It’s great when my customers know exactly what they want. Charlie sent me this sketch for her birthday cake. I love all the details that she included.
Colours: Hot pink and blue Flavour: Chocolate cake with pink vanilla buttercream Decoration: Strawberry Cheesecake Pretzels, Haribo sweets, Meringue Kisses Toppers: A glittery 7 and Barbie Textures and effects: Sparkles and Glitter
I hope I did her justice. One thing I will say is that Charlie is super-creative., with a great eye for detail. Watch this space, this young lady is going places.
I’ve been going through some old cake photos recently. There was lots of ‘remember this one?’ and ‘look at that’. It reminded me of colours in vogue, certain styles I tried to emulate, before forging my own and looking back at my skill set, too. It was a good process to go through, as it reminded me how far I’ve come.
This cake was created in 2009 and it’s still one of my favourites, as it was the start of creating cakes in my own style. This cake order was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Thanks to this cake, my girls have another Aunty and I have an awesome friend.
This photo signifies exactly how I see my to-do list each week. On the left, you’ve got the real eggs, the practical and essential things that must be done. On the right, you’ve got the golden, shiny, chocolate eggs. These are the things on my to-do list that are fun, shiny and creative. But in order to do the fun, shiny, creative things, the practical and essential things must be done first. To run my business, I must get the balance between the two. Sometimes I’m upstairs in front of the laptop, ordering stock, answering emails, updating the website; and sometimes, downstairs in the Delights Kitchen, prepping, baking and decorating. The magic seems to happen in both locations, they cannot do without each other.
One learning curve is actually not a curve at all…They’re sharp edges. I shy away from them, probably because of my quirky, curvy nature. But some cakes just look so much better with a clean, sharp edge and it’s something I need to master. I have been practicing with buttercream, ganache and fondant and each medium works in a completely different manner. I still have a long way to go, but the process is a good one.
I am a bit of a magpie, I love a bit of sparkle. There’s only a few cakes, cookies and treats that have left the Delights Kitchen without a glimmer of a shimmer. Otherwise things get dusted with edible lustre, glitter of have hints of metallic highlights. Sometimes when I’m working on a cake, I literally have to say out loud the lines from one of my favourite films, Babe: “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.” That’s a polite reminder for me to step away from the cake, or it is likely to turn into a disco inferno. I’m also a bit of a wordsmith, so I like to play on words and sayings when working on cakes. I love lots of different types of music (those in the know remember DJ Synth in the ‘90s), so music plays a big part of what I do. I’m either dancing in the Delights Kitchen or rinsing a tune for inspiration.
Delights by Cynthia creates artistic bespoke cakes, cookies, sweets and treats for life’s celebrations, weddings, gifts, corporate events, or your personal indulgence. I love creative cake projects where the cake could only be for that one special person or couple, and that it means so much to them.
The colours in my branding are cool blue, ice blue, hot pink and chocolate brown. I chose the blues because you don’t always associate blues with food, so I want to show that I tend to look at things from a creative perspective and outside of the box – creativity is important to me. The hot pink shows my fun, whimsical side – you’ll see this in my posts, and the way I style things. The curly font in rich dark chocolate brown is quite grown up. So it shows the sophisticated side of my cakes, and who doesn’t like chocolate. So, that’s me and my brand.
Like many people I watched the fitting funeral of Captain Sir Tom Moore, yesterday. I didn’t realise how much it affected me, as I watched and wept. The closing remarks were that Captain Sir Tom’s final request was to serve sandwiches and Victoria Sponge after his funeral service.
I baked this for the family yesterday afternoon (I can truly attest to the therapeutic remedy of baking). My daughters whipped the cream and did the filling. You can’t beat a Victoria Sponge, it just seems perfect for any occasion. Light, fluffy sponge, raspberry jam (it has to be with seeds for me) and whipped (within an inch of its life) cream. I’m looking forward to having a slice with a cuppa later today.
I’m too old for Netflix and Chill, and I’m certainly not a binge-watcher (even in lockdown). I’m a middle-aged mum, who is busy wearing several hats, so I certainly don’t have time to watch TV for hours and hours. However, I practically watched the Channel4, Russell T. Davis drama It’s a Sin, back-to-back. I loved watching Ritchie, Roscoe, Colin, Ash and Jill. I laughed out loud at the one-liners (please read as ‘laughed so hard, she spat out her tea) and cried at the moving and tender scenes.
Being known as the weird black girl who likes Bowie I watched each episode, I remembered what things were like during 1981 – 1991 in London and the backdrop to the drama. A big chunk of that decade was my teenage years. It was a bitter-sweet time….
