How to Guide: Set Up a First Birthday Cake Smash for Your Baby

Extravagant and colorful cakes are the highlight of any child’s birthday. Kids anxiously await the moment they can blow out their candles, make a wish, and dig in. But let’s be real: cakes at birthday parties for one-year-olds are usually for the adults.

First Birthday Cake Smash

A birthday cake smash, a hot new trend at birthday parties for infants, brings the attention back to the guest of honor. A Birthday cake smash involves the baby smashing their hands (or sometimes face) into a miniature cake. A larger version of the cake is set off to the side for the adults to eat.

A Birthday cake smash not only provides great photo opps, it also allows your baby to play with their food, let loose and have a blast. It’s their special day after all!

Below are a few tips for orchestrating a fun and photogenic first birthday cake smash. We promise your little one will appreciate it.

1) Check in with your local bakery. Mention your plans to do a birthday cake smash. Many bakeries will provide an extra small cake free of charge along with the purchase of a large cake for adults. Want to bake it yourself? Here are a few fun ideas for smash birthday cakes.

2) Think color. Choose bold cake colors (royal blue or bright red, rather than white) that will pop on camera. Your son or daughter will have more fun digging their hands into a colorful landscape of sugar and icing than a bland one.

Birthday Cake Smash

3) Prep the space. Make sure nothing valuable or easily stained is near the site of the impending smash. Create an open area where your little one will feel comfortable and have plenty of room. (Also: try to keep squeamish relatives away from the area.)

4) Pick a theme. Princesses, pirates, rock stars, action movies…whatever you choose, there’s a cake and an outfit (for you and your little one) to match!

5) Get your cameras ready. Make sure your friends and family take plenty of photos and videos – this will be a hilarious moment to revisit in a decade. Instruct them to try different angles, filters and distances. An important tip: don’t assign yourself the role of photographer. Delegate this task so you can fully enjoy the moment and be there for your baby.

6) But don’t make it all about you. The cake smash is for the birthday boy or girl. If your baby doesn’t want to participate, don’t push. And try to avoid having a dozen adults standing around watching and waiting for the smash – stage fright could ruin the fun. Be discreet when prepping the crowd and cameras.

7) If your little one’s an angel, be prepared to demonstrate. You probably don’t encourage your son or daughter to smash their fists into food on a regular basis. It might take some coaching – and lucky you if that’s the case. Demonstrate by smashing a small piece of cake with your hands on your own plate. Don’t be embarrassed. Get rowdy and have fun. It’ll make your baby more comfortable.

Celebrate your little one’s birthday this year with the ultimate gift: the opportunity to get messy with mommy. Crazy, ridiculous, colorful and loads of fun, a birthday cake smash focuses the attention love, and fun on the baby who’s having his or her very first special day.

And once you have a handful of awesome cake smash photos to choose from, there are all kinds of fun items you can customize with our design tools on The options for preserving these memories are endless!

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