28 Sep
Mouthing Off: Smash Cakes!

Excuse us, but we’re old. The average age of our children is 5.3 years (note: Marinka was in charge of the math on that one and she claims that her “superpower is guesstimating.”) But because we’re out of the first birthday celebration business, we may be a bit behind the times. So help us, please.

We hear there’s a new Smash Cakes fad, yes? And by “new” we mean for the past couple of years. Like we said, we’re old and don’t always know what’s going on with the youngsters.

But from what we understand, smash cakes are made by parents who have enough time on their hands to not only make one cake to eat, but one cake that’s just given to the birthday baby as a Smash Cake. Wilton even has a special recipe for one.

A Smash Cake is a beautiful cake that the kid will smash, lick, paw and otherwise destroy. Sort of the snuff film of cakes, if you will.

We are confused by this.

First, we don’t understand why a one year old must be have an entire cake for his/herself. Doesn’t this set him up for a lifetime of disappointment? Because listen, buddy, the only time you’re getting a whole cake to yourself is if you score an Entenmann’s at the local deli or lock your mother in her closet on her birthday. And it makes us weepy to see all of that baked goodness go to waste. Sniff. (Also, we love this tip from TLC.com: “Brightly colored cake frosting makes a great looking cake, but the food dye can stain skin for a couple of days and wreck havoc on your clothes and upholstery. If you want to keep the destruction at a minimum, stick with white frosting for easier cleanup.“)

Second, we don’t understand why these parents aren’t a bit more concerned about the crazy sugar high that the kids get. We’re getting our blood sugar checked after just watching some of the videos online. It’s like seeing the final scene in Scarface, only instead of a giant mound of cocaine, it’s cake and nobody has machine guns. Yikes.

Third, why not give a kid a regular from-the-box cake or a $5.99 cake from the local supermarket? (Or one from across town, if you’re in the 1%.) Why go all out with a fancy schmancy cake?

Oh. Wait.

It’s about the parents, isn’t it?

It’s because they want an awesome recording of their child’s first birthday and what better way than through cake annihilation and tons and tons of photos to put on Facebook? Ah.

Now we get it.


21 Responses to “Mouthing Off: Smash Cakes!”


Comment by thepsychobabble.

We did a small smash cake with my 1st before I even had a facebook account. It’s fun to watch, it’s an adorable set of pictures, and she smashed way more than she ate.
My son flipped his upside down and ignored the frosting (he wasn’t a fan of anything sticky) in favor of the cake. They’re fun memories/photos.

And, honestly, at one year old…isn’t the whole birthday party mostly for the parents/guests? It’s not like the kids know what’s going on.

thepsychobabble Reply:

(I did, however, make our own. I’m not spending 20-30 on a deli cake (or more on a bakery cake!) to be smashed)


Comment by Jeni.

$20 Smash Cake? Really? How very bourgeois. We gave our children $100 bills to tear into pieces. Then they threw the bits into the air and we had our servants scurry about to gather the scraps but *without using hands.*

Oh, how we laughed! A grand time was had by all!

“Smash” cake. How cute…

dusty earth mother Reply:

You made me laugh, Jeni.


Comment by jen.

I had smash cakes at my boys first birthdays (they are four and two) because our local grocery store gives you a free one when you order a birthday cake. But what blows my mind is the new fad of having an actual professional photo shoot done where you bring a cake for the kid to smash and make a mess in a ridiculously fancy dress. I have seen a bunch of these on Facebook. So those little brats get to smash two cakes!!

Danielle Reply:

We didn’t do a smash cake at his birthday. We just had a dinky store bought one for the photos. The photos are beyond adorable too!

lfreece97 Reply:

I was going to say the same thing and my kids are 10 and 12. Now, it was a much smaller cake…kind of like what they give you at some of the restaurants.


Comment by Momma Be Thy Name.

Yeah. I’m not a fan of the smash cakes. At my son’s first birthday party, one of my friends coerced us into having my son dig his hands into his. I just don’t get it.


Comment by MommyTime.

