Gender-Reveal Cakes, a Runaway Hit

Used to be parents learned the sex of their child when the bundle of joy was born. Then ultrasounds and more recently blood tests determine the gender early in the pregnancy. Now more and more moms-to-be are asking for the test results to be handed them in a sealed envelope, which they in turn hand, unopened, to a bakery.. Next stop: The gender-reveal cake and party.

Just type "gender-reveal cakes" into YouTube or Pinterest and you will see how huge this trend has become.

Me? I didn’t learn of it until last week, when my niece, Christine Salerno, and her husband, Dominic, held a gender-reveal party at their home in Manalapan,

Salerno, 31, a senior photo representative for a large advertising photo agency, and Dominic, 34, a Lakewood science teacher, are expecting their first child in March. Until Christine cut the cake, neither she nor her husband nor anyone else in the family–including those watching from upstate New York via Facebook–knew the gender of the expected arrival.

The answer would be revealed in the color of the frosting between the layers–blue or pink (some things never change). The cake as a whole was frosted in neutral white.

Its surface said, "Congratulations, It’s a…

Christine got the idea after speaking with a colleague awaiting his third child. “He did it to make the announcement exciting for his oldest daughter, who’s five,” she says. “She was more enthralled with the idea of eating blue frosting than the fact that she would have another brother.”

When Christine’s results were ready, no one in her doctor’s office dropped a hint or winked as they handed her the sealed envelope. She took it straight to the bakery of the Wegman’s supermarket in Manalapan and handed it over with strict instructions not to reveal the gender to anyone, not even herself.

“Having the doctor tell me over the phone seemed sort of anticlimactic," she told me. "I wanted to have some sort of fun with it."

Gender-reveal parties have become such a hit that party-supply stores now carry specialized plates, napkins, balloons, paper tablecloths, bunting, you name it. Typically, plates are half blue and half pink, an equal number of pink and blue balloons are included and everything from napkins to bunting are covered with question marks.

Female celebrities have helped spur the trend, cutting into gender-reveal cakes of their own on talk shows and episodes of various food and lifestyle programs.

Jeanne Colleluori, a spokesperson for Wegman’s–the 84-store, Rochester, New York-based chain has seven locations in New Jersey–told me, “Although we don’t track the number of requests, all our stores have received sealed envelopes from a doctor. Our employees really enjoy making these cakes because it connects them with the customer.”

In my family’s little gender-reveal drama, excitement and anticipation reached fever pitch as Christine picked up the cake knife.

In upstate New York, the young nephews were rooting for a boy. When the cake slice was cut and the interior frosting color revealed, they hung their heads and went briefly silent.

Amazing as today’s technology is, there was no way they could be handed a consoling piece of cake with the pink frosting between the layers.

Tim Cook, are you listening?

 

SUZANNE ZIMMER LOWERY is a food writer, pastry chef and culinary instructor at a number of New Jersey cooking schools. Find out more about her at suzannelowery.com.

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