Most baby shower cakes are bathed in soft pastels and highlight loopy script, baby animal decorations, or toys. While there's nothing wrong with choosing a conventional design for a shower cake, it can be exciting to break the mold on a special occasion and buy or decorate a dessert that's truly unique.
Unique Cake Ideas
Peas in a Pod Cake
You'll need green fondant to decorate a peapod cake. Form pods and tiny peas from the fondant, then make tiny baby heads or baby bodies that are just a little bit bigger than the peas. Tuck a baby into each peapod among the peas on a big cake or on each cupcake.
A diaper cake is far from conventional, but it can be a lot of fun! If you have a jelly roll pan, you can bake lots of very thin white cake layers, coat them with white frosting, roll them up, and arrange them in a stack to look like a pyramid of baby diapers.
A rattle cake is partially a sphere or ball cake that is connected to a long line of frosting or a thin, narrow cake layer. You can also make rattle cupcakes by baking tiny spheres or topping traditional cupcakes with fondant rattles.
Footprint or Handprint Cake
This sweet cake idea features tiny fondant footprints or handprints to resemble the prints that new parents are able to take home from the hospital. With a cut-out or fondant cutter, it's easier to make a print cake than a more ambitious design, since far less work is involved. For cupcakes, simply make tinier prints and use them to top each small cake.
One more fun shower cake design features a baby in a bubbly tub. The bubbly effect is simple to create with layers of light buttercream frosting or whipped cream, and the star attraction can be either a small fondant baby or a collection of rubber duckies.
Pregnant Belly Cake
A belly cake sticks up in the big oval shape of a pregnant tummy. Most often, it includes the full torso with the bust above the belly. Some belly cakes are covered with flesh-colored frosting, but it's most common to get the sheeting effect of a T-shirt or thin robe by overlaying the cake with fondant frosting.
It's tough to make a standing, bottle-shaped cake unless you're a very experienced decorator, but it's a fun alternative to more traditional choices. Try coating the cake in white fondant and using a pastel-colored nozzle for the bottle.
Instead of using white plastic pillars or dowels to keep a multilayer cake stable, use them to build the walls of a crib. The rectangular bottom of the crib can be the actual cake, with a fondant baby on top.
Treasure Box Cake
Instead of a jack-in-the-box, debut a baby-in-the-box! This cake design is a basic cube frosted in buttercream or fondant to look like a wrapped gift, with a baby's head poking out. Step-by-step instructions are available from Wilton.
Buying or making a unique cake requires some organization up front. You'll need to create a budget, determine the size of the cake, plan the design if you're baking on your own, and find a bakery if you aren't. Unusual cakes and cakes with a lot of detail command higher prices and greater time commitments than more typical desserts, so be prepared to shell out extra for what you're asking. Give yourself plenty of time, whether you're baking or hiring someone else to do it. A bakery needs advance notice of several weeks or more for specialty cake requests.
Paying someone else to decorate a unique cake can leave your wallet a lot thinner, so it's worth thinking about the possibility of making the cake yourself. Complex cake decorating is not easy, but some dedicated time, investment, and practice are all it takes to come up with a product that looks professional. If you've never attempted the cake you want to make, do a practice one first. It can also help to take a cake decorating class to learn some basic techniques.
Baby Shower Cupcakes
One way to buck tradition at a baby shower is to bring cupcakes instead of a full-sized cake. Try decorating each cupcake to look like a baby face or topping plain cupcakes with fondant baby animals, fondant bugs, pastel flowers, or shower-themed decorations. Instead of cupcakes, you could also make petit fours in the shape and style of blocks.
Your Own Design
Although it's not hard to call a bakery and order a shower cake, consider going the extra mile and thinking creatively to come up with a design. Even if you're not up to producing the cake yourself, an especially unique design will get much more attention at a shower and can be far more fun for a mother-to-be.