My favorite part of celebrating a first birthday always is making a very tiny smash cake for the birthday girl.
What is a Smash Cake?
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a smash cake, it’s a cake made for a baby (usually for their first birthday), that you give to the baby and just let them go to town on.
I can’t stand the idea of a full-size smash cake going to waste, but I want something a little more exciting than a cupcake.
Plus, I like to pull out my long-ago cake decorating skills (in high school, I took a cake decorating class with my mom and then I frosted some ten million cakes for Cold Stone Creamery when I was in high school and college).
And the smash cake photos just can’t be beat!
How to make a smash cake
To make a first birthday smash cake, you’ll need:
- A small tin to bake it in (a mug or a can from canned food works great!)
- Parchment paper
- Cake batter
- Frosting (I like to do two colors)
- A frosting bag or frosting gun
- A candle
- Sprinkles (optional)
I made Ella’s tiny cake in a mug and I can’t remember what I used for Ani’s (maybe a mug too?). This time around, I didn’t have any mugs with straight sides, so I emptied out a 15.5oz tin can of pineapple, washed it thoroughly and then lined the bottom and sides with parchment paper and then sprayed it like crazy.
I halved this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and filled the can about 1/3 full, and then baked the rest in a loaf pan for us to eat.
You can use any cake batter for your DIY smash cake you like and just fill your can or mug about 1/3 full.
I frosted it with a half batch of this frosting (I frosted the cake with white, then added red food coloring to the rest of it and piped it on with my frosting gun, a purchase that seemed so ridiculous five years ago and now I have gotten so much mileage out of – that thing makes me happy every time I pull it out), tossed on some sprinkles and put a single candle in the top.
First birthday smash cake
Star was quite delighted and figured out immediately what to do with her little smash cake when we placed it on her tray. She dug right in and was happy to give fingers of frosting to her big sisters.
After a few minutes, Bart cut a slice for her and she grabbed it with both hands and put it right in her mouth.
Amusingly, Bart also gave Hannah a very small slice and Star’s head swiveled around and gave Hannah the biggest side-eye I’ve ever seen. We couldn’t stop laughing at her.
When we finally put the smash cake away, Bart asked Star if she’d liked the cake and she nodded extremely enthusiastically.
It kind of makes me want to bake her a DIY smash cake every weekend.
I won’t complain about the bigger cake for the rest of us, either.
That is so ridiculously cute it almost makes me want a do-over of my kids' first birthdays!
Paige Flamm says
This is such a fun tradition. She is absolutely darling!
Camille Millecam Whiting says
She's so darling, and your Cold Stone is definitely showing- beautiful cake!
Love it. Love the tiny cakes. I made one in a can for atticus's first bday. Evelyn got a donut, but she was beyond thrilled about it. Donuts have kind of become our birthday tradition.
D and B's Mommy says
She is such a doll! I have a little cake pan I got for my oldest's first birthday, the can is much cleverer though, but I also love the little birthday cake! My 3 year old decorated his brother's first birthday cake (sprinkles everywhere!) it was so fun!
Also, I totally need a frosting gun! (Well, I totally really want one!
What size was the pineapple can?? And how long did you bake it for??
Janssen Bradshaw says
Just a 14 or 15 ounce can (same as a can of tomatoes or coconut milk) and I think I cooked it for about 30-40 minutes (after 30 minutes, I tested it with a toothpick every five minutes or so). Good luck!
Thank you for this idea. I made it in the pineapple can. Dusted a tiny bit of powdered sugar on it and topped it with a strawberry because i think that the frosting is way too much for a baby.
Janssen Bradshaw says
Oh, what a fun idea!
What is the recipe plz