If you loved watching It’s a Sin (or have still yet to watch it), I’m sure you’ll agree that Jill was the glue that held all the friendships together. In a world full of ‘Karens’, we need more Jills. And of course, the love and vitality of Ritchie, who left us with the immortal line: “La”.
Last week I was fortunate enough to take part in an Instagram Live with Maria the Brownie Queen from Chocolate Moments. We spoke about:
Copying other businesses – work, style and content
Here are some things you need to consider, when you’re looking at other people’s work – whatever line of business you are in:
Find your own niche for your business – speak to your customers in a way that will resonate with them – your language to your customers
BE ORIGINAL/BE YOURSELF: There are so many things to inspire you and spark creativity – you don’t need to look at what others are doing. You can find inspiration from colour, art, poetry, film and music.
Sometimes customers will send photos of other people’s work for a cake order: I don’t copy other people’s cakes – but I ask customers about the elements they like and try and create a new cake. If you are INSPIRED by someone in your industry – CREDIT THEM.
Even when you look at “what’s trending” or “What’s popular” – e.g. treat boxes: Put your own spin on it
GO COMPARE – We naturally look at what others are doing and compare – but don’t always go by what you see – there’s a lot going on behind the ‘gram (or not).
The cons of copying other people’s work:
What you produce might not be the right fit with your customers/audience
You are totally relying on the next move of someone else to fuel your business
You will be found out
It’s a small world – what goes around comes around
Customers could just go to the original source
Finally, think about WHY you need to copy someone else.
Have you experienced this in your line of business? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
British people eat more biscuits than any other nation. Biscuits are not only tasty treats to go with a cuppa, but they evoke childhood memories and bring comfort in an instant.
In The Biscuit – The History of a Very British Indulgence, Lizzie Collingham charts the history of the humble biscuit, from as far back as Roman times, the Industrial Revolution, when the sweet snack began to be mass produced, to family favourites for today. Bourbons. Custard Creams. Rich Tea. Jammie Dodgers. Chocolate Digestives. Shortbread. Ginger snaps. What’s your favourite?
The Love Cocoa Birthday Cake chocolate bar will evoke childhood memories as you munch and crunch your way through the white chocolate, vanilla and sprinkles. As we’re still on lockdown, it might be the only bar you we’ll be celebrating with for a while.
As we wave goodbye to 2020, we always look forward to working with the Pantone colour of the year. Knowing that we need hope and vitality, Pantone have two colours for 2021. PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Grey is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colours of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Grey quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.
Pantone say their choices this year as “a message of happiness supported by fortitude”. But darker readings of Ultimate Grey, a pale shade of dove they liken to “pebbles on the beach and natural elements.”
I’m looking forward to how these colours play out in cake.
I Dew Care Cake My Day Hydrating Sprinkle Wash Off Mask is packed with moisturising rainbow sprinkles to give your skin an instant burst of hydration. This soft-serve inspired face mask is infused with hyaluronic acid to nourish and plump the skin, while squalane is known to provide deep hydration and improve moisture retention. Cake your day two to three times a week!
This limited edition Cupcake Kitchen Scale from Salter, could be the sweet edition your kitchen needs. It’ has a large, ultra-slim platform, making it hygienic and easy to clean, with an aquatronic function, so you can measure liquids in ml or fl.oz. It’s slim and neat, which is perfect for storage, too.
If you’re more Spindarella than Nigella, you’ll probably love the Rapper’s Delight – The HipHop Cookbook. The book features 30 recipes inspired by your favourite Hip Hop artists.
Each of the recipes is accompanied by a bespoke piece of artwork, created by one of 30 of the best upcoming illustrators. Rapper’s Delight celebrates the many humorous parallels between food and Hip Hop, making it a must-have for anyone with a love for cooking, music or illustration, or indeed all three.
Each recipe page includes a difficulty rating, outlining how hard it is to make. The Beats Per Minute (B.P.M.) gives a rough guide on how long the recipe takes to prepare and cook. My sweet tooth is beckoning me to make Busta Key Lime Pie and Tiramisu Elliott.
How dainty and divine is this Fortnum’s Afternoon Tea Tray decoration. If you collect decorations for the tree, this hand-painted decoration, in the style of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, will add a touch of style.
If you watch Sunday Brunch on Channel 4, you’ll regularly see Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, causing a stir with a selection of cocktails for every occasion. Here’s his Caribbean Christmas Cake Cocktail (thank me later).
