Coolest Mystery Cake Soiree Baby Shower
by Jacquie Donaghy
(Lansdale, PA )
Coolest Mystery Cake Soiree
My sister told me about the latest new craze: a Mystery Cake to find out the sex of your unborn baby and I thought "why not? Any reason to celebrate is a wonderful reason!". And that is how the "Coolest Mystery Cake Soiree" was born.
My daughter, Jen and her partner, Peter were eager to learn the sex of their first baby, our second grandchild. I discussed the idea of a fancy soiree on a summer night in August with my husband and soon I began getting ready for the party. ( For the baby's actual party see "coolest Autumn Monkey Green Shower, dated Oct 29, 2011)
I made tasteful invitations (white card stock, ripped to look Old World,
With a strip of silver glitter across the middle, and a single red flower glued to the front. White taffeta tied at the top completed the look and hold the card together. It read:
“An elegant affair and a mystery revealed!
Please join Jen and Peter as they cut the cake
To find out whether we are welcoming a baby boy of
blue or a sweet pink baby girl to the family.
Semi-dress code, please. Adults Only”
Our pertinent party information was at the top.
I knew I wanted this to be fancy. I envisioned myself in a black dress with pearls
serving food from silver plates and drinking wine out of crystal wine glasses. I came very close.
I chose our paver stone patio in the back of our house for the party. It is very long and wide and I knew this would be an amazing site. I spent two months getting the yard perfect and stringing lights around the pool area, hanging jars with sand and candles from the trees, and decorating pickle jars with sand and rope to use for all the tables. Our only light would be candle light, the lights at the pool and fire flies in the yard. I was so excited!
The candle decoration...
I decided to collect wooden chairs of every type and size from free cycle (www.freecycle.org) and paint them in the colors I had chosen for the soiree and then later the baby shower: yellow, rusty red and a pretty orange. The baby shower would be in October so these were perfect autumn colors. We had twenty close family members coming. That meant I would need to rent two long tables. I bought two elegant paper table cloths from the party shop, white on white, a lace look. The center pieces for the tables were my clear pyrex bowls for storing food with flowers from my garden floating in water. I was lucky enough to find flower candles, yellow and orange (!) at a local rummage sale for fifty cents. That was perfect!
I spent weeks on freecycle and at thrift stores looking for wine glasses. I would spend no more than a dollar each for them. In the end I had gotten twenty eight glasses! I knew I could use the extras on the table with sand and candles. Flower confetti in reds, yellows, oranges and blue I found at the party shop and they looked nice scattered on the tables.
I bought Rusty red, plain fabric and an orange fabric with red squiggle-like patterns and made 10 napkins from each type. Then I took toilet paper rolls and cut them in half. On each half I glued a different fabric around it. I had white flowers left over from a wedding gift I made four years ago and I glued one to each fabric mini tube. These were the napkin rings. (We use these napkins everyday) To accompany the napkins, I made name tags for seating with a fancy old-world script. Using my decorative scissor I cut out green card stock and glued it to a yellow back ground which I crimped with different scissor.
Here is our baby shower table...
The menu was simple yet sophisticated. I would make Jen’s favorite meals and add a few pinches of things I picked up along the years.
First course: A dollop of rainbow sherbet to cleanse the pallet. (A friend gave me 25 tiny plastic champagne glasses left over from her wedding. I tied thin blue and pink ribbon around the base of each glass. Our guests thought it was a wonderful way to begin our meal!)
Second Course: Butter Lettuce salad with carrots, cucumbers, olives (for Peter!) with Champagne Dressing. (I originally wanted rose petal dressing but found out too late that you need to make it more than a week in advance)
Main Courses: Chicken Picatta with capers and lemon. (such a simple yet fantastic meal, my most requested at parties and I don’t eat chicken!)
Spinach Lasagna rolls with homemade sauce (Instead of the lasagna laying flat down, I roll each one with filling and stand it upright in the sauce. Quite visually pleasing!)
Sides: Baked Potato Bar with your choice of bacon, fresh chives, butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese or salsa (A huge hit!)
Silver Queen Corn with butter and Old Bay seasoning. (usually reserved for sea foods)
Dessert: Slice of mystery cake served with fresh in-season berries and lemon-kissed, homemade whipped cream.
Drinks: your choice of white wine, homemade sangria, iced tea, water or fruit juice.
All I needed was something to put this great meal on. I spent weeks on freecycle looking for mismatched plates and silverware to go with the wine glasses. No luck. I couldn’t find enough to serve twenty guests anywhere. I had asked my neighbor next door to come take photos as she used to work as a photographer at the mall. She was delighted AND she solved my serving dilemma! Her mother happened to have serving for FORTY in her attic of white on white Christmas dishes! My party was saved! I bought very pretty, silver-lookalike plastic ware at the party shop and I was just about ready to go…
What’s a party without Favors?! I bought two bags each of the Pink and Blue foil wrapped Hershey kisses. I took my white card stock from the invitations and glued baby shower paper left over from my son’s shower on the paper and made twenty triangle boxes. Inside, I put two of each color kiss and sealed the boxes with yellow and green ribbon that matched the baby shower paper. They were easy to make and adorable! In front of the boxes I placed a stork photo holder. On the left side were some baby pictures of Peter and on the right baby pictures of Jen. In the middle I put a question mark on a piece of paper and put it directly in the middle. So cute!
Now all we needed was the mystery cake itself! Four days before the party, Jen, Peter and I went to the hospital for a sonogram. We asked the technician NOT to tell us the result. We provided her with a paper that said “Boy Girl” and asked her to circle one once she was sure and seal it tight into an envelope. That envelope was taken directly to the bakery. We instructed the baker NOT to tell us but to make the inside of the cake pink for a girl or blue for a boy. We would pick it up an hour before the party. We were SO excited!
Here is the baker's rack...
Our cake. Pink and blue question marks surround a black question mark
LONG story short Hurricane Irene did NOT like my plans for an outside party at all! We quickly decided to have the party inside the day before. Family members that work or live far away began to cancel. My husband, Jen’s dad was kept at work out of state as was his dad, Jen’s grandfather. Our party of twenty quickly became our party of ten. Our semi-dress idea flew out the window as people showed up in jeans and t shirts soaked to the bone. We moved everything inside (moving furniture to other rooms for our rented tables. We also had to abandon our beautiful wooden chairs and go with smaller rented chairs). BUT. It still looked amazingly gorgeous as we turned out all the lights and used nothing but candle light. (I took the ten extra wine glasses and used sand and tea lights to light my baker’s rack behind the guests).
We decided two hours before the party to push it forward an hour so guests could get home faster and safely. (good thing, the power went out just as the last one left!)
While the storm raged fast and furious outside, ten of us were safe and warm, together to celebrate a very special and loving moment. You can see by the photos that we are expecting (any day now as of this writing) the birth of our newest grandson, Grayson George! (Don’t let the photos fool you. My grandson, Eli is thrilled. Not because his cousin is a boy. He thought the blue cake meant BATMAN. Hahaha)
And that’s how you throw the Coolest Mystery Cake Soiree baby shower!