Or, you could do it the old-fashioned way: put the kid in a high chair wearing not much but a diaper and a bib, give her a slice of pound cake or angel found cake frosted with fresh whipped cream, and watch her spread the cream all around on the tray, draw in it, get it all over her cute chubby cheeks, in her hair, and so on. The pictures? adorable. The mess? totally contained. The extra cost beyond a normal birthday cake? zero. Call me a party-pooper, but I’m totally with the Mouthies on this one.

Popinjay Reply:

Me too. The smash cake is newfangled marketing. Much better to have less photo op scheming and more real life.


Comment by The Week.

[…] Mouthing Off: Smash Cakes (I co-wrote this with my fellow Mouthies!) […]


Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

Not sure why people feel the need to buy a separate cake. We got great photos with just a regular slice of birthday cake. We gave it to her, she loved it, and smeared it everywhere. It was great.


Comment by Lise.

Smash cakes are not a new concept. My mother baked little tiered cakes for each of her children’s first birthdays, starting in 1954. I did the same for my children, and have done it for each of my grandbabies. It’s cute, it’s our family’s tradition, and more importantly, I can make something like low-sugar applesauce/banana bread for the baby and the rest of us can eat something decadently unhealthy.


Comment by Kati.

It’s not TOO new, my 13 year old had one on his first birthday. Actually, I’d never heard of one before that, but when I ordered his first birthday cake, the bakery told me that for first birthdays you got a free smash cake with your purchase. I was like “whaaaa??” And they explained that it gives the baby a little cake to smash and destroy and get all over himself while still preserving the other cake so it looks nice for everyone else. And I believe my reaction was “well, if it’s free…” and therefore he had one.
And so of course 19 months later my second son HAD to have one too, lest he grow up and need therapy for the rest of his life because we clearly loved his older brother more.

*note: my oldest son had to be physically forced to “smash” his cake, he had no real interest in it. And my youngest son had to be physically restrained from decorating the entire house (and his sisters) with HIS smash cake. So, personalities are a factor.

Also, blue icing is not a great idea for smash cakes.


Comment by MommaKiss.

We gave the kid a cupcake and let him at it. No huge photoshoot…no time for that shit. I’m with you. I think that means I’m old.


Comment by Tracy @ The UnCoordinated Mommy.

I agree, its not new. And it’s a lot of fun! And while the children at the time may not care I do know that they enjoy seeing the pictures when they get older.


Comment by Kelly.

Just adding to the others’ re: this not being a new phenomenon, although I believe the term “smash cake” may be new.

My oldest daughter is 25 and around here a baby’s 1st birthday tends to be a big deal with a bakery cake and a party.

Bakeries will add the small cake for the baby FREE with the cake purchase as the norm in our area for a 1st birthday.

I have these over-20 years old pics of my children at their parties with their own cakes and they’re simply meant to be cute celebratory moments of a tradition that seems to be standard here, but I honestly have no idea where it started or why.


Comment by mama elsie.

Sorry ladies, I just don’t get it, and as you can see from the apology in the first word I’m a Brit – never heard of it here. Why, why? Is the smash theme repeated over the years or is it a 1st birthday thing? Odd. I think my pals would think I’d lost my mind.


Comment by Carol.

you said y’all are old and the average age of your kids is 5.3, so that means I am Quite old, because the average age of my kids is 16.5. LOL So the whole idea of a smash cake annoys me even more. However, that being said, on my children’s first birthdays (which seems like eons ago) I did buy them each a tiny cake ($4.99 at the local grocery) so I could get pictures of them eating it however they wanted. (The oldest ignored it and the youngest ate a bit and threw the rest on the floor, where thankfully I had laced a plastic sheet). We just called it “the baby’s cake”, and then the adults had a yummy one I made. That was about as much effort as I put into it. Every year since that first one the have just had a piece of whatever cake I had for everyone else.


Comment by vicky.

I’m making a low sugar one tonight for his first birthday. I don’t agree with high sugar stuff for babies. I am doing it so my baby is free to express himself on his first birthday. There will be some brilliant pictures. I can’t stand it when people are obsessed with the mess a smash cake its expression that is all. Just like hand and feet printing but better. Oh I’m British too.


Comment by Angela smith.

Hello, couldn’t find you on cardsapp. how can I find you? thanks

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