- By Akhileshwari Anand Raj
One of the biggest pet peeves of any home baker is when a customer asks them why their product is “not as cheap as the one you can buy in a bakery/supermarket.” Many home bakers take personal offence to this, and rightfully so. This post is an aim to help customers understand why there is a difference in pricing; by the end of the article, you will be left with an understanding of the craft that these home bakers hone to give you your perfect product.
Your run of the mill Rs. 300 cake might always be there for you to pick up when you are on a budget, but the most important factor is - do you know what goes into these mass produced cakes? They are most certainly not made fresh and have a shelf life of weeks, if not months. It has this shelf life because of all the preservatives and chemicals that go into it.
The ingredients used are sourced as cheaply as possible, making it almost dubious in nature for human consumption. Here is a list of some ingredients that big bakeries use to make their cakes:
- Margarine (made from hard oils, such as palm) - which is a much cheaper substitute to oil or butter
- Glucose and Fructose (not as part of the sugar you use in baking)
- Dried egg powder (and not real eggs)
- Bleached flour (which is put through chemical processes to look uniform)
- Cake gel, ingredient bakeries use to get their cake spongy and moist - is quite the opposite of what it promises. The catch? It comprises of humectants, and these humectants are usually made of animal fats. Bakeries most often use these in eggless cakes, since eggs are natural humectants and therefore don’t need any other additives. But eggless cakes do, and when you add these animal fats, it becomes spongy and moist. Then how far is your “eggless” option even vegetarian? It is equivalent to eating gelatin as a vegetarian, which is also made of animal byproducts.
Now, how are home bakers any different?
- Their cakes do not have preservatives or chemicals added to the cake base to make it last longer, or for any other result.
- They make the cake as a custom order - with the requested colours, design, writings, fondant toppers, and even various trends which are currently used - glazes, neon drips, gold leaves, pinata cakes, edible prints etc.
- The ingredients used are as per customer requirements - it takes into account allergies or dietary constraints. The use of dry fruits, milk or even gluten can be avoided as per the client's requirements. Keto, vegan and vegetarian options are also always available.
- The hygiene levels of a home kitchen are much better and safer than a commercial baking space.
This, and a lot of other factors are the reasons why a home baker's creation can never be compared to a store-bought cake. Store bought cakes are mass produced with the cheapest of ingredients, and with no regard for health benefits. Homebakers purchase goods at retail values and make products from scratch, all as per the customer’s dietary and design requirements. So remember, the next time you want a cake, think about what you are eating when you buy a store-bought cake, and never fail to appreciate the work that home bakers put in to make your cake.