“We have sold fruit plum cakes 24/7 without a break during Christmas,” recalls S Humesh, who owns Shri Balaji and Co Bakers on Big Bazaar Street. The bakery has been attracting devoted customers for over six decades. Founded by S Balakrishnan Lal in 1958, this family-run enterprise is particularly known for its butter cream cakes, tea cakes, Japanese cakes, cookies, and rusks. “Those days, there was no restriction on timings and people thronged our bakery, especially past midnight after attending the mass at the iconic St Michael’s Church that is just a stone’s throw away,” he says.
The rich, dark, plum cake flush with raisins, nuts, candied fruits and spices, made without alcohol is a specialty here. “We soak candied fruits and nuts in fruit sauce like it was traditionally done in bakeries in the region. Most of our customers are like family. People who visited us as children now bring their children to enjoy the same taste. So, we stick to the same recipe handed down by our founders,” explains Humesh adding that the cakes come with a shelf life of three months and cost ₹700 for one kilogram.
While quality standards set by the founders are still followed meticulously, the younger generation at the helm are setting up SOPs in place. “The taste of our cakes, that has remained the same since my grandfather’s time, is a big draw,” says Karan SH, Humesh’s son, who has stepped in and introduced systems to take stock of production. “While our tea cakes are best sellers, coconut rolls, butter biscuits, onam-flavoured biscuits, and Japanese cakes are popular too. We are experimenting with jaggery (instead of white sugar), with grated coconut for coconut buns, wheat rusks, and brown bread with zero sugar. Our goal however is stick to our tagline —Taste of Heritage.”