Easy Smash Cake Recipe for Your Child’s First Birthday

A baby’s first birthday is truly an exciting time. It’s the first time a child gets to experience their very own birthday, and while they may not fully understand what’s going on, it’s still a fun time. If you’ve been to any kind of a baby party before, or if your parents showed you pictures of your own first birthday, you’ve probably witnessed plenty of one-year-olds covered in cake. After all, there’s something adorable about a child covered in cake. That is exactly why the smash cake has become so popular in recent years. But, what exactly is a smash cake, and what kind of smash cake recipe should you follow? Everything you need is right here.

What Is a Smash Cake?

In short, a smash cake is something your one-year-old is going to smash. Your child probably has not mastered the ability to pick up food with a spoon, and besides, a cake is the perfect texture to grab with hands. How often have you wished you could just grab a baked good and showdown on it? Well, your one-year-old is able to do that. And, it makes for fantastic photo opportunities; that is why you need to consider a great smash cake recipe.

If you’d like, there are likely professional photographers in your area who specialize in smash cake photo shoots. If you want it professionally done, you should talk with the photographer to see if they have any requirements for the cake (or if they provide the cake). If you’d rather do it in your home though, you’ll want to provide the cake yourself.

Now, if you really wanted to, you could go and pick up a cake from the grocery store. You can even have cupcakes and remove the paper. The major downside with going with a store-bought cake is the sheer amount of sugar used. These cakes have an incredibly high amount of sugar content, and the frosting is beyond sweet (which your child is sure to love, but that’s a very large amount of sugar for them to take in all at once).

A Few Things to Consider

If your child is turning one and they haven’t had sugar yet, you may want to go with something else. You can make a carrot cake or another cake that is not strictly sugar and frosting. Because, as you may already know, once you give them sugar it’s hard to come back from it, and you probably don’t want their first time with sugar to be their first birthday with a big piece of cake to themselves.

The Look of the Cake

With a smash cake recipe, the idea is to give your child something they can have fun destroying while giving you the perfect photo opportunity. Of course, you probably would rather avoid staining clothing at the same time. So, what is the best looking cake to make regarding photographs (and not staining their clothes)? Confetti cake or something with bright sprinkles against a white backdrop is perfect. The white will pop, not stain, and will look good with any kind of clothing they are wearing. Plus, the sprinkles will add a touch of fun to it.

While ultimately the overall look of the cake is up to you (and if you are throwing a themed one year birthday party), something white with bursts of color will often look the best on camera. White frosting allows your child’s skin tone to shine through with the photographs. Other colors may not give you the same quality exposure.

Ingredients You’ll Need

The beautiful aspect of a smash cake recipe is you don’t need to have a ton of special products or items to follow the smash cake recipe. While you’ll probably need to pick up a few things, the smash cake is super easy to make, is delicious, and will ultimately look great when your one-year-old takes to completely destroying it.

Cake Ingredients

In order to create the smash cake you’ll need to have:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles (brightly colored if possible)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Frosting Ingredients

If you’re in a pinch, you can pick up frosting from the grocery store. However, making the frosting at home will give you a better tasting frosting, and it doesn’t take all that long. To make the vanilla frosting you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/4 cup assorted sprinkles

Step-By-Step Smash Cake Recipe

Before you begin with the smash cake recipe, you’ll want to take the butter and the cream cheese out of the fridge. Allow the butter and cheese to warm up to room temperature. The butter and cheese will mix easier when you do. If you need to make the cake right away and everything is still too hard, pop each into the microwave for a few seconds.

Making the Cake

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. As it heats, butter and flour two mini cake pans. Something around 4.5 inches by 2 inches should work fine (or somewhere around there).

Now, add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix in a small bowl. Mix the butter into a different bowl and beat until it is a creamy consistency. From here, add in the sugar. It will be easier to do this if you have an electric mixer. You can use a hand crank if you’d like, just use a larger bowl to avoid splashing. Run the mixer until the mixture is fluffy. Now, add in the full egg and then the egg white (of a second egg). Mix this at medium speed until everything is completely mixed. The egg white will give it a nice fluffy consistency with great tips when you pull the mixer out.

Pour in the oil and vanilla extract, then mix again. Turn down the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture slowly. Start with half of the mixture, mix completely, then add in the rest. Pour in the milk at the halfway point as you mix to give you a nice, thick batter.

Finally, add in the sprinkles and stir with a spatula. Don’t use the electric mixer with the sprinkles, as you’ll want to maintain the consistency of the sprinkles. Once you’re done with this, pour the batter into the two cake pans.

Insert the two cake pans into the oven and allow it to bake (it should be done between 18 and 20 minutes, although you can always use a toothpick, stick it in the middle of the cake, and if nothing sticks to it,  the cake is ready to come out).

Making the Frosting

As the cake bakes, add the butter and cream cheese into a new bowl and mix. Now, add in the sugar and mix. Once it is fully mixed, pour in the vanilla and beat the frosting for another three minutes. You’ll have a fluffy consistency. If you beat it for too long and the frosting seems too thick to you, add the tablespoon of milk and mix again.

Assembling the Cake

After the 18 to 20 minutes and the cake is ready, slide a knife around the edge of the cake and remove it from the pan. Now, you can frost it up this way, although it’s shallow for a real smash birthday cake. Instead, cut out three circles from the cake, each one larger than the next.

Place the largest circle (you can use cookie cutters or even cups for the different sizes) on a serving plate and apply frosting. Now, place the middle sized circle of cake. The layer of frosting will act as a glue and keep the two layers stuck. Now, apply the third cake layer. Finally, cover the entire cake with frosting and sprinkle the bright sprinkles over top.

You now have a perfect smash cake to celebrate your child’s one-year birthday party.

Conclusion

There really isn’t anything like a child’s first birthday. While they may not remember it later on in their life, it is an exciting time for them as much as you. A one-year-old is not going to fully comprehend the cake, but they will have a blast smashing it. There’s a reason most parents have a number of photographs saved on computers and in shoe boxes of film pictures of their children covered in cake. You have the same opportunity and can take advantage with the aid of a smash cake. So, while you can decide if you want to make a secondary cake for the rest of the guests, you can follow the smash cake recipe and make your child the perfect cake for them to destroy, eat, and be photographed covered in. The photographs of them covered in a smash cake will be the closest they can come to being able to remember it themselves.

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