Smash Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
If your baby's first birthday is around the corner, this high chair tray delicacy, aka the smash cake, is going to be a must-have for the momentous occasion.

Updated: Mar. 19, 2024

What’s cuter than those knuckle dimples and wrist wrinkles on babies? Knuckle dimples and wrist wrinkles covered in frosting! When your little one’s first birthday party rolls around, don’t miss the opportunity to make a smash cake. It’s the perfect size for a little appetite.

Simple ingredients, soft white frosting and rainbow sprinkles make this the easiest (and most photogenic) dessert for a kid who can’t wait to tear into their cake. If the cute-as-can-be photo op of a smash cake isn’t enough to make you want to make one, maybe their goofy giggles and squeals of delight will do the trick. Get your camera ready!

What is a smash cake?

Smash Cake Being Smashed By ToddlerTMB Studio

A smash cake is a small cake for your baby to smash on their first birthday—because who needs a fork when you have fists? Whether more of it gets smeared into the high chair and dropped on the floor than actually gets eaten is of little importance. It’s an edible, messy, adorable excuse to be silly and results in some seriously sweet photos.

Smash Cake Ingredients

Smash Cake IngredientsTMB Studio

Cake:

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • 2% milk

Frosting:

  • Butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • 2% milk
  • Sprinkles of your choice

Directions

Step 1: Grease the cake pans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms of two greased and floured 6-inch round baking pans with parchment paper.

Step 2: Combine the wet ingredients

In a small bowl, cream the sugar and butter until crumbly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Step 3: Combine the dry ingredients

hand combining wet and dry ingredients and beating the batterTMB Studio

In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk, beating well after each addition.

Step 4: Bake the cake

Smash Cake Batter Being Poured into cake pansTMB Studio

Transfer the cake mix to the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and cool completely.

Step 5: Frost

Smash Cake Having Frosting AppliedTMB Studio

In a small bowl, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread the frosting between the layers and over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate as desired. Store in the refrigerator until serving.

Smash Cake Tips

Smash Cake About To Be Smashed By ToddlerTMB Studio

How do you frost a smash cake?

Tiny fists are going to plow through this cake, so a simple frosting method might be the easiest route. But we totally get it if you want the cake to match the theme of the party. We have some beautiful cake decorating styles to try out, like piped rosettes and ombre icing.

What can I use instead of sprinkles?

If you don’t want to put sugary, dyed sprinkles on your baby’s cake, opt for fresh fruit instead. Blueberries, strawberries and peaches make for a beautiful (and colorful) display atop a vanilla-frosted cake. Just be sure to chop the fruit into tiny pieces so they don’t turn into a choking hazard.

What should I not put on a smash cake?

Don’t make a chocolate-frosted smash cake unless you want your kid’s first cake tasting to look like a very bad diaper change. Similarly, try to avoid red food dyes or red icing. You don’t want first birthday pictures that look like a crime scene.

And lastly, if you put any toys atop the cake as props, be sure to remove them before baby tears into the cake. This will help avoid choking hazards. The same goes for any cake toppers or candles you poked into the cake.

Watch how to Make Smash Cake

Smash Cake

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • FROSTING:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • Sprinkles of your choice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 2 greased and floured 6-in. round baking pans with parchment. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  2. Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack; remove paper. Cool completely.
  3. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and milk; beat until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Decorate as desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 610 calories, 25g fat (15g saturated fat), 125mg cholesterol, 497mg sodium, 92g carbohydrate (76g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.