One of the top trends for first birthday parties is a smash cake. A smash cake is a small cake made especially for the birthday baby to smash. Those classic messy cake photos have been revamped. Now you can save your gorgeous cake for the the guests and have your messy shot, too! What I like most about smash cakes is that you can make one all by yourself. I like the thought of knowing exactly what is in the littlest cake, which means less dyes and no preservatives necessary. The small size of this cake means decorating is a cinch. If you are a perfectionist like me, you can have a handmade cake for her, and still get the pretty full size cake from your bakery.

You will need:

4″ cake pans (similar to shown)
pastry bag and star tip (I used Ateco #849)
bread knife
cake recipe of your choice (our recipe below)

Smash Vanilla Cake:

I made this recipe from a variety of cake recipes for inspiration and cut down the portion size. This recipe makes exactly enough for two four inch pans.

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter softened (half a stick)
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cake flour
pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and blend well. Add vanilla. Mix. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Pour half into egg mixture.  Mix. Pour in milk. Mix. Add remaining dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Pour evenly into two greased four inch pans. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool 5 mins in the pan. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a rack. Make your icing, I used my favorite recipe for cream cheese frosting here.

Once your cake is cool, pick the one with the prettiest dome for the top. Using a bread knife held horizontally, cut the dome off the second piece. Use the extra to bribe small ones congregating around your feet — does this happen to you? Put your tip in your pastry bag and add frosting. Tighten and smoosh frosting down to the tip. Twist and frost a swirl on top of the cut portion of the bottom layer. Smooth as needed with a spatula. Top with second layer. Cover the sides and top with stars. If you do this neatly you can leave as is. I used it to cover the surface evenly, making it easier for frosting. For this cake, I just smoothed out the sides and left the stars on top. Sprinkle with edible glitter if desired; it always adds a bit of something special to simple white cakes.  Top with a candle or our cupcake topper.

How do you make a simple number cake topper? Try this: print out a 3 inch number on your computer.  Trace the number on a piece of cardstock with a ball point pen. This will leave a light embossing on the cardstock to cut out. Tape a lollipop stick to the back and stick in the cake! These would be equally adorable as cupcake toppers, or you can use letters too.

There is only one first birthday, and making something yourself  for this occasion is easier than you think. Remember, you can always use cake mix and a can of frosting. The key to a tiny cake is a tiny cake pan. Of course, if you really don’t bake, you can always request a smash cake at your bakery. Most will provide you with a matching cake just for this special occasion.

Parties part 1 of 16

1. DIY Smash Cake by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
2. DIY Felt Crown by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
3. DIY Personalized Crowns by Brittany @ The House That Lars Built
4. DIY Chalkboard Crown by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
5. DIY Magic Wand by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
6. DIY Wand by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
7. DIY Mini Party Tent by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
8. DIY Felt Birthday Bunting by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
9. DIY crepe paper fringe chandeliers by Caroline @ Armelle Blog
10. party tassel garland by Caroline @ Armelle Blog
11. Balloon Birthday Invitation by DIY
12. DIY Watercolor Invitations by Caroline @ Armelle Blog
13. DIY Animal Favor Boxes by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
14. Custom Print on Paper Bags by Caroline @ Armelle Blog
15. DIY Clown Cupcake Toppers by Jenny @ Hank+Hunt
16. Lollipop Balloons by Brittany @ The House That Lars Built