Kolkata: Christmas isn`t complete without cake. But this year, cake lovers will have to shell out a few more bucks as a sharp rise in the cost of ingredients has forced bakers to jack up prices.
"This year the cost of cake has gone up by 10 percent over last year because the prices of the ingredients have gone up by more than 15 percent. In order to maintain the quality of the cake, we have to increase the price," said Idris Ali, secretary of the joint action committee of the West Bengal Bakers Association.
Prices of basic ingredients like flour, baking powder, eggs, butter, sugar and milk have increased by Rs.5-10 compared to last year. Consequently, cake prices have touched unholy highs.
A pound (equal to 0.4 kg) of fruit cake, which cost Rs.135 last year, now comes for Rs.150. Almond cake, priced at Rs.190 a pound, cost only Rs.170 last Christmas.
Nahoum and Sons, better known as Nahoum`s, one of the oldest bakeries and confectioners of Kolkata, is one of the shops that have increased prices.
"This year we are increasing prices by up to 10 percent," said J. Haldar of Nahoum`s, best known for its signature plum cakes and rich fruit cakes.
Many Bengali households also prepare cakes at home. But they say costly ingredients are hardly conducive to the festive spirit.
"This year the price of the basic ingredients of a cake has increased to a large extent. It is really difficult for middle class families like us to adjust the expenses," said Miranda Gomes, a housewife.
"Every year, during Christmas, we make two kinds of cake - fruitcake and plum cake. But this time, the price of the ingredients has gone up in such a way that it`s really tough to adjust the Christmas expenses," said Jonaki Sarkar, a housewife.
However, in what can perhaps be described as a Christmas miracle of sorts, a renowned confectioner in Kolkata, Flury`s, has decided to stick to its old pricing.
"We are not increasing the prices even though the prices of the ingredients have gone up," Flury`s manager Rajiv Khanna said.