Oh, Baby Cakes!

by admin on May 17, 2012


Dear Ms Jeanne,

Is it just me? I cringe at this. People say it’s for the celebration, but it’s just another party for something people do every day, and looks ridiculously attention-seeking and tacky to me. I also was slightly stunned by the commentator who asked her best friend to the scan, where she was told the gender, kept it from the couple then baked a blue cake they cut 3 days later – whaaaaaaaaaat? Your *friend* knew before you and your husband? Your husband was ok with this?

I don’t believe this is a common practice in the States, but it does remind me why I politely declined to have a baby shower (note another commentator having one for her third baby).

Seriously, is it just me? I know not everyone is the same, but it seems so massively in your face, brash, look at MEEEEEEEEE, and depriving the couple of the chance to share a really magical, private moment. Plus I can’t imagine anyone would care that much about the gender of my baby beyond the two of us anyway!

I also think of your grandchild, who was unexpectedly the other gender! Oops!


Interestingly I’ve been watching baby announcements to family on Youtube prior to the OP submitting this.

I think this may just be you (and a few thousand others).  Cutting into a prepared cake to find out the baby’s sex has become another cute way to celebrate a major milestone in a family.    When I’ve seen it, it’s been for family and a few close friends to witness.    These same people have a vested interest in knowing the baby’s sex so the information gets shared one way or another so some choose to do the baby cake reveal.   Other ways have been with appropriately colored helium balloons in a box that is opened.   Friends and family find out the sex of the newest family members and then party it up in celebration.   As long as this does not become yet another gift grab event, I don’t see the harm in whooping it up with family and close friends.  Many of the videos on Youtube are so endearing how the entire family goes wild about the news of a new girl or boy to the extended family.

As for sharing private, magical moments, I think that is really at the discretion of the couple.   In a sense they own the information about the sex of their baby and if they choose to share it in a very public way so that they and everyone else is surprised at the same time then this is their choice.   Some people are private, others would want to share with their families the good news.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Aria May 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I want to join all the people who would prefer this to a traditional baby shower. As long as this isn’t a gift grab, it’s an excellent way to celebrate the second and third babies and have some wonderful looking cake! I will admit, though, this is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. I live in Canada.


Chocobo May 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Er… I’m with Bint/OP on this one. I’m an American and I will take a pass on this idea, so there’s evidence against the cultural divide idea. But then, I find passing around ultrasound pictures invasive while others are posting them on Facebook (!), so take my opinion for what you will. That said, I don’t see too much harm in it if people want to do this, hammy as it is.

But in general, the trend towards making every minutiae of one’s life into a fiesta-worthy milestone IS starting to get cringe-worthy, if not downright irritating.


Roslyn May 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Any reason to gather and eat a well made cake is a good reason to gather!!



Wendy Geoghan May 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I live in the U.S. and have never heard of this kind of party. It is definitely not something that all Americans are doing.


Cat Whisperer May 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I gotta add: as a general philosophy, I am in favor of any event, occasion, celebration, or social gathering that means someone will give me a slice of cake.


Mary May 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Missy, your quote “I should say that Americans don’t “have” tacky and cheesy celebrations. We import them: Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s day, and Christmas trees and Easter eggs for that matter. I’ll own it and we’re always looking for more.”

Yes, these holidays might have started elsewhere, but the way they are celebrated now are completely American. St. Patrick’s Day was always a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation and the bars were closed. We Americans have turned it into what it is now. The same is true with Cinco de Mayo. If you google it, you will find that it was only celebrated in a small area of Mexico and it became an adopted celebration for Mexican immigrants in the United States. There is nothing wrong with our celebrations, but we have changed the holiday celebrations.


Marna May 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

What the heck? AMERICANS have cheesy celebrations? We had to learn it from SOMEBODY


Cat May 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I don’t think the Brits have much about which to criticize us Americans. Who puts knitted “hats” on their boiled eggs to keep them warm, can’t cook (ever been to a fine English restaurant in this country?) and pronounces Thames as “Tims”?
It was their German Prince Albert who decided they should celebrate the birth of Christ by bringing a tree into the house. We just followed suit. And they burn a likeness of Guy Faulkes to “celebrate” his not blowing up Parliament. That’s just weird.
A British friend of mine was speaking about the Catholic celebration of Mary as the Queen of Heaven. She sniffed, “I suppose you Americans cannot understand having a Queen of Heaven when you don’t have a queen in your country.” I replied, “We have no problem understanding having a Queen of Heaven. It’s having a queen on earth that we don’t understand.”


