smash cakes

Your baby is turning 1 — congratulations! It’s time to celebrate this milestone in style.

While your little one will not remember their 1st birthday party, the photos you take will provide priceless memories for years to come. For this reason, many parents choose to bake or buy their child a special, smaller cake of their own, also known as a smash cake.

What’s a smash cake, you ask? Just as it sounds, a smash cake is meant to be pounded, smeared, and (hopefully) eaten by the birthday kid.

The smash is a prime moment for parents to photograph. It’s also a chance for the child to have a blast making a mess and enjoy what’s likely their first sweet bite of cake.

Here are 10 recipe ideas for adorable smash cakes worthy of a 1st birthday party.

1. Banana Baby Birthday Smash Cake

Want to bake your newfound toddler a beautiful cake that’s also healthy? Check out Melina Thompson’s recipe on the blog Sugary and Buttery. It replaces unhealthy ingredients with whole-wheat flour, bananas, and applesauce.

Thompson decorated the cake with a simple cream cheese frosting and sprinkles for a classic design that looks great. Don’t forget the candle!

2. Chocolate Smash Cake for a 1st Birthday Party

Blogger Barbara Schieving wanted to serve her grandson the perfect-sized cake on his 1st birthday. Using a 4-inch pan, Schieving transformed a classic chocolate cake recipe from her blog into a smaller, individual cake that was perfect for him to smash.

Follow the recipe on her blog, Barbara Bakes. It’s simple to make and uses just nine ingredients.

3. Grain, Dairy, and Refined Sugar-Free Smash Cake

If your child already has known food allergies, you cake still bake them a delicious cake. Just be mindful of the ingredients.

This option from The Urban Poser blog is gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free. It uses coconut flour for the cake and coconut butter for the frosting. The recipe calls for honey or maple syrup instead of sugar for a more natural, sweet flavor.

4. Easy Ombre Smash Cake

Ombre is a trendy décor option that gradually blends different shades of the same color. It looks incredible on a cake.

Unfortunately, it can be complicated to pull off.

But this cake from the blog The Silly Girl’s Kitchen uses store-bought cake mix, premade frosting, and food coloring in a simple hack for a great-looking cake.

Even beginner bakers will be able to follow the easy step-by-step tutorial photos. Using a stencil, the “1” sprinkle topping is easy to pull off and looks fabulous.

5. Monster Smash Cake

If you want to make a cake that is sure to impress, consider this friendly-looking monster cake from the blog Joyfully Home.

This cake requires a lot of ingredients and kitchen tools, but it will be worth the effort. Your own little monster will love the design, and you can customize the eyes and mouth in different colors and shapes.

6. Apple Spice Cake with Maple

An apple spice cake from the blog Simple Bites would be a perfect choice for a fall or winter birthday party.

The cake is made with organic ingredients, and the recipe makes enough for two cakes so the adults will be able to enjoy it, too. Be sure to whip up the strawberry cream cheese frosting with roasted beets for a pretty pink touch that your little lady will love.

7. Whole-Grain Carrot Smash Cake

Move over, plain chocolate and vanilla. Mix up flavors that your baby already knows and loves by making a yummy carrot cake from the blog Chocolate and Carrots.

Not only does the cake call for healthy whole-wheat flour, but it also uses full-fat Greek yogurt for a twist. It bakes up into a rich, creamy texture that your tot will love.

8. Baby-Approved Cupcakes

If the idea of giving your small child an entire cake scares you, a more kid-friendly portioned cupcake is a great alternative. Try this recipe for “baby-approved” cupcakes from the blog With A Side of Sneakers and watch your toddler make a (somewhat) smaller mess.

The recipe uses natural ingredients like oat flour and coconut milk, and makes enough for 12 cupcakes. The frosting is simple to make (the only ingredients are coconut cream and fruit juice) so it won’t overload the guest of honor with sugar.

9. Strawberry Cream Cake

It might be a cake for a 1-year-old, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be colorful or distasteful in any way. This strawberry cream cake from the blog House to Haus is elegant and easy to prepare.

Adults will dig the sponge cake with strawberry filling and whipped cream frosting, too. You can make enough for everyone to enjoy.

10. Fruity Turtle Cake

If you are opposed to your child eating cake, but still want to participate in a smash session, try this recipe from the blog Raw for Beauty. It’s made entirely of fruit, coconut, and coconut water.

rules of the cake smash

1. Clothing Is Optional

Take your little one out of their nice party clothes before you offer up the cake. Clothing them in just a diaper or having a special “outfit” (a bowtie or cape) will eliminate some of the cleanup.

2. Offer Water

A cake contains a lot of sugar and can be overwhelming, especially if your child isn’t used to sweet foods. Water will help rehydrate and cut some of the sugary taste.

3. Demonstrate

If you grab a small piece of the cake with your fingers and offer it to your tot, they’ll get the idea.

4. Have Fun

Your little one made it through a tough first year in the world. Let them enjoy the cake, even if it makes a mess.