I think this is one of my most favorite cakes ever. Not because of the flavor combo or anything. It’s just vanilla. A yummy vanilla, but still. Being the first person to know that a mama of two boys is going to have a baby girl is just SO MUCH FUN. Then getting to concoct a 5 tiered-shades of pink-cake to share the news with her and her family. It doesn’t get better than that!
Maggie and Ryan are amazing parents to two wonderful little boys. When I heard the news that they were expecting their third, I may have blurted out, after issuing congratulations, “I can make you a cake for gender reveal!” And tempered it slightly: “you know, if you want.” Maggie graciously mentioned that her mom had offered the same, but then she called a week later saying that her mom wanted to share in the excitement of finding out the gender of baby #3 with the rest of the family.
So I got to be the first person to know! Maggie’s OB office called me while I was at work and revealed the secret. The mama herself didn’t even know. While I know they would have been so excited to have a third boy, something about having a baby girl after two boys is just like icing on the cake.
I scoured the internet for a cake that would be suitable for sharing such exciting news. I looked at “surprise inside” cakes with giant pink hearts inside, only revealed upon cutting the cake. I thought about an interior of frosted hot pink. And then I settled on a pink cake itself. Well, a shades of pink cake. Five shades, in fact.
Then people that were at the gender reveal starting raving about the cake flavor. The simple addition of almond extract can take vanilla white cake to the next level. Topped with a tiny stitches “baby banner”, this cake just made me smile. I think Maggie and Ryan felt the same. Congratulations to the family of 5-to be! “Baby Cutie” is going to be one lucky little girl.
gender reveal cake
adapted from “The Perfect White Cake” to make 5 skinny tiers
halve this recipe for a standard 2-layer cake
5 cups cake flour
2 cups milk, room temperature
12 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
3½ cups sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
3 sticks butter, softened
gel food coloring
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep your cake pans. I only have 3 8″ rounds, so I had to bake these in succession. Cut out circles of parchment to line the bottom of each pan. Spray pan with baking spray (or alternatively, butter and flour).
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of a mixer. Cut butter into Tbsp and add 1 cube at a time on slow speed. Mix for 1-2 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg whites and extracts. Add all but ~½ cup of the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the remainder of the milk and mix for 1 minute.
At this point, separate the batter evenly between 5 mixing bowls. Mix in gel food coloring into each and stir until you’ve achieved the desired color. It’s best to start with a small amount and work your way up.
Pour batter into your prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick test comes out clean. For the skinny cake layers of this cake, 20-30 minutes. (For standard size cake layers, 25-30 minutes).
Allow cake to cool.
for the buttercream
more than enough for 5 skinny tears of cake*
cut the recipe in half (or even a third) for a standard sized cake
3 cups butter (6 sticks), softened
9-12 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp almond extract
3 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
⅓-½ cup milk or cream
In a stand mixer, whip butter on high speed until very fluffy and almost white. Whipping the butter longer will produce a fluffier, lighter frosting that will need less powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar in 2-cup increments until 9 cups have been added. Mix on low, unless you’d like to be completely covered in it. Add in extracts and salt. Mix.
Adjust the consistency of the buttercream. Add in milk to soften for easier spreading and piping. Adjust with additional powdered sugar for a firmer texture.
*This will produce more frosting than necessary to frost and fill this cake. With a gender reveal cake, it’s (obviously) important that NO part of the cake be seen. It’s best to have too much frosting than to realize that you didn’t make enough.
dowel rods (2-3)
First, place a few strips of wax paper around the edges of the cake stand to catch any frosting messiness that is bound to happen while you’re assembling. Next, place the bottom tier on the stand.
Spread a layer of frosting over the bottom layer of cake. Top with layer 2 and repeat through the top layer. Before you frost over the top tier. Snip the ends of the dowel rods so they are even with the top of the cake. Insert the dowels about 1½ inches from the center of the cake. With a whopper of a cake like these, using dowels will help support the structure. You might be able to get away with not using them, but you really want the gender to be revealed when the happy couple cuts into the cake, not when the top tiers slide off onto the floor…
At this point, frost the outside of the cake with a crumb coat of icing. Refrigerate until firm.
Frost the outside of the cake with the final coat. Pipe dots around the top and bottom of the cake.
I also made a tiny little embroidered “baby” banner for the top of this cake. I used straws to secure the banner in place.