If you know a kid who’s too cool for school, they probably won’t want to gather round the kitchen island and make a gingerbread house. They might want to make a campervan. This Camper Van Gingerbread House Kit from Lakeland, contains absolutely everything you need to make this funky vehicle, so it’s great for getting the coolest of kids involved.
The easy-to-make kit comes with four delicious pre-baked gingerbread panels that are ready to be decorated with coloured icing, trimmed with rainbow gumdrops and candy lights. If you’re really adventurous, you could create a sugar version of the Pyramid stage at Glasto, as a backdrop for your cool camper, and you’re good to go.
Flavoured gin liquers have become quite a thing. These Asda crafted gins using flavours you associate with the festive season: ginger, cinnamon and marshmallow are just what you need for a delightful seasonal sip. The glitter adds that extra sparkle and festive cheer. Chin-chin!
Italian aesthetics and top-grade technology collide in this collaboration between fashion duo Dolce & Gabbana and kitchenware expert Smeg. Decorated with vibrant motifs inspired by the Sicilian countryside, the ‘Sicily is my love’ edition stand mixer comes complete with a stainless steel bowl and variable speed controls, promising to give your worktops a distinctly sophisticated edge as you whip up another batch of sugar-filled treats.
If you’re Cake Royalty (like me), place this with pride on your Christmas wish list. The Cake Queen Tee is from Two Little Cats Bakery. They’ve got the thumbs up from me, as the sizes range from S-2XL, so you fit your buns inside with ease.
It’s pretty, pink and packed with piping. The perfect gift for any cake connoisseur or fondant fashionista.
This bag is part of the Patisserie collection from Moschino inspired by the idea of the ‘Anime Antoinette’, the collection is as sweet as can be, and this Cake clutch bag is no exception. Let them eat Moschino.
If you know someone who likes a wee dram and is partial to a slice of cake, the limited edition Single Malt Whisky, A Tale of Cake from Glemorangie, may be the perfect gift.
Inspired by joyful childhood memories came from cake — from pineapple upside down cake to baking with granny.
This whisky has been created to conjure the magic of a cake moment. The liquid is a rich copper, but the taste is pure technicolour, luscious, sweet and complex with multi-layered bursts of honey, white chocolate and fruits with a lilting hint of mint. As you might expect, it tastes incredible when enjoyed with actual cake.
Bring on the joy with a box of cupcakes from Delights by Cynthia. We may not all be in the same room on Christmas Day, so how about sharing the love with cupcakes for friends, family or clients. Get in touch and let’s make things sweet. We deliver London wide.
The kit contains antler ear, eye and nose cookie cutters, plus a holly leaf and little reindeer.
You can make your cookie decorations and attach them to your cake and voila! As you bring out your cake to share with your loved ones, you can sing this witty little ditty!
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (cake) Had a yummy cookie nose And crunchy ears and antlers And some jolly holly bows He’ll make your party guests Laugh but they won’t call him names He’s the best-dressed festive cake To serve after fun and games!
I hope you will enjoy the next 24 days with my Delights by Cynthia Advent Calendar. Each day I will share some delicious cake related sweets and treats that you might want to buy for your near ones and dear ones.
I remember buying these for my girls when they were babies. Cute little soft leather cupcake shoes, from Not On The High Street. Perfect for the patter of tiny feet.
