Two Recipes for a Smash Cake

Have you heard of the tradition of smashing a cake for the first birthday of a baby?  It is called “cake smash” and the tradition was established in the United States. Now it has become popular in Germany as well. I have to say, I am quite a bit jealous. Even as an adult I wouldn’t mind smashing a cake, you know. So being allowed as a baby to do that and being photographed, well, what is not to like? Today I am going to give you two recipes for a smash cake. Since babies are smaller, I would recommend going for a 15-18cm/6 inch cake instead of a 26cm/9inch one. One of the most crucial aspects of a smash cake is the frosting. You want to be sure it holds up nicely and it is something pleasant for the baby. The recipe below is for a vanilla cake with strawberry filling. You will also see a chocolate cake pictured, which contains a lot of zucchini to make it somewhat “healthier”. I included both recipes for your convenience. Below you will also find some tips on what is relevant for a proper cake prepared for a smash.

Rezept für einen Smash CakeFeatured photo and this one from baby photographer Chen Reissl

Tips for a “Smash Cake”:

  • I would highly discourage you from using regular American buttercream. This is too heavy for babies, instead babies seem to enjoy whipping cream much better.
  • Artifical colors should be avoided. You can use freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries for a pink color or color the frosting blue with spirulina powder. If you want to use coloring, try to find some that uses natural ingredients. Here in Germany the brad “Eat a Rainbow” does a good job. However, as you can see on the featured picture, I left the cake plain and I believe white is just as perfect as pink.
  • The presentation of the cake is everything, so be sure to have enough frosting to frost it thoroughly. Especially the top should contain a thick layer, which can be taken off by the baby.
  • You will see that I present two different cakes here, one being chocolate. Some say this doesn’t look as nice if brown specks can be found on the child when smashing. You can of course go for a vanilla cake base instead for a light cake color.  I would recommend using this recipe for the 18cm springform. The full recipe can also be found below.
  • Make sure to check prior to baking whether the baby has any allergies or the parents follow any particular diet. The vanilla cake was reduced in sugar, but it still contained refined sugar. However, some people are much stricter, so be sure to check any dietary restrictions to not disappoint.
  • Your cake should be smaller in diameter, e.g. 16cm/6inch, but taller, pictures look best if the baby can sit up straight and eat the cake this way. I always make four cake layers.

Two Recipes for a Smash Cake

Serves: One 16-18cm/6 inch ∅ cake
Prep Time: 1hr Cooking Time: 45min Total Time: 1hr 45min

The vanilla cake is a simple version with strawberry jam and whipping cream. The chocolate zucchini cake is filled with whipped cream colored with freeze-dried raspberries and does not contain any artifical food coloring.


  • Cake 1: Vanilla Sponge Cake
  • 65 grams of butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 160 grams of regular sugar, 60 grams for the egg whites, 100 grams of to egg yolks
  • 160 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams of cornstarch

  • Filling
  • 1 small jar of strawberry jam (any other flavor works as well)
  • 300 grams of mascarpone
  • 400 grams of heavy cream
  • 80 grams of regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of milk powder

  • Cake 2: Chocolate Zucchini Cake
  • 350 grams of zucchini (about 1 1/2 big ones or three small ones)
  • 4 eggs
  • 80 grams of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 200 grams of neutral oil (e.g. canola or sunflower)
  • 250 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 60 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 150 grams of regular sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of baking soda

  • Filling
  • 100 grams freeze-dried raspberries (for a blue or green cake you can use spirulina powder or try to use natural food coloring)
  • 600 grams of heavy cream
  • 80 grams of regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 125 grams of fresh raspberries (or for a blue cake, take blueberries)



For cake 1, the vanilla sponge melt the butter. Divide the eggs into two clean bowls and add the stated sugar amount to each. Also add a pinch of salt to the egg whites. Line the bottom of a cake pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Weigh the flour and cornstarch into a smaller bowl and set aside. Then beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then without cleaning your mixer, beat the egg yolks until paler in color and thicker in consistency. Sieve the flour and cornstarch on top and add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites. Gently mix this together, then add another third of the egg whites. Fold gently, trying not to lose any air. Add the last third of the egg whites and the melted butter. Only fold until you have a homogeneous batter. Evenly divide between the two cake forms and bake for about 30 minutes. An inserted toothpick should come out clean. Release from cake pan once cool and cut each so that you have four cake layers total.


For the filling beat all ingredients except for the jam until stiff and fill a piping bag with no tip with it. Pipe an outer ring onto the first cake layer with this filling. Smear two tablespoons of jam in the middle until even. Repeat this procedure with the second and third cake layer while stacking them. Make sure to place the fourth cake layer upside down so that you actually have a very straight and even cake. Frost the cake with the remaining filling, make sure that you also frost the top as this is the part the child/baby will smash into first. Chill for at least half an hour or overnight. As photo shootings often take place iin the morning, you can make this cake the night before. Make sure to chill until ready to use.



For cake 2, the chocolate cake line the bottom of two 18cm/6inch cake pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.


Grate the zucchini into a bowl, pat a bit dry, then add egg, sour cream, vanilla extract and oil. Whisk until combined. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and baking soda and whisk until homogeneous. Divide evenly between the cake pans and bake for 35-45min, an inserted toothpick should come out clean. Let cool completely, release from cake forms and then cut in half so that you have four cake layers.


For the filling and frosting process the freeze-dried raspberries in a food processor until you have powder. Beat together with the cold heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. It happens much faster due to the freeze-dried fruit, so be careful. Beat until stiff, then divide the cream in half. Put one half back in the fridge. Divide the other half in thirds. Now we will assemble the cake. First spread one third of the cream on the first layer of cake. Cut the raspberries lengthwise and put one third on top. Place the second layer on top, repeat procedure. Repeat one more time with the third layer. Place the fourth cake layer upside down so that you have a staight edge. Take out your chilled second half of the frosting and make a thin layer. Take three tablespoons to set aside in a piping bag with a star tip. Chill the piping bag and also the cake for at least half an hour. Now frost with the remaining frosting using a scrape bench if you have, but a knife will also do. Swirl some swirls on top, I used the M tip from Wilton. The entire cake can be made the day in advance and should be chilled until the photo shooting starts.

Smash Cake für ein BabyshootingP.S. If you are looking for a good photographer for a cake smash, I can highly recommend Chen Reissl in Munich, Germany.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Rosa DeSensi
    Monday April 22nd, 2024 at 11:53 PM

    thank you for your blog! I love the picture of the smash cake! the little girl is beautiful

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