A cake testing with Delights by Cynthia

Cakes by Cynthia

This is a bit of delayed post, as in November I had the pleasure of experiencing a cake-tasting for myself courtesy of Cynthia of Delights by Cynthia. My mother-in-law made my wedding cake so I didn’t do the whole searching for a cake-maker and getting to taste lots of yummy cakes. So when Cynthia invited me to attend a cake-tasting me and my cake loving self was more than happy to oblige.

One of my very dear friends Davina is getting married later this year, so as a bride-to-be I brought her along with me.

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Cynthia gave us the full-on bride-to-be experience and despite my heady sugar rush from all the cake eating I was able to take notes and photos so that I would be able to share it all with you.

The cake consultation starts with a discussion of the theme of your wedding as Cynthia is always keen to get an idea of how you might want the cake to fit in with your day. She’ll start with going through your plans and ideas, her lookbook of previous cakes and also magazines to help inspire you. Although Cynthia is quite clear about not copying other people’s designs so you’re guaranteed to get something original.

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You’ll then have a discussion about what the cake needs to do in terms of your number of guests, whether or not it is going to be your dessert and also what kind of shape you like and number of tiers. The consultation will of course include my favourite bit – the tasting! This is where you will be presented with a variety of flavours to choose from.

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We tried the flavours:

– Orange sponge with orange cream
– Vanilla sponge with vanilla frosting and jam filling – good old victoria sponge which Cynthia told us is the most popular.
– Irish cream icing with chocolate sponge
– Vanilla and cinnamon
– Oreo cookie and chocolate

Many of these were combinations I had never heard of let alone tried and I was very pleasantly surprised.

I was keen to talk to Cynthia about trends for 2013 and here they are:

1. Cupcakes will continue to be popular but macaroons will also be making more of a feature, especially for summer weddings.
2.Grooms cakes – Cynthia has seen more requests for cakes for the Groom. This is the fun cake so one shaped like a football or you man’s hobby, apparently it was in the film Steel Magnolias.
3. Candy buffets will be big for 2013 and of course the cake always takes centre stage.
4. Square shaped cakes instead of the more traditional round ones.

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Cynthia also had some words of advice
– Involve the groom. As the bride it is easy to let the wedding become your show but if your groom isn’t too enthralled with the rest of the wedding details invite him to get involved in the cake, he might just surprise you.

– If you are on a budget, keep it simple! The increased cost comes in when you are choosing a cake which requires lots of time to be spent on decoration, structure and embellishment, so keep this in mind. Cynthia suggests £300 is the average cost for a cake.

– If your cake-maker is not setting up your cake for you, make sure you give that job to someone you trust as it is a big responsibility. Give them clear instructions so they know exactly what they are doing and there are no mistakes on the day.

– If you are going to have your cake as your dessert then remember you will be serving bigger portions than if the cake was a late night snack or a take home gift so bear this in mind.

– Think about what you are going to do with your cake and plan it into your day. There is nothing worse than waste at the end of the night or everyone forgetting to serve the cake until all the guests have left.

One thing I really wanted to know was how long cakes will keep for. My mother-in-law is quite traditional and was adamant that we should keep the top-tier of the cake either for our 1st anniversary or the birth of our first child, whichever came first. It was kept it in the freezer and we dutifully defrosted it and ate it when the time came. Ours was a traditional West Indian fruit cake which can be kept for ages, but sponge cakes don’t tend to keep in the freezer so if you have any ultra traditional family members or you are yourself then this might be something to consider.



Something different
– Different colours for each layer of your cake.
– Mini meringues, is something I’d like to see and according to Cynthia are another great choice to add that extra something.

Check out Cynthia’s website as there is lots of helpful information and you can get in touch with her if you would like to have a cake consultation, visit www.delightsbycynthia.com or call 0207 2786872.

