By Sara Boyd, WCCO
For years, cake has served as the pinnacle of all of life’s momentous occasions. A child marks another year older by successfully blowing out the candles adorned on a perfectly decorated birthday cake. A new graduate makes the transition from one stage of life to another with a cake honoring their vast achievements.
Yes, the décor of frosting and icing has always been the star of the show, encapsulating life’s best moments and elegantly articulating them in sugary cursive. That is, until recently.
Move over icing gels and stencils, bakeries across the nation are proving it’s what’s inside that truly counts. And that’s no exception here in Minnesota. A local bakery in Edina is flipping the methods of message — putting the news inside the cake, rather than on top. They call them “baby reveal cakes” and they’re magical enough to make owner Terri Leckas feel like a fairy godmother.
The idea is admittedly quite simple. An expecting couple heads to the doctor to find out whether their life is about to be full of pink or blue. The doctor makes the proper determination, but instead of revealing the news right then and there, they put the results in a sealed envelope. That envelope then goes straight to the baker, Liz Mauricio, at Queen of Cakes in Edina.
Mauricio said it’s a special moment each time she rips the envelope open and finds out one of life’s greatest surprises.
“That’s their joy, that’s their life right there,” she said. “When they see that, that’s priceless. It really is. There’s no words for it. It’s wonderful.”
Mauricio gets right to work, making the correct dye (pink or blue) that she’ll mix into the cake batter. It admittedly took a bit of perfecting — the first batches came out “a bit neon,” she says — but now, she’s got it down to a science. Once the pink or blue cake comes out of the oven, it gets a thick layer of frosting, making sure what’s inside is perfectly masked. A few rubber duckies here and a couple colorful question marks there and it’s off to the parents.
The expecting couple then cuts into their first slice of cake and finally discovers what bundle of joy they’ll be adding to their family. Just like that, one of life’s greatest surprises is now one of the most delicious.
In between making magic in the bakery, Leckas sat down to talk with us about how the process began and what it’s like playing fairy godmother.
So where did you get the idea for baby reveal cakes?
Leckas: The baby cake idea was born — well, that baby had her first birthday recently. A gal came to see us and she had an idea. I don’t know if it was an original idea from her but her idea was she wanted to reveal the gender of her baby at a party with her friends and family by having a cake made either pink or blue. She brought in her results of her ultrasound and we were able to open them up in the privacy of the bakery — all of us huddled around. It was our baby too, at that point.
Leckas: Yeah, her friends and family saw the cake and talked about it and either her nurse practitioner or midwife helped to tell other moms about it. So other moms would call and wanted to do the same thing. We do probably two or three cakes a week. And it’s all been word of mouth. We didn’t advertise it at all. And it just kind of took off.
What do you think about this niche — the baby reveal cake niche — that’s been created?
Leckas: It’s gotten a lot of attention. It’s a lot of fun for us. Not all of us are moms but we have a special place in our hearts for this. It’s always fun and exciting. It’s definitely an estrogen-run bakery — it’s all girls. It’s almost like a baby shower all the time. Everyone gets kind of sucked into all the orders and all the people that order the cakes. We get to know them and they’re part of our family here.
Have you ever had to make a cake for twins?
Leckas: Nope, no twins yet. But they’ll get a free (cake) if they do. We actually thought we had twins once. (Leckas said an employee once received an ultrasound for an order for a baby reveal cake and inside, there was a blue swatch and a pink swatch. The young employee stared at the expectant mother with wide eyes for a while before grabbing someone else to confirm her initial thought that the woman was having twins and may not know it. After a quick scan of the ultrasound, Leckas pointed out the top of the results where it says “girl.” She said the young intern thought she actually had to make a determination of the gender by examining the photo of the ultrasound.)
Have you ever accidentally sent a family a blue cake when they were actually having a girl?
Leckas: No, but that’s my worst fear. I’ll triple check orders, just because I’m paranoid of that.
Do you make more blue cakes or pink cakes?
Leckas: We have a lot more girls than boys.
How does it feel to have a hand in such an exciting announcement for a couple?
Leckas: Oh gosh, I remember when my kids were born, we didn’t have the advantage of being able to find out if it was a boy or a girl. You know, he popped out and it was three he’s for me. But it’s really a fun feeling. I just remember knowing we were having a son and just to be able to share that over and over again with the next new couple that comes in the door, the next set of young, new parents … when you know those people are on the threshold of their life as a family, it’s a huge thing.
So it’s not just the cake maker in you that enjoys it, it’s the mother in you as well?
Leckas: I think cakes are just my way to connect with the world. If I wasn’t serving cake, I’d be serving something. It just happen to be that I was good with cake. It’s my way to connect.
It’s been a year since Leckas and her crew began these baby reveal cakes, but the popularity only seems to grow. The bakery was even recognized for their cake surprises in the May issue of Food Network Magazine. Leckas estimates they probably do about 100 of these cakes a year.
Queen of Cakes Bakery is located at 7027 Amundson Ave., in Edina. For more information about baby cakes, visit their website or call 952-942-7628.