Angel May 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned, but whatever happened to finding out in the delivery room when the baby makes an appearance? To me there is no happier surprise than that–especially for a first baby. I think that the cake cutting or cupcake surprise would be really cute if an older sibling were involved. That would be a really sweet way to let them know if they are getting a little brother or sister. But to make a production of it–no.


Bint May 18, 2012 at 12:45 am

“Who puts knitted “hats” on their boiled eggs to keep them warm, can’t cook (ever been to a fine English restaurant in this country?) and pronounces Thames as “Tims”?”

Have you ever been to England? Nobody puts hats on their eggs. The ‘English people can’t cook’ is as silly as saying all Americans are obese and eat junk food all day – whilst there is some dreadful food on offer, particularly in tourist traps, we have many amazing English restaurants (although our food hasn’t generally been exported), and the river is pronounced Tems. It’s also Guy Fawkes.

Please note my post did not support the pathetic American-bashing in the Mail, so I don’t think that emulating their racism is useful. The Mail hates everyone outside England (and quite a few people in it). Please don’t let an etiquette board go the same way


Kira May 18, 2012 at 1:02 am

I actually thought it was a cute idea. I haven’t had a baby yet, but have seen all sort of friends reveal in so many different ways. One told facebook straight after the first time she knew. The other extreme was my friend having her baby (full term) 4 days after announcing she was expecting. I can see such cake idea done in other such ways. For those who don’t want the party but like the idea. I can just think of how intimate sending little cakes to the loved ones with the same way for those who can’t be with you. Also see how romantic doing that for your husband at some stage. Whatever suits you, I just like the idea of using a cake to surprise like that party of not.


Tanz May 18, 2012 at 1:48 am

I have a problem with this kind of behavior – not because it’s tacky so much but because more and more we’re being expected to shell out cash for a party every time something changes in our lives. And it’s not enough to make a cake and ask everyone to bring a plate; if you don’t *buy* your (expensive) designer-cake it’s just not a party and pot luck means you’re being rude. Gender reveal parties, the originally-American idea of ‘showers’, engagement parties, graduation parties, having a party for your child’s birthday *every* year and inviting the entire class! etc., etc.,… it’s not about celebrating milestones it’s about celebrating conspicuous consumption.

(I’m from New Zealand FWIW.)


Alazne May 18, 2012 at 3:16 am

Apologies to those of you in the US offended by the tone of the article – it is in the Daily Mail, which over here is often called the Daily Wail or the Daily Fail for its take on things, which is generally pretty much that immigrants/foreigners/politicians/people on benefits have ruined Britain, and that everything causes cancer (check out the Daily Mail Style Guide on twitter for an idea).

The only other thing I can think of for their reasoning is that a lot of people (particularly older people) are of the mindset that it’s bad luck to celebrate/buy anything for a baby until it’s safely born.


Syd May 18, 2012 at 6:46 am

What Margo said- the Mail will find any excuse to generalise and then on with the bashing. Their attitude to the US is a little confused, however; they get a lot of their online traffic from North America, so in some aspects they increasingly pander to it (randomly using US English in odd contexts, although that could also be an effect of their penchant for copy+paste plagiarism), whilst attempting to preserve their traditionalist credentials by being snide about Americans. They only really succeed in winding up everyone (although a third possibility could be outrage clickbait, or the result of getting a rousing transatlantic bunfight going in the comments).

But anyone who says I can’t cook ‘cos I’m British? Them’s fightin’ words. 😀
But I’m not posh enough for egg hats, and we don’t all support the Queen. Course, I’m not really posh enough for the Daily Mail either.


Chocobo May 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

I will speak up as an American and agree with Bint and Syd — Cat, your comments about the United Kingdom were out of line. The Daily Mail is a sensationalist tabloid and blaming their ridiculous commentary on all British citizens is unfair, as is your making fun of others’ cultural traditions and holidays.

