Make a Smash Cake for Your Baby's Birthday

The baby smash cake is a tradition that started in the US. It is a miniature cake presented to a baby on his or her first birthday. The baby gets to smash the cake, grab fistfuls of it, and get messy. The parents take pictures of the event; sometimes, they hire a professional photographer to document the event. A bubble bath usually follows afterwards.[1]


  • 2 cups (450 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour or cake flour
  • 3½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ cups (350 milliliters) milk

Buttercream Frosting[3]

  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons (64 grams) shortening
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) milk


Baking the Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease the inside of two 6-inch (15.24-centimeter) cake pans with butter or cooking spray. Dust the inside of each pan with flour, then set them aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. Cut the butter into an electric mixer or food processor. Add the sugar, then beat them together using a medium speed setting for 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add in the eggs, then stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs in one at a time. Beat the mixture well after each egg that you add. At the very end, stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Whisk the flour and baking powder together. Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the baking powder. Stir the two together with a whisk.
  5. Alternate between adding the flour and the milk to the butter. Pour in half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Beat to combine, then stir in half of the milk. Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk. Stir everything together until they are just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans. Fill each pan about ¾ of the way with cake batter. You will have some cake batter left over. You can use this to make another cake or a set of cupcakes.
    • Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl clean so that you don't waste any cake batter.
  7. Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes. They are ready when a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let the cakes cool before removing them from the pans. Run a knife along the inside of each pan to loosen the cakes, then remove the cakes from the pans. If the cakes are still warm, let them finish cooling on a wire rack. They must be completely cool before you frost them.
  9. Cut the top part off of each cake, if needed. Sometimes, cakes form a dome on top while baking. If your cakes formed domes, use a long, sharp knife to cut them off.[4] Discard the cut-off domes or eat them.

Preparing the Frosting

  1. Cream the butter and shortening until they turn light and fluffy. You can do this in an electric mixer or a food processor. At the very end, stir in the vanilla extract.
  2. Beat in the sugar gradually. Add in 1 cup (125 grams) of powdered sugar, then beat it in using a medium speed setting. Add in the remaining cup (125 grams) of powdered sugar and beat it until it is completely blended in.
  3. Mix the milk gradually. Pour in 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of milk, then beat the frosting using a medium speed setting. Add in the rest of milk, and mix again. Keep mixing until the frosting is smooth.
  4. Consider adding in some gel food coloring. You can use any color you want, but most people use light blue (for boys) or pink (for girls).
  5. Fill a piping bag with the frosting. Cut the tip off of a piping bag, then insert an open star decorating tip.[4] Set the bag down into a tall glass, then fold the top edge over the rim of the glass. Fill the bag with the buttercream frosting using a rubber spatula.
    • Skip this step if you want to just spread the frosting over the cake for something simpler.

Decorating the Cake

  1. Spread some buttercream onto the first layer for the filling. Place one of the cakes cut-side-up onto a pretty plate. Swirl some buttercream frosting onto the top of the cake.
  2. Place the second layer on top. This time, set it cut-side-down. Use your hands to make the two layers even; you don't want any overhanging edges.
  3. Pipe a tight circle onto the cake to make a simple rose. Place the tip of the bag against the center of the cake. Using gentle pressure, begin piping out frosting while moving the bag outward in a circle. Think of it as drawing a tight spiral.[4]
    • For a simpler cake: plop icing on top, then use cake decorating spatula to spread it towards the edges and down the sides.[5]
  4. Continue making more roses. Work your way around the first rose that you made until you fill the top of the cake. Continue making more roses along the sides of the cake. You should be able to make about 2 to 3 rows of roses along the sides.[4]
  5. Fill the gaps in with more frosting. Go over your cake and check for any gaps between the roses. If you see any, fill them in with a small squirt of frosting.[2] If you used a coupler, you can switch to a simple round tip for this step.
  6. Finish off with some sprinkles, if desired. You don't have to do this, but it's a great way to bring some color to your cake, especially if you spread the frosting instead of piped it on.[5] Plus, your little one might like the texture when he or she grabs the cake!
    • Instead of going for the basic rainbow sprinkles, consider using something more creative, such as silver hearts, gold stars, or edible glitter.

Making a Topper (Optional)

  1. Print out a large number 1 to use as a template. You can find a template online or create one using a word processing program. You can also draw the number on a sheet of paper instead. Aim to make the number about 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) tall.[6]
    • You can use any font you want. Block or bubble fonts work great!
  2. Tape a sheet of wax or parchment paper over it. Place your template down onto a baking sheet. Cover it with a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, then tape down the edges.[5]
  3. Place colored candy melts into a piping bag. Tie off the end or secure it with a rubber band. Don't cut off the tip yet; you will do that later.[6] You can use any color you want, but white, pink, or light blue are great options.
    • If you can't find any candy melts, you can use white chocolate chips instead.
  4. Microwave the piping bag until the chocolate melts. Place the piping bag into the microwave, then heat it at 30-second intervals until the candy melts. Knead the bag between each interval. How long you do this for depends on the type of candy melts you are using; some melt quicker than others.[6]
  5. Cut the tip off with a pair of scissors. Only cut off a tiny bit, or the melted candy will come out too thick. in the next step.[6]
  6. Trace over your template, then fill it in. Use the piping bag to outline your number with the melted chocolate. Next, fill the number in using a tight, zigzag motion. Make sure that there are no gaps visible.[5]
  7. Consider adding some sprinkles. Here is where you can get really creative. You can cover the entire number with sprinkles, or just add a dash. For a textured number, match the color of the sprinkles to your chocolate. For a colorful number, use rainbow-colored sprinkles.[5]
  8. Tuck the number into the fridge for 10 minutes. Use the baking sheet to transfer the number to the fridge. Leave it there for 10 minutes so that the chocolate can harden.[5]
  9. Peel the number off, then stand it up on the cake. Once the chocolate has hardened, peel the number off of the wax or parchment paper. Set it down onto the cake so that it stands straight up, like one of those number candles.[5]


  • Use the leftover cake mix to make cupcakes. They will be ready in 18 to 20 minutes.[2]
  • If you made cupcakes using the leftover cake batter, decorate them to match the cake. Serve them to the other guests at the party!
  • You use store-bought cake mix if you don't want to bake the cake from scratch. Prepare the mix according to the instructions on the package.[4]
  • You can use store-bought icing if you don't want to make your own.[4]
  • Don't worry about making it perfect. The baby won't care. He or she will love digging into it no matter what it looks like.
  • Fill the cake with tasty jam or chocolate-hazelnut spread for something different.

Things You'll Need

  • Two 6-inch (15.24-centimeter) cake pans
  • Electric mixer or food processor
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Piping bag
  • Open star piping tip
  • Candy melts (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  • Microwave-safe bowl (optional)
  • Baking sheet (optional)
  • Parchment paper or wax paper (optional)

Sources and Citations