Cakes topped with everything from scissors and well-placed blueberries to fondant sperm - have become a social media sensation as bakers across the United States promote photos of baked goods decorated to celebrate the procedure.
What generated buzz most recently was an Instagram post by Signature Desserts in Nolensville, Tennessee, showcasing a buttercream-frosted cake with "100% JUICE NO SEEDS HAPPY VASECTOMY!" written on top. It featured lemons hand-painted on edible paper and cost the client who conceived of it for her husband $30.
That 6-inch red velvet cake went viral. The business has since gotten requests for hysterectomy cakes, too.
"It's not every day that somebody wants a humorous, edgy cake," said Nate Clingman who owns the business with his wife, Jillian and makes about 50 cakes a month. "It blew up very quickly and I was surprised."
For small bakers, offering up cakes for offbeat occasions is a way to increase profits, as the traditional model of birthdays-weddings-communions-graduations grows stale. Finding alternative occasions to drum up business is very similar to what the greeting-card industry has tried to do. About 500,000 vasectomies are performed in the U.S. each year, according to The Journal of Urology.
"Cake is just a combination of eggs, flour, sugar and butter, but what you can put on it (makes) possibilities," said Ashleigh Evans, director of operations analytics for the global restaurant consultancy firm Aaron Allen & Associates. "If there's a Hallmark card for it, there can be a cake for it."
Other vasectomy-themed cakes by bakers around the country include a copyright-infringing 3D Mr. Peanut with a bandage on his groin, messages like "Snip Snip Hooray" and "I just retired the swim team" written out in frosting and anatomically correct male genitalia with chocolate sprinkles serving as pubic hair.
The vasectomy cake Lynn Light made was graphic; it had small testicles, made of fondant, with a black bow in the center of a flesh-colored 8-inch chocolate cake.
"I definitely didn't know what to think at first," said the owner of Wicked Cakes in New Riegel, Ohio, recalling how she reacted to her customer's request. "I thought it was a great way to show your appreciation for what a partner is going through."
The $65 masterpiece-for-the-mister wasn't the first time Light was called on to make an unusually-themed dessert. She's also done divorce cakes, corset cakes for 18-year-old boys' birthdays and a large beer-bottle shaped cake for a bachelor party.