I also agree with Angel — I’m surprised at how important finding out the sex of the baby as early as possible is becoming. Besides myself I do not know of a single person in recent years who has waited or wants to wait to find out the sex of their baby until the delivery. Partially I blame retailers — gender-specific clothing from infancy is all one can really buy anymore. To be honest, I find it rather unsettling.


The Elf May 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

A real transatlantic bunfight would be AWESOME. I must find a way to start one.


Enna May 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

One poseter in a pervious story described the Daily Mail I think as the “Devil’s toliet paper”. I think he/she is right. It maybe a bit cheesy to have a cake but I don’t see the harm in it.


Enna May 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

@ Ferrittrick – why did you just stop the conversation and avoid the couple in the future? Seems a bit harsh to me unless the couple were really really rude.


Stephanie May 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I had to comment on this one. I am currently 27 weeks pregnant, and did something similar when we found out what we are having. I did have my husband, stepson, and mom with me during the ultrasound, but we wanted a fun way to tell my in-laws. After my appointment, I bought a small grocery store cake and had “It’s a Boy” written in frosting. We went to my husband’s parent’s house for a nice family dinner, and had the cake for dessert. We did keep it covered until our “big reveal”. I thought it was so much more fun than a phone call to my MIL, telling her the news. No gifts were exchanged, no fancy designer cake, just a family celebrating good news with good cake!


Library Diva May 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I’m surprised at how many people think we over-celebrate these days. I’ve often thought we under-celebrate, that contraptions like TV and the Internet have served to keep people apart because they’re less likely to want to go out when “Modern Family” is on.

Personally, I love the idea of a “gender reveal” party with the colored cake. I’d add my voice to the chorus of Americans affirming that it’s not a widespread practice here by any standards. I’ve only heard about them through the internet, but I do like the idea. While I didn’t read the original article, I would also sort of affirm that we in America DO enjoy “cheesy, weird celebrations,” but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a culture of people that enjoy gathering to have fun. In addition to all of the major and minor celebrations, most communities in America make their own via “Community Days,” “Old Home Days,” “Day in the Park,” “Fireman’s Muster,” “Founder’s Day,” or various food and flower festivals. The days when you cared for your neighbor or you didn’t survive loom large in American memory, I think, and maybe this is one of the vestiges of that.


Elle May 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Isn’t the Daily Mail the equivalent of the National Enquirer? I wouldn’t take anything they said about “tacky Americans” even remotely seriously. They saw how much traffic they got from Samantha Brick’s article about how she’s discriminated against for being a beautiful woman and are hoping to drum up another viral sensation by getting people all riled up again.


Bint May 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm

May I add that I have been to the cheese rolling listed by a previous poster, along with taking part in the World Tin Bath Championships, the Viking Longboat Rowing Competition and a welly boot throwing competition.

And the Queen came to my offices the other week and we hung out of the windows to see her and wave along with the thousands of tourists and local people. It was fun. She had the King’s Troop and their guns on the lawn, with her Jubilee barge on the Thames alongside. Golden oars. Nice.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I am cooking chicken stuffed with wild mushrooms in Madeira sauce with Kentish asparagus to an English recipe, and then having bacon, eggs, potato scones, bangers and black pudding for Sunday breakfast. Who says we can’t cook?


Emmy May 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I refuse to believe any celebration centered around eating cake is going to be a bad idea. I also had to google egg hats and I now what to put adorable hats on my eggs.

Because I am cheesy and weird. Those are my default personality settings. I’m also American, that’s just because of being born here. I’d be just as cheesy and weird had I been born elsewhere.


FunkyMunky May 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Do you think they’d be less popular if they used the correct word and called them a ‘sex reveal party’, or more popular?


Tempestt May 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I haven’t had any children yet but I’m the type that likes to plan and be prepared. SO knowing the sex of the baby would be on my list so i can start planning on what kind of clothes i want, what colors i want to use, what names to focus on, what kind of things i will need to do before the baby is born. I like the idea of a reveal party over a baby shower. Mostly because I don’t like surprises, I’m very bad with surprises.
I guess it is just me but knowing the sex of my child is important to me before the birth. I will need to figure out another way to incorporate the cake since not alot of people in my family eat cake…maybe cupcakes would be nice.


Sugaryfun May 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I would think it becomes a bit of a gimme pig thing if the gender reveal party is a whole separate thing that guests are expected to bring gifts to, but just as a gimmick at the baby shower- sure, why not? It’s not something I’d do myself- I didn’t want to know the sex of my babies until they were born, even going so far as to request to be allowed to see for myself rather than have someone tell me at the birth- but if a couple wants to do it that way it’s up to them.


Vicki May 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

As long as the parents aren’t pressured into this, it’s fine: a dozen years ago, a coworker of mine was having a baby. She either hadn’t been told the baby’s sex, or didn’t want to tell people she wasn’t close to. Another coworker was pressing her, and the pregnant woman seemed relieved when I said “the important thing is that it’s a baby.” Which is true for most people even if they’re having a party like this (and the rest are best off not making a big deal about wanting a boy/girl, because if they get the one they weren’t loudly wishing for, sooner or later someone will tell the child about it).

Beyond that, the article in question is from the Daily Fail, the paper that notoriously got a pediatrician hounded out of town because they couldn’t tell the difference between “pediaetrician” and “paedophile.” And speaking as an occasional visitor, English cooking is a lot better than most non-English people think (even if you don’t like the Indian-style dishes).


Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm

@Tanz–Gender reveal parties don’t need to be hugely expensive. If a couple can’t afford to host a meal, and don’t want to be “rude” by having a potluck (which, by the way, isn’t rude unless it’s a bait-and-switch kind of deal, as in, you make it clear that the event is a potluck, rather than revealing this information only after an affirmative RSVP), then it’s like anything–they simply don’t have the party at a meal time. It could be an afternoon tea party (so, gender reveal cake, tea, and maybe tiny sandwiches and/or fruit), a dessert-and-coffee party (self-explanatory), or whatever. Oh, and yes, it’s perfectly fine to have a homemade or grocery-store cake instead of a designer one, because the pink or blue cake is merely a symbol of the new life to come. I’ve seen these things on YouTube, and they’ve run the gamut from huge, catered affairs, to the couple simply opening up an envelope while Skyping with relatives.

FunkyMunky–“Sex reveal” is actually the more proper term, because sex is biological, but gender is a social/psychological/emotional construct. So, while the sex of the baby may be revealed at birth, or at the sonogram, nobody will know what gender role the child will identify with, until that child is old enough to decide/figure it out for him-or-herself. I know this sounds crazy, but I went to elementary school with a girl (let’s call her Sally), and she grew up to be a female-to-male transgender. I also used to know someone who was biologically female, but her gender identity varied from day to day. But, of course, nobody really wants to think of that when they’re cutting the cake, which is why we still do the pink and blue thing.

Tempestt–Cake isn’t a requirement for gender reveal parties. You could release pink or blue helium balloons from a plain white box, you could have the guests wear T-shirts in pink or blue, depending on what sex they think the baby will be, and then have the friend who knows wear the appropriate colour, and layer a white T-shirt on top, which would be removed for the big reveal. Or, if the couple finds out early, and wants to surprise their friends, they could decorate for the party in the appropriate colour, surprise their friends that way. Or, they could do a pinata filled with streamers/confetti/foil-wrapped candies of the appropriate colour. Really, the possibilities are endless……and, I almost forgot to mention that there’s always the option of an ice cream cake.

Anyway, I’m off my soapbox now–I used to major in Gender Studies, and I have a lot of experience planning events–some paid, most volunteer. But, my point is, reveal parties come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets, and none of them that I’ve seen have been gift-giving events either, so it’s not a shake-down.


Lambzig May 21, 2012 at 4:34 am

I am with Bint and the OP on this, I really dont like the idea and find it a bit tacky. I am from the UK so maybe its a cultural thing. After all, it wouldn’t have made the newspaper (and as it is in the Daily Mail I use the term newspaper very loosely) here, if they didnt think it was a bit weird or contraversial.

I am pregnant at the moment and I do find the whole idea of celebrating anything to do with the baby before it is born really uncomfortable, so baby showers or this sort of thing is definitely out of the question. For me definitely finding out the sex at the birth is the fun way to do things and very important for me and DH. Too much like opening your Christmas presents early.

Bint has said it all on defending the UK, but I did giggle at the ‘hats on eggs’ things. Where did Cat get that one from?


Shea May 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

I’m not from the UK (I’m in Canada), but I think this is kind of fun, actually. If that’s how the parents-to-be want to celebrate their impending parenthood and have a party with their friends and family, I don’t see a problem.


Jay May 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm

@Anon ” ”Sex reveal” is actually the more proper term, because sex is biological, but gender is a social/psychological/emotional construct. So, while the sex of the baby may be revealed at birth, or at the sonogram, nobody will know what gender role the child will identify with, until that child is old enough to decide/figure it out for him-or-herself. ”

“Gender” is a perfectly good term, and “sex” is more of an activity than an attribute. What you’re talking about is gender IDENTITY. It’s not a “gender identity reveal” party, so everything’s copacetic.

(and if “gender” wasn’t the appropriate term, then “identifying with a gender” would make no sense at all)


Enna May 22, 2012 at 4:34 am

If I was going to have a baby I might not do this myself but I do like the idea of getting some nice cake and some firends and family around.


Cj May 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I do not find this rude, as long as this is not a pre baby shower, with gifts. My bestfriend did this for her second child. She had the Dr’s office write the sex in an envolope and had the bakery ladies make a cake with pink/blue on the inside and not tell the parents. It was a very cute family celebration. It was also a chance for everyone to find out the sex at one time, due to work she had to go to every Dr’s appt by herself or with me. I do not understand how anyone could find this rude. We then had her baby shower 6 weeks before her due date and set everything up in pink. She did not have a baby shower with the first and it was an opps, so she did not keep any of the other kids baby stuff. I think this is an awesome idea!!! I hope more people start doing this!


Library Diva May 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I think if they referred to it as a “sex reveal party,” people might get the wrong idea…


Treeang May 30, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I don’t think it is that bad at all. It’s a fun way to share news and it doesn’t seem to be a gift grab.

I’m sure some of you would have thought my husband and I were nuts. With our second and third child, my best friend was the only one who knew the gender (besides the u/s tech). For the second child, she was there during the u/s and, with our permission, stepped into the hall to be told what we were having. For the third child, we had the tech write it on a card and seal it in an envelope which we sent to my BF. We didn’t want to know what the sex of the baby was, but she, since she lived far away, wanted to feel like she was part of the whole adventure. It was her job to pick out the coming home outfit for the baby and, in the case of our second child, she ordered M&Ms with Congratulations! and the baby’s name in the correct colors. It was kind of fun playing along with her as she dropped “hints”.

To each his own, I suppose. My DH was adamant about not knowing and I was fine with that.


Kitty June 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Eeep. In all honesty, I’m one of the people who’s still squicked out at the idea of a baby shower. It’s just not something that’s done in my peer group. The idea of a baker knowing the sex of my baby before me or my husband? that’s just wrong for me. I don’t understand how finding out by cutting a cake is so much better than the sonographer telling and showing you the sex of your baby. For me, it’s a strange idea and I can’t imagine ever wanting it myself, but it’s certainly a good commercial idea and will be the right thing for some couples to do- if it’s right for you, then go for it.


justme June 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm

My initial reaction to this link/post was “ewww–dyed sponge cake? gross!”
I dunno, I guess it’s just one of those cute things people do to make baby showers interesting (sure beats making your guests eat baby food and guess the flavor–ugh).
And not finding out the baby’s sex until after everyone’s bought gifts at least ensures you won’t end up with mountains of light blue/pink baby clothes that all look pretty much the same, so that’s a good thing (a friend of mine knew she was having a boy, but she had a “no blue” shower so she would at least get some creative clothing options–I thought that was pretty clever).


erica September 10, 2012 at 12:21 am

I’m american.
I have no issue with one more reason to eat cake.
Yay Americans for coming up with another reason!


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