Christmas cakes have come a long way. This type of Christmas cake is from way back. I shared this picture on WhatsApp and my Instagram story. The memories from my friends came flooding in…
Licking the bowl
“My memories would have to be watching the ingredients go in and helping to mix the cake. The excitement of the making the cake, the mixture left in the bowl, and scraping the mixture with my finger, quickly before the bowl was washed. This was all before silicone spatulas. Those were the days…” – Dunja
“My memory would be scraping out mixture in the bowl, with a taste of the alcohol from the fruitcake mixture. I’d go into school the next day and tell my friends I had red wine last night.” – Grace
Marzipan and Icing
“This reminds me of my granddad giving us his icing, because of his diabetes.” – Jenna
“My favourite Christmas cake was one my mum made. It was a chimney stack with Santa’s boots sticking out the top. But I’ve never liked fruitcake as a kid. I was all about the marzipan and my sister was all about the icing. There was a lot of bettering that went on those days.” – Bethany
“I do remember always looking forward to my mum’s mince pies. Nobody did them better. She swore that the fresher they were made, the better. She made them on Christmas Eve, before it was an open house for all the family.” – Sammy
“I remember making a yule log from shop bought Swiss rolls and buttercream with chocolate powder.” – Hannah
Back in the day
“That’s exactly how I remember Christmas cake. Although, it is missing the plastic Babycham deer.” – Julie
“A cake like this reminds me of an aunty, who used to bring one round at Christmas. The cake was so heavy and would take ages to finish.” – Catherine
“My mum’s cake looked like this every year. She had a gold Happy Christmas sign, which she stuck on top of the cake. In January it became mine and my brother’s birthday cake minus the decorations on 24 January.” – Jayne
“My brother and I decorated one together every year.” – Mandy
“We have an aunt, who still decorates her cake like this. It’s not a fruit cake, she bakes a coconut cake. Every year when we go round to her house, out comes the Christmas cake and she insists we must all have a slice. We gulp our way through it. Then she wraps slices for us to take home.” – Leanne
“I remember my mum using a fork to ‘fluff up’ the royal icing for a snowdrift effect on her Christmas cake. The smell of mixed spice and fruitcake cake mixture, always reminds me of my mum.” – Cynthia
I’ve been on Instagram for quite some time, and I love engaging with my audience. I have made some awesome friends through the ‘Gram, who have encouraged me personally and encouraged me with all things cake (it was so nice, when I got to meet a few of them in the flesh). I’ve never been tempted with those emails that entice you to ‘pay $30 to grow your followers’, I couldn’t think of anything worse than fake accounts or not having a true connection with the people who follow you. I mean, I’m sure that people who follow my page are people who love my cakes?
My following has been growing slowly and steadily over the months. As I hit 950 followers, someone remarked “Ooh, you’ll be at one thousand followers soon, what are you going to do to celebrate?” I’ve seen the celebrations when celebrities or public figures reach their millionth, or 10k followers, there’s usually balloons, lots of glitter and gloss. For cake businesses, there’s usually a cake or some sweet confectionary involved. Apparently, hitting your one thousand follower mark, is a thing to behold and celebrate. As the numbers came creeping up, I thought I too, would ‘take one for the Gram’, and celebrate with a 1K cake.
The day came and I reached the milestone and yes, it was exciting and it felt good. But everything around me stayed the same. Was now the time to celebrate? Apparently not. “You have to wait, until you have over one thousand followers,” remarked my critical friend “ in case, people unfollow you, because you’ve reached one thousand followers.” Really? Is this an actual thing? I ordered a 1K cake topper and got on with other things in life. The numbers continued to creep up and I celebrated with a mention on my page. But where was the cake? I baked it, crumb coated it, covered it in pastel buttercream and left it to chill (which really, is what I should have done). For some reason or other I kept over-thinking it?
Should I create something that’s on trend?
Should I create something that matches my branding?
Should I do a giveaway?
Should I do a photo shoot?
I spent a couple of waking moments at night thinking about this cake. It was taking far too much of my time, patience and imagination.
Then after way too much mulling over, I said STOP. Just because everybody else does something, it doesn’t mean it’s something that I have to do too. Once I reached that decision I felt free. I took a quick picture of me holding my 1K topper and that was it.
Hopefully, as I reach more milestones along the way, I will celebrate the way I want to and not the way I think I am supposed to. It was really important for me to thank the people who follow me and engage with my page and most importantly, the ones that love and buy my cakes.
As for the cake, chilling in the fridge, it didn’t last too long. It was lovingly devoured as an after-school treat, over a few days.
I’ve wanted to write a post about delivery services for a while. As we head into a second lockdown, it’s probably best that I do it now.
I treat my cakes, desserts and treats like my babies. Sometimes I become so attached to them that I don’t want to wave them goodbye. With the two delivery services I use, I know that every cake will be in safe hands.
My trusty friend Dionne from DD Cake Delivery Service, will have your cakes delivered to your door with second to none service. Dionne and her team have been brilliant, in helping me deliver surprise cakes and tasty edibles.
One of my customers reminded me of the importance of limiting my carbon footprint and introduced me to Pedal Me. They peddle to the medal and deliver on time. I’ve heard that they have completed an office move with pedal power.
During Lockdown, Delights by Cynthia will be offering a delivery service for cakes, cookies, desserts and treats. Please get in touch if we can deliver something sweet to your loved ones.
Once upon a time, my daily routine included status updates which included Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy, the Tombliboos, the Pontipines / the Wottingers, the Haa hoos, the Ninky Nonk and the Pinky Ponk.
My youngest would come home from nursery, have something to eat, and lay on the sofa before bathtime, waiting for the hypnotic voice of Derek Jacobi. Some evenings we would have have a tantrum here and there (and not always from the toddler).
In the Night Garden was a bit part our evening routine. We all chilled out and watched it after work, school and nursery. This year I’ve been thrilled to create two cakes based on the In the Night Garden theme.
Here’s one of the birthday girls with their cakes. It’s fun to be one!
There’s usually a slight panic, if I am running out of any ingredients or cake decorating materials that happen to be pink:
Sprinkles and Sparkles
Pink tends to be the most popular colour for cakes and cookies, but life isn’t always pink, sparkly and rosy.
Those of you in the know will know that I love all things gothic. So, I’m in my element whenever there is any opportunity to create cakes, cookies or desserts on the dark side. These creations in the past few weeks haven’t disappointed. I’ve been able to play with skulls, black buttercream, blood red drips and lipstick so red, it would make Robert Smith jealous.
My homage to the Frank N Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Black buttercream, red chocolate drip and those lips. I hope Tim Curry approves.
Black fondant covered cake, decorated with an sugar skull and textured black wafer paper. It could double up as a top hat (I could see Slash from Guns N Roses sporting it, if it was a hat).
An alternative 18th birthday cake. Decorated with black buttercream, red chocolate drip, lustred chocolate treats and a nod to the birthday girl’s favourite band.
So if you fancy something alternative in cake, I might just be your chick.
There’s still seems to be doom and gloom, and uncertainty about. But I’m so thankful that there’s hope. I had the joy of on working on a baby shower cake yesterday morning, using pastel colours and cute motifs. It was lovely to create a cake to celebrate a new life coming soon. I had to include this little rainbow.
While making this rainbow, I was reminded of Tomorrow, by Tevin Campbell and Quincy Jones. The words remind me that better days are coming…
I hope tomorrow will bring a better you, a better me I know that we’ll show this world we got more we could be So you should never give up on your hopes and your dreams You gotta get up, get out, get into it, get it on to be strong If we try, we can fly to a whole ‘nother place
All we need is belief and a smile on our face We can go anywhere we want, any road we decide to take And we’re never, never, never too far from tomorrow today If tomorrow is light in a place where there’s none
Then now is the time to have faith in us all Ya know we’re all in this world and we all can belong We gotta get up, get out, get over it, get it on to be strong If we try, we can fly to a place in the sun All we need is precious dreams and a friend we can trust
We can go anywhere we want, any road that we can take And we’re never too far from tomorrow today Ev’rybody say tomorrow is just for us to share
And we’re gonna send our message of love out ev’rywhere There’s a promise of love tomorrow has Something special and it’s something we know will last and last ‘Cause we’re never far away, never
One thing I can always be sure of Far away, no never the promise of today ‘Cause we’re never far away, never One thing I can always be sure of Far away, no never the promise of today.
I’ve always created dainty and petite cakes; for small gatherings, birthdays, baby showers and leaving dos. With the recent UK government guidelines reducing gatherings down to six people, I have been busy creating cakes that are equally delightful and will feed up to six people (if you want to share, of course).
Drip cakes can be delivered Londonwide, using our Covid compliant delivery service. Please get in touch if you fancy a cake, as a gift or a guilty pleasure.
A recent study in the ‘Journal of Food Research’ has determined that blowing out candles over a cake results in over 1400% more bacteria on the surface of the icing or buttercream, due to the transfer of oral bacteria and other microorganisms from the respiratory tract contained more bioaerosols expelled in the breath of the person blowing the candles. With Covid-19 these results are even more significant, this has raised food safety concerns.
I’ve taken the decision not to attach candles on my cakes (or on the cake board) until we have further government guidelines. You can still have that special moment with sparklers and there’s nothing stopping you making a wish.
It’s a good idea to think about what is important to you and your business. Here’s a few of the things that are important to me.
I bake with love – if my heart’s not in it, you’ll see it and taste it. It’s much better for me to say no, than to make myself and a customer miserable with the results.
I bake from scratch – you get a much better cake when you choose and work with great ingredients.
I always use free-range eggs.
We’re big recyclers in the Delights Kitchen – the bin men can usually see me hotfooting it on Wednesday mornings with bags of egg boxes, plastic tubs and cardboard boxes from ordered stock and materials.
It’s really important for me to give back. As a business I support @Noahsarkhospice and sponsor a child through @worldvisionuk. Plus there are a number of initiatives we have been involved with. That heart on top of my branding isn’t there for nothing.
This giant Fondant Fancy was made for the wonderful staff at the Whittington Hospital, who looked after me last year when I collapsed with a Pulmonary Embolism last year. There was only one way to say thank you, with a cake.