Pregnancy comes with enough surprises as it is, so I didn’t feel the need to wait until our little one’s birthday to find out the gender. In fact, we were so eager to find out that we asked at my 16 week ultrasound appointment if they could tell us that early, and were told that we’re having a boy! Even though both technicians were very sure of their assessment, they felt it was still too early to officially record the gender on the paperwork, so we kept this information to ourselves until we had absolute confirmation four weeks later at our next appointment, the anatomy scan. I knew I didn’t want to have a gender reveal party, but I did want an excuse to creatively share the news, so I decided to bake a gender reveal cake and photograph it for the announcement. I did this by baking a 4-layer white cake and dying the batter with blue food colouring (I used a cake mix — Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla, but their “White” cake mix will also do the job). I frosted the cake in a “naked cake” style with a cream cheese icing, then took an photo of the untouched decorated cake before next taking a photo of the cake with a giant slice cut out of it to reveal the blue layers. I took it up a notch and dyed each of the four layers a different shade of blue, giving the inside of the cake an ombré effect. (By the way, I’m not much of a baker, so this was quite a feat!)
This gender reveal idea is great if you already know the sex of your baby and just want a fun way to share the news with your family and friends, but it also works if you want to be in on the surprise — just get your doctor to write the gender on a piece of paper sealed in an envelope and give it to a trusted friend (along with a link to this post!) to do the baking for you. And even if you're not expecting, let this idea inspire you for another occasion — for example, you can dye each of the cake layers a different colour and make a rainbow cake!
2 pkg. white cake mix (+ ingredients needed as stated on package; usually just eggs and oil)
Blue food colouring for a boy, red food colouring for a girl
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
Heat oven to 350°F
Grease and flour 4 (9-inch) round pans (or, work in batches of 2); cover bottoms of pans with parchment paper.
Prepare cake batter as directed on package. (I found it easier to make both packages at the same time.) Divide batter from both packages into 4 bowls.
Add food colouring to batter. To achieve the ombre effect, use the following number of drops in each layer:
Layer 1: 12 drops
Layer 2: 20 drops
Layer 3: 28 drops
Layer 4: 48 drops
Bake 24-29 mins. or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 mins.; remove to wire racks to cool completely. (Even if baking both packages of cake batter at once, and even if you have 4 baking pans, it’s still a good idea to only bake 2 pans at a time.)
You can skip the next step if you’re using store-bought frosting, but if you’re making your own you can get started on it while your cakes are in the oven. I used this recipe from Betty Crocker (ingredients provided above).
In a large bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese together with electric mixer on medium speed 2-3 mins., scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth and creamy.
Stir in vanilla, then stir in icing sugar.
Once the cakes have completely cooled, use a bread knife to cut the domes off the tops of the cakes so that you have flat layers to work with when stacking them. Start by placing the darkest layer on the bottom, working your way up from darkest to lightest, spreading icing on the top of each layer as you go.
Ice the top and sides of the stacked cake, then scrape away most of the icing to achieve the “naked cake” look (or, glop on as much icing as you like and really cover that baby!).
Decorate with flowers, then cut into the cake to reveal the coloured layers inside!
So, what do you think? Will you give this a try?