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Cute-as-a-button baby shower cakes

Savvy baby shower hosts can save a bundle on party costs just by making the shower cake themselves—but homemade confections have come a long way from the old days of simple single layer frosting designs. Here are some tips and tricks to help make cute and creative baby shower cakes that are sure to please party guests and the expecting mom-to-be.

1. Use fondant.
One of the easiest ways to class up a homemade cake is by using fondant icing instead of traditional creamy spreads. This useful product gives a smooth base that can be decorated or left plain and will still look amazing. For a homemade fondant that tastes like butter cream frosting, mix 1 cup shortening with 1 cup of light corn syrup, ½ (one-half) a teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract. Gradually add in 2 pounds of confectioners' sugar and stir until the mixture is smooth. Let the bowl of icing cool in the refrigerator until needed and roll it flat with a rolling pin on a floured surface before applying to cake.

2. Get creative.
You can use all kinds of objects to decorate a cake - frosting shouldn't have all the fun! Create a sweet baby theme by wrapping baby shower organza ribbon in pink or blue around the different layers of a circle cake with plastic stork decorations sprinkled around the top layers. For a unique look, dye fondant in either pink or blue and use a baby footprint cookie cutter to cut out tiny cake decals.

3. Count on cupcakes.
Decorating several cupcakes is always easier than one large cake as it gives you an opportunity to practice your designs and personalize each portion. Using designer cupcake wrappers and pretty individual stands can make cakes look instantly glam - without hardly any work at all. For a themed party, place small objects on the top of each cupcake like baby animal figurines for a jungle party, hand-painted butterfly decorations for a garden party or even candies like pastel pacifier sweet tarts in light pink, blue or multicolor. If you'd like to use cupcakes as a party favor, place individual treats inside multi-colored Chinese take out boxes for an adorable presentation and easy to carry take home treat.