Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gender Reveal Cake

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have three awesome older brothers who taught me the coolness of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, wrestling, and GI Joe.  I learned to throw a baseball the correct way, to throw a punch without breaking my thumb, and how to box out for a rebound.  I wouldn't change this experience for anything in the world, especially now that we still remain close, and I know my brothers would do anything for me.  However, because of this overload of testosterone, girly things were not always on the top of my agenda, despite my mother's best efforts.  Yes, I owned more Barbies than any one girl should, and my Barbie Dream House stood proudly in the basement.  But no, there wasn't always someone in the house who wanted to play those things unless Superfly Jimmy Snuka was invited to the party.  (Small side note--I'd like to give my brother, Jimmy, a shout out for always offering to play the Sweet Valley High Board Game with me...his only requirement was that he had to be Elizabeth or he wasn't playing!) 

Enter, the blessing that was the Szelagowski Family.  Three girls, all around my age, with an overload of girl toys and games, only two houses away.  Mall Madness, Girl Talk Boardgame (sticker zits included), and Bop Magazine were always available.  Doing each other's hair and playing "school" and "house" were on the agenda almost every day.  I have very few memories of my childhood where this family was not involved.

Throughout the years, we've vaguely kept in touch, but through the wonders of facebook, we've now been able to keep abreast of each other's lives.  All three girls have started beautiful families of their own, and its been wonderful to see what great lives they have been able to create for themselves.  The middle daughter, Kate, started her own side business making all sorts of creative things, including headbands and bows for little girls as well as beautiful invitations, cards, etc.  When I found out that I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to ask her to create an announcement for our son when he was born. I emailed Kate, and she created ten of the cutest cards I could imagine!  I can't wait for our son to be born and mail those beauties out. 

Well, a few weeks ago, Kate announced that she was expecting a second child.  She already has one adorable little girl who is Kate's spitting image.  Kate asked if I would consider making a cake for her to reveal the gender of her baby.  I, of course, said, "YES!"  Last week, Kate had an ultrasound where she asked the technician to seal the results of the ultrasound in an envelope, which Kate delivered to me immediately.  I was to keep my lips sealed for an entire week and then bake a cake tinted either pink or blue inside.  I am so honored that I got to be part of this awesome suprise!  I had a lot of fun making the cake and helping to celebrate the life of another Szelagowski grandchild!

I decided to turn to my trusty Magnolia cookbook and use the vanilla cake recipe.  I love this recipe for its simplicity and fresh taste.  The recipe calls for half self-rising flour and half all-purpose flour.  I swapped out the all-purpose flour for cake flour, which I think makes it a little more tender and light.  I also swapped out the vanilla extract for vanilla bean paste, to give it a richer taste.  Also, there is something decadent about seeing all of those little vanilla beans in the batter!  I also used the same cookbook for the vanilla buttercream recipe.  Again, simple and delicious. 

For decorations, I wanted something baby-ish that didn't necessarily give away the baby's gender.  I was inspired by a cake that my co-worker's sister made for her baby shower...check it out at The Sunday Flog.  I thought the buttons were a cute idea. 

The buttons and letters were made from fondant dyed pastel colors.

My frosting job wasn't my finest.  I have found that the most delicious tasting frostings don't always spread the best or most evenly.

I used round cookie cutters to cut out the circles, then a slightly smaller one to indent the edges of the larger buttons.  The end of a straw was all I used to cut out the little button holes.  Easy-peasey, as my godson likes to say.

I made sure to seal the box up with a label so that any peeking ahead of time would be obvious!

Have I mentioned that I love my labels?

The little girl with the adorable look on her face is the big-sister-to-be, Julianne.  I love her expression in this picture.  So excited to find out!

Its a.....


Kate said she was definitely suprised...she guessed boy.  Congratulations to Kate and Jim Asher!!  Thanks for letting me be a part of your celebration!