Can a Computer Write the Internet's Best Cake Recipe? Google Thinks So.

Here's how artificial intelligence is shaping the future of our favorite baked goods.

January 20, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland

Some think AI—artificial intelligence—could take over the world. Others fear that machine learning, a nascent technology that feeds data to computers and then allows it to customize and make its own decisions, could steal jobs, rob us of our humanity and render us useless. Sure, all of that could happen. In the meantime, Google is programming AI to bake cakes

Building off the popularity of baking during quarantine, the team at Google put together a machine learning model to get to the bottom of baking science.

So how does this work exactly? The two Google employees behind the initiative, Sarah Robinson and Dale Markowitz, started off by culling hundreds of dessert recipes from across the internet. For the sake of uniformity and ease, they converted all the recipes to ounces and “whittled them down to a few essential ingredients (yeast, flour, sugar, eggs, butter and a few other things).” Using a Google Cloud tool called AutoML Tables, they created a model to analyze the proportions of ingredients in each recipe and determine if it was a cookie, a cake, or a bread. They also took care to sift through all the submitted recipes and move sweets like banana or zucchini bread into the cake category (because even Paul Hollywood says they are).

Using this model, they were then able to develop new, unique recipe combinations. In this experiment, they made two Frankstein’s-monster esque creations that mashed together a bread and a cookie and a cake and a cookie. Behold: the “brookie” (bread/cookie) and the “cakie” (cookie/cake). Each resulting recipe combines 50% of its components and, supposedly, makes something that can only be described as a baked hybrid.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Please no I speak for all of us. " We don't want that at all." ”
— Thorogood

I have to say, I’m eager to give the recipes a try. The cakie looks like a round sponge cake but with that delicious cookie crispiness, while the breakies look like pillowy, doughy cookies. They’ve included both recipes online. I’d try both, why not?

But because I’m a food writer and not even remotely versed in all things technological, feel free to check out the description of their study in their own words here. Or better yet, watch them explain:

Would you give these recipes a try? Let us know in the comments below.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Thorogood January 20, 2021
Please no

I speak for all of us.

" We don't want that at all."
Smaug January 20, 2021
Brookies are by no means a new thing (a google search yields 5,310,000 results.) Bad enough that cooking has been taken over by culinary school clones; AI is stupid.
Michele January 21, 2021
You’re right, the Brookie is a brownie-cookie hybrid that’s been around for years. The new dessert is actually called a “Breakie.” I’m guessing the author skimmed the Google blog post a bit too quickly.