Smash Cakes 101 – a Messy, Fun and Memorable Birthday Tradition


One of my favorite birthday traditions are smash cakes.

As much as I love the idea of traditions, I am awful at following through! One tradition that I’ve maintained with each of our 4 kids is the first birthday tradition of the baby having a smash cake.

baby eating smash cake messy

It’s always the highlight of our child’s first birthday party. When we had a celebration for Zeke’s first birthday we had the smash cake. While we each our kids had a smash cake at their first birthday, I learned that not everyone knows!

A friend of mine who is kidless was at Zeke’s birthday party. She was in awe of this fun birthday tradition!

Smash Cake 101 – Everything You Should Know About Smash Cakes 

This got me thinking and talking to a few people who don’t have kids. Come to find out, they had no idea about smash cakes either!

Let’s fix this with a little smash cake 101. Here is a little 4-1-1 on the birthday smash cake tradition!

What is a Smash Cake?

A smash cake is typically a small cake (you can make this healthy if you’d like, but typically just a normal cake). A larger cake is served to the guest, but the smash cake is for baby alone.

zeke first birthday cake

Smash Cakes are a Recent Trend

Smash Cakes have become popular in the last 10 years. So don’t get all mad at your mom if you didn’t have one at your first birthday party.

smashing cakes connor first birthday

Smash Cake History

The history of the smash cake is a mystery. Google can’t tell me who created this!

baby cake smashed

A smash cake is typically given to a baby on their first birthday. (Though, this is not a rule! Make your own birthday rules and traditions. We did a smash cake more than just the first year.)

Baby’s First Taste of Sugar

The idea of the smash cake is that it’s your baby’s first real taste of sugar, their first birthday cake!

preparing smash cake

Not All Babies Like Smashing the Cake

Not all babies go after the cake. Our first child didn’t care about it. Our third hated his hands messy! Some kids LOVE the sugar, and often this is their first taste of sweet.

touch baby first cake

In order to prepare for the potential mess that a smash cake can bring, put a disposable table cloth on the floor and strip your child down to his diaper. Yes, it will be a huge mess.

zeke first birthday smash cake
zeke first birthday smash cake

Have a towel, wash cloth and soap ready for the post smash cake clean-up! We just threw our youngest kid, Zeke in the sink right after he played and ate his cake. This is chocolate, not poo!

Smash Cakes Don’t Have to Be Just for First Birthday Parties

Smash cakes aren’t limited to first birthdays! I have a friend who had a 30 year old smash cake. These birthday cakes are fun for all ages, but are extra special for a baby’s first birthday!

second birthday cake

We purchased a small cake for our 2-year-old Izaiah for his second birthday. He LOVED it, except for the most part, he used a fork.

Priceless Smash Cake Photos

Have your camera ready for the smash cake photos! The reactions and faces are absolutely priceless with these smash cake photos! (Also don’t forget these 7 birthday photos you must take!)

enjoy the cake

From our birthday memes, this smash cake screams HAPPY Birthday!

cake clean up

Mama, enjoy these years and yes, the smash cakes are an absolute mess. But mama, it’s worth it.

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Digital Molly
Digital Molly, the esteemed editor at, is recognized as a luminary in the humor niche. Her expertise spans the creation and curation of memes, enriching her content with laughter and a deep passion for humor. Beyond memes, Molly covers diverse topics such as work, mom life, technology, yoga, parenting, and travel. Her commitment to engaging content makes her a trusted source in the humor community. Off the blog, Molly shares her humorous and authentic approach to life on Instagram.