The cash crunch in the country has taken a bite out of the festive season’s sweetest treat — Christmas cakes.
The Capital’s patisseries are getting fewer orders and bakers are making almost half the number of cakes they used to bake during festivities in previous winters. From gift orders of 50 cakes in the past, the demand in shops is down to 30.
“It has been a tradition to gift Christmas cakes to friends and neighbours. Cash shortage has forced us to condense the list of people we will send cakes to this year,” said Pulimarathe Francis, a resident of Defence Colony.
Samuel P, owner of an east Delhi catering service who takes bulk orders for cakes during Christmas, said the government’s demonetisation drive has hit bakers badly.
He had a loyal clientele since he started his business in 1985. “Each family gives a list of cakes they wanted … the number never decreases. It is for the first time that many of my customers have ordered fewer cakes,” he said.
Bakers’ Street, a bakery in Mayur Vihar Phase I, is recording a slump in their plum cake sales.
“People have been thinking twice before spending because of demonetisation,” owner Sudheer Gupta said.
The city’s Christian households buy ingredients such as nuts, raisins, and dried plum from wholesale markets and get neighbourhood bakeries to bake their gift cakes. Since most of these markets prefer cash transactions, the families have been forced to reduce the number of gifts they will be giving out this Christmas.
“I usually buy 20 to 30kg of dry fruit mix, and four bottles of mild wine from Khari Baoli. Along with this it takes at least 8kg of flour, 50 eggs, and a few bottles of vanilla essence. The items cost me around Rs 10, 000. The baker’s fee is separate,” said Marteena Elizabeth Thomas, a homemaker in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj.
The withdrawal limit of Rs 2,500 from ATMs and long queues at banks left her with limited cash. “Even if we wanted to buy more, we could not,” she rued.
She bought readymade cakes, which “don’t taste as good, but at least there is something”.