This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Smash Cake Recipe and Tutorial is a step by step guide to show you how to make a Smash Cake that is simple and easy! This Smash Cake is great for a first birthday and photos! Easily customizable, this Smash Cake is one cake fits all!

Small, easy smash cake for a first birthday covered in sprinkles.

You will love this DIY Smash Cake

This recipe is perfect for when you only need a little cake! This vanilla cake is full of vanilla flavor and uses simple, everyday ingredients. This recipe yields 12 cupcakes, one 8×8 cake, or 1 round cake.

What is a Baby Smash Cake?

Having a small cake specifically for smashing on a baby’s first birthday has become quite popular over the past few years.

My baby is turning 1 in just over a week. Honestly, where has time gone?

Last year at this time, I was a large, emotional mess. And that is putting it lightly! ?

I am happy to report that this year I am much more emotionally stable. Although, my good friend is having her baby TOMORROW and I am 100% totally and completely jealous. Newborns are the best. #allthehearteyes

For all of my baby’s first birthday’s we have done a cake smash. I have to say, Marlee’s was the best so far I think. Brielle was hilarious though, she just kept staring at me and nodding like ‘oh yeah, this is real good!’.

I love letting my babies go a little crazy on something sweet, because most of the time it is their first experience with something like that. It is so fun to capture their reactions on camera.

Baby eating the smash cake.

Baby Smash Cake Recipe ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk

Baby Smash Cake icing ingredients

  • 1/4cup butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2cup powdered sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla I like to use clear vanilla
  • 1 1/2-2tbsp milk

How to make this Smash Cake Recipe for Baby

Yes, you could totally use boxed cake and store bought frosting.

In case you would rather make your own, here is how the cake and frosting came together.

  1. For the cake, Mix together melted butter and sugar. The sugar should cool the melted butter down a bit, double check that it is cool and then add in the eggs.

It is important that the butter has cooled or else the eggs will cook when they come in contact with the hot butter!

melted butter, sugar and eggs.

2. Once the eggs have been whisked in, add in the vanilla, flour, baking powder and milk. The batter will be slightly thick.

The finished batter that consists of sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder.

3. Pour into a either small round cake pans, or if you don’t own any/don’t want to go buy some, be like me and bake it in a 9×13 pan.

4. It is important to really grease and flour the pan you will be using.

5. I baked at 350° for 15 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Finished Cake, out of the oven.

6. Cool completely to room temperature and then toss un the freezer for 20 minutes.

7. Once chilled in the freezer, leave the cake in the pan and cut out large circles using a cookie cutter. My cookie cutter is 4 inches wide.

8. Cut the circles out of the cake and then carefully remove the excess cake around the edges.

Cut out circles of cake used for the smash cake.

9. Pop the cake back into the freezer while the frosting is prepared. Chilled cakes are much easier to frost and are extremely less crumby.

10. The frosting is super simple, just butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk whipped together using an electric mixer.

How to assemble this Smash Cake Recipe

The first thing I like to do is to put a little frosting onto the serving plate before putting the bottom layer down. This just helps to keep everything where it is supposed to be. ?

How to make the icing for this Smash Cake Recipe

  1. To make the Vanilla Buttercream Icing, toss butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla into the stand mixer and mix on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
frosting on the plate before the bottom layer of cake to help everything stay put.

Put the frosting in either a piping bag or a ziplock bag and clip the corner off.

Pipe the frosting around in a swirl covering the entire top of the cake.

The bottom layer of the smash cake with frosting on top

Stack the next layer on top of the frosting and repeat until all layers have been used up.

3 layer vanilla smash cake with vanilla buttercream filling.

You can leave the sides as is, or I took an off-set spatula and spread the frosting that was spilling over the edge a bit to get the ‘naked’ cake look.

Melt the remaining frosting in the microwave. Only microwave for about 10 seconds. You want it thin enough that it is pourable but thick enough that it won’t just run off the side of the cake.

Buttercream that has been melted so it can be poured onto the cake.

Pour the warm, thick frosting on top of the cake and quickly push the frosting to the edge of the cake so it drips down the sides.

Top the cake with lots an lots of sprinkles. This is really good at covering up some not so appealing frosting if need be. ?

