Circulated in and around Kolkata, Bapuji cakes have transcended the tag of being just another cake
Bapuji Cakes have been around the block for over 50 years. It is not a product which has been advertised ever, yet its popularity is unwavering in Bengali households and masses alike. The squared block of buttered cake has been an integral part of tea shops, school tiffin boxes, picnic breakfasts and even in bus stops and railway stations since the 70s. Owing to its minimalist packaging and no-frills ingredients, the parent company New Howrah Bakeries Pvt. Ltd. has managed to consistently keep its prices down, making it the go-to affordable snack for the lower- or middle-class strata of the Bengali society.
Bapuji Cake in all its glory has been a part and parcel of the Bengali common man and it came in circulation back in 1973 with the nominal price of 60 paise and only in March this year did they bump up their prices from 6 rupees per unit to 7. The cake in its oily wax paper packaging harkens back to the days spent in school recesses when one would exchange their tiffin and go wawa over a piece of this cake. The tea shops of Bengal are witness to the uncountable hours spent in ‘adda’ sessions discussing serious world events to performances of beloved sporting heroes over a cuppa and cake. It also emerged as the saviour for the sudden hunger pangs of our fellow rickshaw pullers and auto drivers and even the pedestrians and office goers who would indulge in the delicious cake for a quick bit before getting on with their day. Without the garb of nostalgia surrounding it, the cake can be termed unremarkable, but it serves as the perfect accoutrement to afternoon or evening tea sessions and over time it has cemented itself as a mainstay of the larger Bengali identity.
Since its advent the product hasn’t gone through any major overhauls. The cake is moist without the use of any modern preservatives and can last upto a month. Affordability being its primary USP, the Jana brothers have to always strive towards striking a perfect balance whether it be the taste profile of the cake or its market price. Despite inflation, counterfeits in the market and competition from large conglomerates, the product has stayed connected to its roots and has garnered immense fan following proving that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”