Cupcake collage


Getting married??? Where to start…

Getting married
If you are planning your wedding and have found yourself on these pages for the first time, welcome! I have put together a list of a few posts which you might find helpful as you navigate the wedding planning world, so grab a cuppa and get comfortable:

Some advice…

Afro-Caribbean Caterers: The list

Planning guides: A schedule for your wedding day

The wedding venue search

Enjoy the journey. X x

An invitation:

If you are newly engaged or getting married this year then this is your invitation to become a BelleNoirBride ‘real bride’ star by sharing your wedding planning journey on these very pages. If this is something you might be interested in, we would love to have you so please email me on nicola@bellenoirbride.co.uk

5 tips for plus size wedding dress shopping

Loving your curves and your wedding dress

For today’s Wedding Wednesday we have a post about the all important wedding dress, with a twist, and the clue is in the title. The wedding industry often alienates on a variety of different levels and size is most definitely one of them. I don’t recall seeing any curvier models in the wedding magazines and that’s why I am really pleased to welcome Kemi, a plus size wedding dress designer, to the pages of BelleNoirBride

Over to you Kemi.

When it comes to finding the wedding dress of your dreams it can be stressful for the best of brides and whilst shopping is always fun, plus size bridal shopping can often be quite a daunting task – I know from experience!

So as a plus size designer here are my top tips on finding your perfect wedding dress.

1. Set a budget. I have put this first as it is so important to keep to budget and look for various options within your bracket. When visiting shops, boutiques and designers inform them of your budget early on so that they can best advise you, this saves time and ensures that you don’t fall in love with a dress that you can’t afford.

2. Know your silhouette. The design that best flatters you will depend on your silhouette and shape. Most designers and boutiques will offer a style assessment service. If at all possible try not to get distracted by current trends but rather focus on shapes and styles that are flattering to you. The design is the foundation, so take your time and get it right, after that its easy to work on the finishing and details. Try new styles but not too many dresses! Some styles that you may not have considered may turn out to be flattering, but if you try on lots of dresses in the same style it will just leave you overwhelmed. My advice is to pick three different styles and try 3 dresses per style; anything more will be confusing rather than helpful.

3. Time is of the essence. Especially if you want a bespoke dress as it will take approximately 6-8 months to design and create, for off the peg dresses purchased from a boutique you need to leave 3-6 months although they can often accommodate you in shorter time if need be. Ideally start shopping at least 9 months in advance and don’t forget to check out the sample sales.

4. Don’t change. Sometimes ladies tell me they love a dress but just want to lose some weight for the day, I never recommend this. Firstly your husband proposed to you as you are now so why change just for a day? Secondly yo-yo diets are not good for your health and you are more likely to end up heavier than you started. If you choose to make healthy lifestyle changes that is very different, just remember that your dress is either made to your measurements or altered, either way if your weight is fluctuating it will have an impact on your dress.

5. Don’t panic if you don’t find the one. Not every bride is going to have a moment when she puts on ‘the one’ and falls into a flood of tears, it may happen for you it might not, for me the moment didn’t come when I chose my dress or even tried it on for the first time but it happened as I walked down the aisle and saw the look in my husband’s eyes. Also once you have decided on your dress, stop looking, it only creates confusion and wastes time.

Bespoke or Retail? There are advantages to both, especially for plus size brides. Bespoke will allow you to spend time with the designer creating your ultimate a gown and of course you are guaranteed a truly unique look from head to toe. Likewise retail is an option and a good boutique will also be able to offer you advice, just make sure you do your research and look for a shop that stocks plus size dresses.

When I was getting married I found that there were limited choices for plus size boutiques and I even had some unpleasant experiences.  However, I am glad to see that there is an ever-growing number of plus size bridal outlets emerging so make sure you look out for them. Whichever route you take, your wedding dress is inevitably going to be a big part of the day (and those wedding pictures!) so take the time to get it right, you will only wear it once but remember it forever.

Thanks so much for such insightful advice Kemi. My favourite bit, ‘don’t change’! Check out Kemi Boutique online and you can also get in touch with her on 07830 236 223.