Smash cake covered with frosting and sprinkles.

Place a candle on top and you are done!!

This cake is so easy to customize to anything you can imagine. Use chocolate cake, chocolate frosting with crushed Oreos on top! Add some food coloring to the pourable frosting to give the cake another pop of color! Really, the possibilities are endless (and delicious)!

cake smash with a baby for her birthday.
smash cake for first birthday pictures.

Baby Smash Cake Recipe FAQs

What not to put on a smash cake?

Leave off anything that the baby could grab and choke on.

Does a smash cake need to be refrigerated?

No, the cake does not need to be refrigerated.

What is the best size for a baby smash cake?

I like doing a small, 4inch 3 layer cake.

Smash Cake Recipe and Tutorial is a step by step guide to show you how to make a Smash Cake that is simple and easy! This Smash Cake is great for a first birthday and photos! Easily customizable, this Smash Cake is one cake fits all! |Customized by Karli| #smashcake #firstbirthday #diy #homemade #fromscratch #recipe #boy #girl #sprinkles #idea

Other Posts I think you might like:

Fresh Strawberries and Cream pie is the perfect fresh dessert for summer.
Homemade slurpee is the most refreshing treat for the summer.

Strawberries and Cream Pie
Behind The Scenes of Cooking with Karli

Thanks for stopping by my website! Did you make one of my recipes? I’d love to see!! Tag @cookingwithkarli!

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
4.12 from 94 votes

Baby Smash Cake

This recipe is perfect for when you only need a little cake! This vanilla cake is full of vanilla flavor and uses simple, everyday ingredients. This recipe yields 12 cupcakes, one 8×8 cake, or 1 round cake.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 small cake


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Stir the sugar into the melted butter. The sugar should cool the butter down to room temperature.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla. Whisk well.
  • Whisk in the flour, baking powder and milk. Whisk until no lumps remain.
  • Bake in a well greased pan at 350° for 15-20 minutes, depending on the pan. Pull out of the oven when a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before removing from pan or frosting.
  • For Smash Cake assembly instructions, see post above.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Karli Bitner

This blog is a little glimpse into my kitchen, family & life. I hope you’ll giggle the days away with me and enjoy the craziness that goes on at my house. If you are Cookie obsessed like I am, check out my Sister Site, Cookies for Days.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Turned out amazing! Only thing mine took longer to bake. I did 20 minutes then kept adding 5 minutes until it passed the toothpick test. I would say total I cooked 40 minutes. Is that normal lol?

  2. This can really depend on your altitude and your humidity level so the exact time can vary. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I did it today but with some changes… was so good!!
    Instead of sugar, I used 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 10 medium size strawberry, 3 dates, 6 big blueberries (they’re really big).
    1 cup of regular flour and 1/2 cup of oatmeal flour.
    Less than 1/4 cup of milk.

  4. 5 stars
    So had to make the cake twice, first time it didn’t bake through even with an additional 20 mins and collapsed in on itself (using one 6in spring form pan). Second time I made recipe then split the batter amongst 2 6in springform pan for 20 mins and it came out perfect! So did the icing and I decorated with berries for my daughters berry first birthday smash cake!

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for your recipe and cake presentation. Using a 4” cookie cutter for a 9×13” cake was brilliant! I got 3 perfect layers.

  6. 5 stars
    Just took this cake out of the oven and oh my gosh it smells amazing! I’m doing a trial run with this and I’m not a cake expert in any way- could you tell me if the cake could be made a day or two in advance? I’m thinking I would not do the frosting until day of so it would just be the cake in advance, would I store it in the fridge or could it be stored on the counter in a container with lid, or what is best? Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    When should I do the icing? Right before it’s time for pictures or can I do the icing a day early?

  8. 5 stars
    Decided last minute to make vanilla cake (this recipe) vs chocolate. It’s delicious thanks to lots of butter. Reminds me of a pound cake.

    Read Karli’s article a few times, great advice from using one pan, freezing and cookie cutting out shapes. I used a 9×13 but I think I would use something a little smaller next time. Cookie cutter was a breeze on frozen cakes. My cake didn’t bake very even but that’s not a fault of recipe. Will make this cake again!