The doctor always knows the sex of the baby before the couple do ... but the local baker?

Like many expecting their first child, Leah and Michael Morris of Eagan wanted the big gender "reveal" to be special and exciting, but just couldn't wait until the birth day for the news.

So the Morrises enlisted the help of their doctor and Edina's Queen of Cakes bakery to pull off the ultimate surprise. At the 20-week ultrasound appointment in August, the couple asked their doctor to seal the results in an envelope, then headed straight to the bakery.

Based on what was inside the envelope, bakery owner Terri Leckas colored the cake batter, then frosted the outside with gender-neutral decoration. "I felt like the Fairy Godmother," she said about her role.

When the couple cut into the cake, surrounded by family members and friends, a pink inside revealed they'd be welcoming a baby girl.

"It was so exciting to share that moment with the people we love," said Leah, now proud mom of tiny Hazel Mae. "It's a night we'll remember for the rest of our lives."

The use of reveal cakes has grown in popularity since the Duggar family -- of the TLC show "19 Kids and Counting" -- used a cake to reveal the sex of their first grandchild on the "Today Show" last summer.

While some reveal cakes are plain on the outside, many bakers apply pink and blue decorations, or even question marks.

Lya and Todd Hurst of St. Louis Park decided to get the gender results from the doctor, but later offered to bring dessert and a surprise to a family BBQ. Lya's mother cut into a white vanilla bean cake from the Franklin Street Bakery, showing off a pink inside.

Lya's mom, Eda Kostroski, said she was a little hesitant about learning the gender ahead of time. "But this was a really joyful way to share the experience with our daughter and her husband," she said. "We're very happy we found out."

Those in the medical field seem happy to play along. Certified nurse midwife Deb Stealey has been sharing the idea with her patients at Diamond Women's Center in Edina.

"A reveal cake makes the process of finding out the baby's gender more of an event. And what better time to celebrate than when you've reached the halfway point and are feeling great?"

Aimée Blanchette • 612-673-1715