Helpful hints for planning your big day

I’m really pleased to have a guest post courtesy of Nicole from Perfect Events for you today. Nicole is an events planner and here she shares her top tips for creating your perfect wedding …

‘Dear BelleNoirBride readers, I’m delighted to be guest posting on BelleNoirBride.

Let me introduce myself, I am the Owner and Event Director of Perfect Events and have over 12 years experience planning and managing a variety of large to small scale wedding and events.

Well enough about me, let’s talk weddings… we would like to share with you our helpful hints and tips to help you plan your perfect day.

1) Setting your BUDGET

Before you start planning your wedding, you need to know what you have got to spend and who is paying for what. This may involve a slightly awkward conversation with your families, but being up front now is essential.

The largest part of your budget will be spent on your reception venue, food and drinks followed by your wedding dress, décor, entertainment, photography, videography and any other smaller miscellaneous expenses, although not necessarily in the same order. Add 10% to your budget for contingency in case of inevitable extras which may arise along the way.

Once your budget has been set, be sure to keep track of costs and know when payments are due to each supplier.

2) Stage by stage PLANNING

Viewing your wedding in its entirety can sometimes be a little or somewhat overwhelming, therefore separate the day into key elements the ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast etc. For each element consider the décor,flowers, catering, entertainment etc. We create mood boards for each element and this is something you may also find useful to do.

3) Perfect TIMING

Timing is everything to ensure your BIG day goes as planned. When booking your venue allow for set up time either the night before the wedding or the morning of, some venues may charge you extra for this but it will be money well spent. Arrange for your suppliers to be onsite at least 60 minutes before they are required, it’s best to get them there early! Lastly, create a detailed running order, the one we create is minute by minute which ensures that nothing goes a miss and the day is seamless.


Clear, concise communication with your suppliers is essential, bullet point your exact requirements ensure they know exactly what you want and likewise be sure of what they will deliver. Carefully review your supplier contracts to avoid any nasty surprises and do not be afraid to raise any points you are unsure of are not happy to agree to. One week before the wedding reconfirm the arrangements with each of your suppliers to check that all is ok; do not leave anything to chance.


To enable you to truly relax and enjoy every moment of your day, appoint a reliable and organised person or team to oversee and make sure your day happens as planned. You will need to provide whoever you appoint with the running order, details of who is doing/providing what and a contact list for all your suppliers. They will also be the main point of contact for all your suppliers should they have any issues. Most venues include an Events Manger for the day, you will need to check as very often they tend to only deal with aspects pertaining to the venue and any other items they are providing. This therefore leaves other important aspects such as flowers, décor, entertainment and sometimes catering (if you are using external caterers) etc managed only by your suppliers with no one to oversee them. Make sure whoever you appoint is responsible and a good organiser.

For assistance planning your wedding you can contact Nicole on 07866 364 436 or  nicole@perfectevents4all.com

African themed wedding invitations

I am a stationery geek, whether it be wedding stationery, invitations, notebooks, pens, I love it.

Needless to say when I was contacted by Bibi Invitations and then got to see the cards for myself at the African Bridal Show I was not disappointed.

Specialising in African inspired wedding invitations and incorporating a rich colour palette of reds, shades of deep amber and indigo, and burnt oranges of Aso Oke, Kente and Ankara Dutch Wax they have produced a stationery collection steeped in symbolism and meaning.

Bibi’s African wedding invitations are a reflection of African culture and lifestyle – bold, opulent and vibrant and they offer three distinct collections:

Okin Signature Collection – draws inspiration from the classic combination of Aso Oke and Swiss lace. The invitations in this collection shimmer and shine with iridescent foil stamps on the finest metallic paper.

Ifeoma Collection – boasts bright and bold wedding cards and this collection is a classic mix of Dutch wax inspired prints (Ankara).

Abena Collection – stylish and affordable

You can customise the invitations in each collection to match the theme of your day, whether you want to explore metallic type paper or delicately textured linen paper, from ribbons to foil colors you have the option to make them your own.

Good news: World Wide Shipping is available. To see more of these exquisite invitations visit http://www.bibiinvitations.com/?Click=47