Most consumers buy half-kg cakes, shows data. (Stock photo)

Year-end indulgence: how to pick the best cakes for gifting

Bakers’ shelves have a variety of choices: pick what matches the mood of your celebrations

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Putting a fruitcake under a pillow invites dreams about the person you will marry, says an ancient English belief. The wedding cake of Princess Diana and Prince Charles (now king) cost $40,000, making it one of the most expensive cakes at that time.

Special occasions need delicious cakes, but one need not wait for a birthday or an anniversary to enjoy them. A cake can be a snack or a meal in itself—baked at a consumer’s convenience. “The Indian cake market is projected to witness a CAGR of 12.5% during the next five years. The market is segmented by Category (Packaged and Unpackaged/Artisanal), Product Type (Sponge Cakes, Cup Cakes, Cheesecakes, and Other Cakes),” according to a recent report by Mordor Intelligence on Indian Cake Market (2022 – 2027).

Data from Ferns N Petals, the online gifting company, shows that cake consumption splits across subcategories with average order value being Rs 200 for brownies, Rs 600 for cakes and Rs 120 for pastries. Most consumers buy half-kg cakes. “India traditionally has been a chocolate-consuming country–same trends are visible likewise. Truffle and chocolate cakes contribute to 55 per cent of the overall consumption, where the remaining flavour profiles such as pineapple, butter scotch, black forest contribute to another 25 per cent,” said Manish Saini, chief executive officer (CEO) of Ferns N Petals.

States that comprise 65 per cent of India’s total cake consumption include Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, West Bengal and Haryana, he said.

Baking time

A cake hamper will be a thoughtful year-end gift for friends and family. Such hampers have artisanal cakes and gourmet cookies and chocolates. “The emerging variety of cakes nowadays definitely has the consumer confused on what to pick for their year-end hampers. The run-of-the-mill cakes is something we’ve all grown up with, and while the exotic cakes look amazing, they might not be as practical due to less shelf life,” said Deepika Sethi–Brand Head, OMO & Ngarum, an artisanal bakery in Gurgaon.

Bakeries are busy for the year’s end and Christmas, churning out regular fare or exploring “region specific flavours, such as blueberry from Manipur, Idukki chocolate from Kerala and dry fruits from Himachal,” said Sethi.

Bakeries make cakes look impressive, so their test lies in the taste: remember that when you buy gift hampers. “All our senses are involved when we eat. Hence, what we see also matters. Same with hampers; gifts make us all happy. The joy of unwrapping a gift is unparalleled. But imagine opening a pretty box to find something that isn’t tasty — that won’t be a nice feeling. Thus, it’s important that a cake hamper needs to be pretty inside out! We take a lot of care in making our hampers look sophisticated and appealing. We fill them with freshly made, handcrafted artisanal goodness. Because we understand how important gifts are,” said Anshi Saxena, co-founder of Colocal, a chocolate chain.

Low-calorie cakes mean you don’t have to feel guilty about cheating on your diet. The Conscious Baker offers vegan, sugar-free, refined-flour free and diabetic-friendly cakes. “What normally happens in India is that people tend to hide a lot of ingredients. The basic rules for packaged food are very lax, and there’s also a general lack of awareness about what goes into making a product, especially a bakery and packaged foods. While it’s easy to hide an ingredient or two from your buyer, compromising on the overall quality of our offerings just for better business doesn’t sound appealing,” said Akshay Sandu, co-founder of The Conscious Baker.

Cake choices

Bakers classify cakes as shortened, un-shortened and chiffon. Shortened is a conventional birthday or wedding cake made moist and fluffy by adding butter or oil. Almost all shortened cakes go through the creaming method, which involves blending fats with sugar for a better rise.

Examples: Butter cream Cakes, Instant Cake Mixes, and Pound Cakes.

Un-shortened cakes have higher amounts of foamed eggs or egg whites than fats like butter or oil. They are also called foam cakes or sponges. The texture can range from spongy, dense to dry and crisp, depending on the variant. Examples: Sponge Cake, Angel Food cake.

Chiffon cakes—in between shortened and un-shortened—contain oils and eggs that make them moist and fluffy. A crucial part in preparing a chiffon cake lies in beating the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding them into the cake batter instead of adding them whole. Butter is not an element in chiffon cakes.

Cheesecakes have a thick creamy layer made of fresh cheese, eggs and sugar. This layer rests on top of a thin crust made of crushed cookies or sponge cake. Chocolate Cake is the most popular type of birthday cake, enjoyed by kids and grown-ups alike. Carrot cakes are prepared by mixing shredded carrots in a cake batter. To add extra layers of flavour, brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts or nutmeg, or a different combination of them are used often. Pineapple Cake consists of layers of pineapple, sponge cake, and whipped cream or cheese icing.

Red Velvet Cake is made traditionally with cocoa powder, buttermilk and vinegar. A traditional pound cake is made from just four ingredients: flour, eggs, butter and sugar. Pound cakes can be either square or round, depending on whether a loaf pan or Bundt mold is used for baking. These cakes are free from frosting or decoration, but some bakers prefer dusting it with powdered sugar or garnishing them with nuts. Cinnamon tea cake is light and mildly spicy. It uses flour, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon powder and dry fruits. The surface texture is smooth, dry and dark brown in colour.

Each country or region has its version of the plum cake, made with either dry or fresh fruits or both. Fruitcake and the classic Christmas cake are two famous variants of plum cake. The cake gets its name “from the use of dried plums or prunes in the original version. Apart from staple ingredients like flour, eggs, sugar and leavening agent, some versions of this cake include rum or rum-soaked dry fruits and spices to enhance the taste.

As they say, good cake isn’t cheap and cheap cake isn’t good.

Cake Price (in Rs)
Assorted Eggless Brownies Box – 12 Pcs 1,180
Eggless Red Velvet Pastry 135
Christmas Cake 575-975
Christmas Tarts (3 Pcs) 325
Cake Hamper (Premium) 1,800
Cake Hamper (Luxury) 2,400
Fresh Cream Pineapple Cake (1kg) 1,300
Dutch Truffle Cake 1kg 1,100
Christmas Hamper – Indulgence 3,400

Source: Business Standard

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *