Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Cake decorator at The Baking Grounds Bakery Caley McCaslin cuts into a sample gender revealing strawberry pound cake at the Suwanee bakery Wednesday. Increasing in popularity these specialty cakes are used to unveil the sex of the unborn baby to the parents. A strawberry pound cake with pink inside signifies a girl and a blue velvet signifies a boy.
Boy or girl?
Gender reveal parties are becoming a popular trend for parents-to-be. It’s a surprise party for friends and families, who find out the sex of the unborn baby together.
• The party revolves around the cutting of a cake. If the interior is pink, it’s a girl. Blue, it’s a boy.
• This isn’t just for the ladies. The men are equally involved in the festivities.
There are many ways to throw this type of party. Here are a few places to find ideas:
Melissa Ridgeway of Suwanee didn't want to know the sex of her first baby until it was born. Her husband, Collin, on the other hand wanted to know as soon as possible.
After the flip of a coin, Collin won.
The compromise: a gender reveal party.
Think of it as another reason to celebrate -- a new type of surprise party for the parents of unborn babies. Instead of finding out the gender of a baby at the doctor's office, couples opt to keep it a secret from themselves.
An ultrasound technician places the baby's results in a sealed envelope, which is then given to a bakery where a cake is designed to reveal the gender with colors -- the interior of a cake pink for a girl and blue for a boy. The outside of the dessert is covered in frosting to keep the surprise.
The Ridgeways held their soiree this past December with 30 friends and family.
"The compromise was that we would find out in a fun way with family and friends rather than in the doctor's office with goo all over myself," Melissa Ridgeway said. "It was the best of both worlds."
When people arrived to the party, each guest made their gender guess -- and everyone wore either pink or blue. After mingling, eating and chatter, it was time to cut the cake.
"And the cake was blue," Ridgeway said. "We had the name picked out the next day. Since it was a boy it was a lot easier, because we liked plenty of boys names. I think I also bought the bedding that weekend, too."
This type of party is a hot trend, gaining popularity around the country.
"The gender reveal party trend has exploded in the last year," BabyCenter.com's community manager Rebecca Michals wrote on the company's site. "People are looking for reasons to celebrate."
Other parents have bought pink and blue food, asked the guests to pick teams, Sykped the event and even posted it to YouTube. There is almost always a cake involved with the reveal.
And the folks at the Baking Grounds Bakery are happy with that.
The Suwanee bakery, which built its business making traditional wedding cakes, has made its fair share of gender reveal cakes in the past year.
"Sometimes we have three in a week, then we may not have any, but they are pretty common," owner Melinda McCaslin said.
Parents-to-be, future grandparents or siblings are usually the ones to drop off the concealed ultrasound to the bakery. The inside of the girl cakes are pink (strawberry) and the boys are blue (white cake dyed blue), and the designs range from pink and blue dots to a baby's bottom to a wrapped present.
"It's not uncommon to bring in swatches and themes for the nursery, like Winnie the Pooh," McCaslin said.
According to the baker, gender reveal parties have only become popular in the past year. The first time she received the confidential information and instructions, she was thrilled at the chance.
"I thought it was a cool idea," McCaslin said. "It's exciting being a part of this thing because we get to know the gender of the baby before the parents."
The idea of giving this type of information to a stranger may seem odd to an outsider, but Collin Ridgeway was up to the task.
"He took care of everything for the cake," Melissa said. "He was in charge, knew what to do and had no problem asking the baker. That was OK with me."
If the Ridgeways have another child, there probably won't be another gender reveal party -- or at least, not of the same magnitude as their first.
"I would say no, but you never know," Melissa said. "It was a fun way to have a surprise and to know. Maybe it won't be such a big party, just family only."
The Ridgeways are expecting their baby boy on April 15.