We did a ton of very serious research and learned a lot about making a gender reveal cake. Having never even been to this type of party before, we knew it would be a blast and wanted our cake to taste really good and also be really striking in the big moment.
Here are our baking notes, which might be of use to those of you who can foresee this type of event coming up soon for someone you love:
1. Stay with the tried-and-true recipes. This is not the time to test out any weird ideas. The cake was a simple butter cake (recipe doubled) and the frosting was sour cream milk chocolate (I subbed 2 Whole Foods organic milk chocolate bars and half a dark chocolate bar in the recipe, which calls for chocolate chips).
2. The color blue does not occur in natural foods. Blueberries would look purple, and sure, we could have tried cabbage-blue cake, but barring that, sometimes you just have to raid the back of the cabinet and break out the food coloring used once a year for Christmas cookies.
3. Do different layers: four drops of blue for sky blue, eight drops for a medium blue. (We included a plain white layer for contrast and normalcy. All blue just seemed a bit much.)
4. Don't just make a white cake with blue or pink frosting filling. Everyone will know the deal once the coated knife comes out after the first cut, and it makes for a better reveal if you have to wait a sec to see the cake color all at once.
5. Cutting out parchment circles is a lifesaver when it comes to getting the cakes out nicely. Just trace the bottom of the pan with a pencil and then set the parchment circle into the bottom of the fully buttered and lightly floured pan.
6. Run a knife along the edges of the pans to loosen the edges. (A lettuce knife is good to use once the cakes have halfway cooled because it won't scratch up pans like metal knives.)
7. Let the layers cool before placing a cutting board on top of the cake-side of the pans and flipping cake onto the board. A fish spatula helped us safely move the layers to the cake carrier.
8. Choose a dark-colored frosting so that there's no chance of the color peeking through and ruining the surprise.
9. Put a dollop of frosting in the middle of the plate part of the cake carrier before setting the first layer down. It will help to make the base of the cake steady.
10. Instead of the typical packaged cake decorating items, we used a plain old peeler to make curls and shavings out of Callebaut white chocolate and dark chocolate blocks for the question mark on top and also for decorating the top and bottom edge.
11. You probably want to wear disposable gloves if you don't want to be frantically scrubbing color off your hands pre-party so as not to inadvertently alert people to the color of the cake you've baked!
12. A cake carrier helps to prevent any disasters in transport, and taping a pie/cake server to the top of it makes things a lot easier when it's cutting time.
Next up, maybe we'll try out a girl's cake. Honestly, making a strawberry cake would seem like it would be easier than something blue, but we tested blended strawberries in the batter from above, and it just make the sample cupcakes heavy enough to fall in...we'll get back to you on that!