Not too long ago, I threw a baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law. They're expecting their first baby in a month or so and we're all very excited. When I asked to be in charge of the shower and my sister-in-law agreed, I promised her that everything would be totally tasteful except for the cake. The cake would have to be totally trashy and tacky. She whole-heartedly agreed with this plan. And so my search for a bad baby cake began.
I think I came through with flying colors:
More on that cake later...
Confession: I've never been to a baby shower before. I know! How is that even possible? Having no practical experience at such things, I was relieved when they said they didn't want it to be too "baby-shower-y" and so it was co-ed, guys and gals and kids all welcome, come one come all, with beer and burgers on the grill. Excellent. That's my kind of party, no matter what the occasion.
Here are a few of my favorite things that I whipped up for it.
There was a yellow and gray color scheme.
There was the requisite baby shower diaper cake:
It turned out pretty good, yes? Well, honestly, it was kind of a pain in the ass to build. I bought a case of newborn diapers and I am now a total pro at rolling them into somewhat uniform bundles. We set about building the cake and were 99% done when we discovered that we were missing the dozen or so additional diapers we needed to complete the layers. So we took it all apart and re-built it differently. And that time we found we had a dozen or so leftover diapers. We were confounded, but definitely not in the mood to go back to the store for more diapers... so don't tell anyone but inside each layer is a bowl taking up space. We wanted lots of layers to make it especially impressive. Then when I wrapped the ribbon around each layer, I discovered I was a mere inch-and-a-half short on ribbon, so back to the store I went to get another spool.
My mom and I made some great big paper dahlias:
They might not look that big in the photo, but they were the size of family-size pizzas. There's a tutorial here on how to make them. Back when I discovered that tutorial, there weren't many paper dahlias in Google images but they've really gotten popular. There are now photos of dahlias galore. I think I'll make a black one like this one for Halloween this year. Maybe with a spooky skull or something pressed into the center of the flower.
We hung them on their stair railing:
For food, we made a roasted vegetable and goat cheese pasta salad:
And a rainbow Asian slaw:
Some white strawberry sangria (in the punchbowl) and strawberry lemonde (in the big jar):
And there were burgers and beer.
The cake looked even more disturbing after we cut into it. A friend suggested I should have made a red velvet cake to add to the horror when you cut into it.
The red velvet would have been awesome but what I used was this recipe, because it's one of my favorite cakes ever and I'll use any excuse to make it, but also because I needed some solid cake layers that would be strong enough to prop up the baby parts without them slumping. The cake layers in that recipe are more like banana bread than cake, so they're nice and supportive. I attached the doll parts to the cake by inserting wooden chopsticks inside the legs and arms then poked the other end of the sticks into the cake.
I got the baby doll from the thrift store and managed to scare the crap out of a woman at the store. She glanced over at me and I had the naked baby casually clamped by its neck under one of my forearms. She thought for a moment that it was a real baby dangling there and she let out a shriek. Awesome. If she only knew my plans for it. One of the party guests posted a photo of the cake on her facebook page and her grandmother informed her that she did not like the cake. So be forewarned: this cake is not for everyone.
When I got home, my dog Sadie took an instant liking to the doll and kept trying to carry it around the house by one of its arms. But that disturbed my husband so he took it away and hid it until I found the time to dismember it and wash the parts in the dishwasher to get rid of all the kid and shopper and chocolate lab germs:
If you look closely at one of the hands though, you'll see that Sadie managed to chew a few fingers off the doll when I wasn't paying attention. At first, I was thinking I'd have to go back to the thrift store and get another doll but then decided to just go with it.
The cake was a big hit at the party and later on Facebook. So much so that my friend Katie, who now lives in Vermont, asked me for suggestions on how to modify it for her baby's first birthday party. I suggested one of those big "1" wax candles and maybe put a glittery party hat on the doll's head. I mailed her the body parts (I wonder if the post office xrayed the box?) and now they live in Vermont with baby Jaxon: