20 Smash Cake Ideas for Unforgettable 1st Birthdays

Updated December 17, 2020
Smash cake baby boy

Use these smash cake ideas to make your baby's first birthday a smash hit. Meant for just the birthday boy or girl, these cakes are supposed to be smashed, eaten, crumbled, and otherwise destroyed by the child as part of the festivities or in a special photo shoot.

Unique Smash Cake Ideas for Boys

If you're doing a cake smash photoshoot or party for a baby boy, you can make the moment extra wonderful by getting creative. These smash cake ideas for boys range from hilarious to super special.

Take It Outside

There's no rule that says you need to have your smash cake party or photos indoors. If your baby has a summer birthday, take the party outside. There'll be less mess to clean up, and you can get wonderful photos by lying down in the grass in front of your little one.

Don't Forget the Bow Tie

A bow tie and suspenders can take your smash cake photos to the next level. It's easy to incorporate this idea; just choose any bow tie and leave the shirt hanging in his closet. The combination of the fancy accessories and the utter destruction of his cake will make these photos amazing.

First Birthday With Cake Smash In

Use Bright Blue Frosting

White frosting is great, but its impact isn't as dramatic as bright colors. Frost the smash cake in something dramatic like dark blue and then watch as he smears the vibrant color everywhere. This works best if you have him do the cake smash shirtless, since blue food coloring can stain special clothes.

boy smashing birthday cake

Make a Monster Cake

Serve your little guy an adorable monster cake and watch him become a hero by destroying it. This makes for a hilarious first birthday video or photo series. Just keep shooting, and you'll get some amazing photos everyone will love.

Birthday Boy Pokes Monster Cake

Use a Blue Backdrop

Give your cake smash photos extra charm with a blue background. You can hang a blue sheet and place some blue balloons behind him in the photo. Then set the cake in front of him and watch the fun start. All your photos will show what a festive day it was.

cake smash birthday party

Creative Cake Smash Ideas for Girls

You can have a memorable event and get some wonderful photos with these smash cake ideas for girls. Try one of these for some hilarious and adorable photos.

Give Her a Cake Smash Birthday Party With Friends

Sure, one smash cake is fun, but what if you had smaller smash cakes for all her friends? You can let everyone get in on the messy fun with extra cakes or birthday cupcakes designed to be smashed. For a great photo, set up all the cakes on a picnic blanket outside and get down at baby level to shoot.

Cute baby girls with birthday cakes

Photograph the Details of the Smash

You'll definitely want some photos of the entire cake smash scene with your little girl, but don't forget to capture her hands grabbing handfuls of cake with her pretty party dress in the background. It's these tiny moments that will be memorable and will help you create the story of the cake smash in a photo book or on your social media.

cake smash baby first birthday

Make Her a Cake Smash Princess

Set up a princess photoshoot outside in a pretty location and give her a crown to wear. Then let place the smash cake on a table and let her go crazy. The contrast between the funny mess of the cake smash and the pretty crown and location will make for some truly hilarious photos.

girl wearing a crown reaching for cake

Show Her Cake Smash From Above

Dress her in a pretty party dress and add lots of flowers and balloons to the background. Then get up on a chair to take your smash cake photos. Once she's managed to cover herself in frosting, call her name or make some funny noises to get her to look up. You'll end up with a wonderful perspective on the glorious mess of her first birthday.

cake smash 1st birthday

She Can Cry if She Wants To

Sure, everyone wants smiling baby photos, but the crying ones can be just as precious years from now. Sometimes, a cake smash party can be too overwhelming for a little one. If she starts to cry, snap a couple of pictures before you pick her up. They can be the funniest cake smash photos you get that day.

Fun Cake Smash Ideas for Either Gender

Smash cake ideas aren't limited by gender. These fun ideas work equally well for boys and girls who will get messy with a birthday cake.

Use a Rainbow Cake

Let your baby show his or her true colors with a rainbow cake. You can leave the frosting white or add lots of rainbow sprinkles and decorations. Either way, get ready for a color explosion when the destruction starts.

rainbow cake 1st brithday

Let Pets Play Along

Sure, it's not the most sanitary thing ever, but imagine the photos you'll get if you let your furry friends enjoy the cake smash with your one-year-old. To do this best, let the baby start the smashing and get some photos of that. Then bring in your well-trained pet and let them enjoy a little cake together.

Yorkshire Terriers birthday at home

Create a Backdrop That Shows Your Story

To give your cake smash party and photos lots of charm and context for guests, set up pictures from baby's first year in the background. The cake smash will still take center stage, but the other photos of your baby's life will show everyone how far he or she has come in this first year.

baby girl celebrating her birthday

Try Some Spoons

After the initial cake smash, bring out some utensils for your baby to use. His or her utter lack of table manners will make for some hilarious photos, and having something new to play with can keep a fussy baby happy for a little more time. Use plastic or metal spoons rather than forks, which can be dangerous for little ones hopped up on sugar.

baby boy eating his birthday cake

Let Baby Feed Everyone Else Too

If you can stand getting a little frosting in the face, it's fun to let Baby share his or her cake with the family. Stand close and ask for a bite, and you'll get some hilarious sharing photos you'll treasure for years to come.

Family celebrating baby boys' first birthday

Photograph Baby's Feet Too

When your baby really gets into a cake smash, it's not limited to the hands and face. Don't forget to take some photos of those frosting-covered tootsies. Leave the shoes off for the shot, since they'll only get covered in cake anyway.

Baby with an smash cake

Use a Birthday Banner in the Background

Add some fun color and festivity to your smash cake photos with a birthday banner. Choose something that's colorful and fun and make sure it's close enough to show up in the pictures. Take the photo from a low angle to get the banner in the picture too.

Baby girl celebrating first birthday

Get Grown-Ups in the Cake Smash Photos Too

Even though Baby is the center of attention, be sure to get plenty of pictures of all the special grown-ups next to the smashed cake and frosting-covered little one. These pictures will be precious later, and they'll be fun to share on your social media now.

mother and baby girl celebrating birthday

Bring On the Balloons

One helpful smash cake idea for either gender is to use balloons in the background of your photos. They add a festive feel to the pictures, and baby's love them. Tie a bunch of balloons to the highchair or place them on the ground behind your baby.

very first cake smash

Give Twins Their Own Smash Cakes

If you need smash cake ideas for twins, be sure to give them each a cake instead of having them share one. This makes for some hilarious photos, since at least one baby is sure to dump the cake upside down. Their interactions will be priceless too.

Twin Brothers Smash Cake

How to Do a Cake Smash

Conducting a cake smash session at a birthday party or in a photographer's studio is fairly easy. Follow these basic steps to make one happen:

  1. Pick out a cake design and flavor and either make plans for baking and decorating or place an order with your favorite bakery.
  2. Choose a festive outfit for your child to wear. Girls in special tutus, boys in jeans with their dad's tie, and either gender in a onsie with age or just a diaper are common outfits.
  3. Add any accessories, like hats or bibs, to your child.
  4. Set up the designated area so your photos will be festive. Use balloons, banners, and other fun items in the background.
  5. Alert guests and the photographer that your child is ready to smash the cake.
  6. Snap pictures as your child enjoys his cake!

Not all babies enjoy their cakes and some refuse to smash them. D'anne Dzon, former owner of Dm Cakes, has noticed the rise in smash cake requests at her business. Dzon has a few pointers on how to handle that situation. "Just let the child go at it on their own," she said. "Don't try to coerce them and egg them on. Just let them do what comes natural."

baby celebrating his First Birthday

Cake Ideas

A cake meant for smashing can take a variety of forms. From a simple cupcake with frosting to an elaborate tiered cake that matches the first birthday party theme, parents have plenty of choices.

Basic Designs

Dzon mentions good designs could include buttercream roses and ruffles. Other basic design ideas include:

  • Large cupcake-shaped cake
  • Ribbon cake with birthday party colors and a candle shaped like the number one
  • Polka dots or stripes
  • Cake shaped like the number one

Themed Designs

Many parents have the smash cake mimic the larger first birthday cake design but on a smaller scale. "I usually have mine match the main cake as close as possible with the same design," Dzon said.

Additional examples for themed smash cakes include:

  • Jungle or safari theme - Round smash cake with a zebra or lion face
  • Monkey theme - Smash cake shaped like a banana or featuring a monkey face
  • Beach theme - Round smash cake with beach ball stripes
  • Character theme - Character face on top of the cake
  • Farm theme - Animal face on top of the cake
  • Prince/princess theme - Crown image on top of the cake or around the sides
  • Teddy bear - Teddy's face on top of the cake
  • Sports - Cake in the shape of the ball or equipment

If you're making the cake yourself, Dzon said to "just have fun with it and let your imagination run wild; don't be afraid to try new things!"

Monster theme smash cake from Dm Cakes; http://www.dmcakes.com/

Flavor Tips

Dzon said that any flavor is fine, but most of her clients stick to vanilla due to allergy concerns. Parents who are concerned about their child's nutrition and health can opt for a cake that is gluten-free or make a sugar free icing. Don't let allergies or health worries stop your baby from smashing a cake if that's what you want to do in honor of his or her birthday.

Capture It With Photos

Once the cake has been made or purchased, it's time to let your child smash the cake! Capture the memories with your camera so you don't forget a single expression as the birthday baby enjoys the cake.

Party Pics

At the party, set up a designated area. A highchair or plain plastic tablecloth on the floor in front of a birthday banner or wall works best. Set your camera for optimal settings based on the lighting in your area. This means a shutter speed of at least 1/250 sec to capture the motion of sugared-up babies. Using a continuous shutter option, if you have one, will help you capture all the memories.

Cute Girl Eating

Professional Pics

The photographer will likely choose the best background and any accessories for the cake smash shoot. She may have a small table set up if you think your baby will not stay in one spot if the cake is on the floor. If you're planning on taking other photos during the same session, do the cake smash last. Otherwise, you may not be able to get your child cleaned up enough for the rest of the photos.

Make It a First Birthday to Remember

The cake smash is just part of what makes a first birthday party fun. If you're planning a first birthday party, take some time to research some great first birthday party ideas to help you make it an extra special event. Even though your little one might not remember, everyone else will love the party, and the photos will be an important part of your family album.

20 Smash Cake Ideas for Unforgettable 1st Birthdays