown jars with a yellow lid.

      "Ah" replied the Nutri-Matic. "And what about all the fluid that was fermenting in those tanks?"

      It had figured the total volume involved, and the residue could clearly only account for a small part of it.

      "It's usually bottled and sold as beer, but if you want to make Marmite, beer could be considered a by-product".

      "Sounds terribly inefficient", the Nutri-Matic uttered after a brief pause.

      "It's worth it." replied Arthur.

  12. SALOME SMITH
    Happy

    Sir WIlliam Ramsay Hazlemere Buckinghamshire

    Those who went to Ramsay should recall the hone econmics, and those who should have gone missed out. Best for the t-lot to get back there and not be coy about it :)

    Best Wishes,

    NO-ONE

    Harley Quinn (MRD)

    MONARCH

    RGS HW

    APRIL 1st STRATEGY

    NERF NITE FINDER

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sir WIlliam Ramsay Hazlemere Buckinghamshire

      "Those who went to Ramsay should recall the hone econmics"

      Did they have a knife problem? Just as well my children went to Lady Verney & John Hempden.

  13. AlexG_UK

    OK, so it's not exactly Marmite but ...

    One of my daughters made chocolate brownies with twiglets in them (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twiglets), they were, surprisingly, good. Sweet / savoury / salty balance, and good contrast in texture.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: OK, so it's not exactly Marmite but ...

      Sounds OK.

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I do eat Marmite although I wouldn't consider it a ingredient to put into a chocolate cake, i would reserve judgement on how it tastes rather than how it sounds.

    I mean cheesecake doesn't sound nice from the ingredients but is delicious to eat.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Marmite cheesecake!

      I just might try it :-)

      Don't worry, I'll go very. very, very light on the sugar. Obviously.

  15. DarkwavePunk

    I can't believe that

    Nobody has mentioned Chocolate Salty Balls yet.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I can't believe that

      I can.

      That was funny. Once.

  16. Daedalus Silver badge

    Maltesers translated

    The (very rough) equivalents in the USA are known as "Whoppers", reminiscent of the sayings of a certain ex-President and his lackeys. For some reason US chocolate is of inferior quality to UK chocolate, due to a different process, so the equivalence is in appearance only. Since I can now sample Cadbury's and Hershey's products side by side in the supermarket, I can testify to the smoothness of the former compared to the latter.

    For some reason it seems impossible to import Raisin and Biscuit Yorkies here, despite there being plain Yorkies available from time to time, and a steady supply of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut. And Egyptian Mars Bars.

    Also, Merkins do not seem to like licorice very much, but a local taste is for salted boutique licorice. Like spicy food, I think you're supposed to start mild and work your way up to the stuff that gives you -100 health points and +100 thirst points.

    1. CuChulainn

      Re: Maltesers translated

      I got an email newsletter from a Scotland-based ice-cream company yesterday. They'd asked people to suggest new flavours.

      The winner was 'Blackcurrant and Liquorice'.

      I think I can safely say that no matter how long I live, I will never know what that tastes like.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Maltesers translated

        "Blackcurrant and Liquorice"

        Sounds tasty :-)

      2. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: Maltesers translated

        The flavour of licorice is just anise, which is found in sweets and liqueurs. Probably Americans find the UK fondness for anise as strange as we find their fondness for cinnamon. Or wintergreen, God help us all.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: Maltesers translated

          Or sodding Pumpkin everything in the Autumn...

          1. Daedalus Silver badge

            Re: Maltesers translated

            Yes, the all too ubiquitous smell of "pumpkin spice" which has no pumpkin in it, consisting of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. It's traditionally used to flavour the otherwise bland pumpkin pie, a tart similar to certain kinds of custard tart, but it is also sprayed liberally about the displays of pine cones, dried plant material and yes, pumpkins piled outside the typical supermarket in the USA. Tiresome after the first 5 seconds, like muzak.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Maltesers translated

              That's "pumpkin pie spice", which is used to flavo(u)r pumpkin pie, thus the name.

              I like my blend, in pie. The universal plastic version applied to damn near everything (including coffee, for fuck's sake!) is bloody awful. The scent alone can give me a headache, but not as fast as the artificial "cinnamon" scented pine cones do.

              Also note that most commercial "pumpkin pie" is actually sweet potato pie ... cheaper raw ingredients which keep longer in bulk storage. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a good homemade sweet potato pie! But the commercial offerings are loaded with gawdawful amounts of sugar and the above mentioned universal plastic "pumpkin pie spice". Avoid it at all costs.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Maltesers translated

      Whoppers are a trade name for the more generic "Malted Milk Balls".

      Friends don't let friends eat Hershey or Cadbury. Both are narsty, overly sweet, imitation chocolate-like milkey confections.

      Proper licorice is available nationwide. Call around, you'll find a local outlet.

  17. TheProf Silver badge
    Pint

    ME!!!!

    I'll give them a try. If someone would be kind enough to bake me a couple of dozen.

    Actually I'm more concerned about the amount of butter and sugar in them but that's cake for you.

    Anyone mind if I top them off with some Bird's custard?

    Cake and ale>>

  18. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Known in the US and Canada as The Great British Baking Show.

    That seems a bit odd. Could it be copyright related or something? Calling most forms of competition a $something-Off is typically USAian so now a British show has used the USAian naming style, it has to be renamed when exported back to them?

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Known in the US and Canada as The Great British Baking Show.

      I think it's a case of knowing your audience. One foot etc.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Known in the US and Canada as The Great British Baking Show.

      As a Yank who has spent quite a bit of time in Blighty. it seemed odd to me, too. Odd enough that I wrote and asked out of pure, unadulterated curiosity. No reply, of course.

    3. OAB

      Re: Known in the US and Canada as The Great British Baking Show.

      Trademark issue, Pillsbury 'own' Bake off.

  19. Pat 11

    Bit derivitive

    Janelle Shane has been doing AI recipe stuff for yonks, eg https://aiweirdness.com/post/190721709472/ai-vintage-american-cooking-a-combination-that

  20. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Flame

    Google's AI

    Appears to be rather half-baked.

    (10 minutes in an oven set at gas mark 3)

  21. Mr. Moose
    Happy

    Marmite Recipe Suggestions

    I'm a Yank. Years ago I heard a BBC story about funny Marmite adverts, "Marmite: You either love it, or hate it.", and I got some to see what it tasted like. I loved it! I had a brainstorm, and coated it on buttered popcorn (stir into melted butter in large wok|bowl, stir in popped popcorn 'til coated). Wow: It's The Food. Of. The. Gods!! Also, in order to make it easier to spread on toast, I mix Marmite with softened butter, then re-refrigerate the mixture, cut-and-spread just the right amount on toast. No hot-spots, no missed spots. Marmited butter is good on all sorts of things.

    Naturally, goes good with beer. I dunno about the cake thing. Sounds like those nouveau cuisine "baloney-and-whipped-cream" recipes.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Marmite Recipe Suggestions

      Concur on the marmited butter on popcorn ... tip: Use a really good local butter, and make sure it is unsalted! Add salt to taste later, if you think you need it.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Marmite Recipe Suggestions

      I applaud your ingenuity. Marmite popcorn. That actually sounds good.

  22. jake Silver badge

    Breakfast of Champions!

    Try spread lightly on hot, toasted, buttered (unsalted!) San Francisco sourdough. The trick is to get the balance right, so you can taste each component with each bite. Perfect with bacon and eggs and a big mug of fresh roast coffee.

  23. chuBb. Silver badge

    Marmite cake is delicious

    Had a friend whose South African girlfriend made us one claiming it was a family delicacy, she wasn't wrong was like a savoury jam rollie pollie excellent with custard

  24. Bluebottle

    Of course here in Oz it's Vegemite. Don't remember what Marmite tastes like but apparently, Vegemite is super-charged Marmite.

    1. oliversalmon

      Heresy!

      "Vegemite is super-charged Marmite"

      Absolute rubbish, Vegemite is a pale (literally pale) imitation of Marmite

  25. sbt Silver badge
    Coat

    Re: "the flavour of which is somewhat divisive"

    That's putting it mildly, 007.

    Mine's the cassock with the false beard in the pocket. --->

  26. Spanners Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I have noted

    People from the US, against every advice, seem to try Marmite as a spoonful and then sensibly declare that is nasty. Then they never try it properly.

    I have always found the smell of Marmite nasty but thinly on toast or in the middle of a peanut butter sandwich is nice.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: I have noted

      It takes a while to build up immunity, like eating arsenic.

  27. Daedalus Silver badge

    Bill Bailey, won't you please record this again?

    I refer to "The Great Marmite Spill of 2011" which was on YT for a while before taken down, presumably due to trademark issues. It originally was heard on The Now Show after a lorry load of yeast extract spilled and blocked traffic while sufficient rounds of toast were made to mop it up.

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