A Healthy Twist on the Smash Cake

By Nicole Irving, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief
Baby with a smash cake

It is the center of one of the most beloved first birthday photos… the smash cake. A miniature version of their bigger birthday cake, this pint size sweet treat is traditionally created for a serving of one — the birthday child — and placed in front of them for the hope of capturing an epic photo of faces while attempting to wrap their heads around what this sugary and gooey treat is. Whichever direction it went, you know a Kodak moment had been captured.

But, for some, the smash cake could be a child’s first taste of sugar, icing and cake itself. And while an icing explosion of blue, pink, green and purple makes for an amazing photo op, it could wreak havoc on their young tummies.

If you’re all in on the smash cake but want to save the total sugar rush, and possible meltdown, for another day, here are some options to consider for a minimal sugar explosion. (Note: these aren’t

completely void of sugar and sweetness!)


1. Carrot Cake

This is one time where they may eat their veggies without a fuss. A moist carrot cake with bits of fresh carrots, spices and a homemade cream cheese frosting may be a wonderful option.

2. Strawberry Shortcake

A fluffy angel food cake, fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream can make for a beautiful photo op and sweet treat.

3. Protein Pancake Stack

If they love pancakes, try making healthy protein pancakes and adding fresh berry compote and whipped cream with one candle on top. That can be a healthy sweet treat. (Can substitute pancakes for waffles.)

If they have a favorite cookie, stack a few together with homemade whipped cream in the middle, creating a mini layered cookie cake and let them go wild.

5. Pie Plate

No one says it has to be a cake. A miniature homemade apple pie can be a great substitute for cake. Fresh apples and spices are almost as yummy as apple sauce!

Still want to go all in on a more traditional vanilla or chocolate cake option? No worries.

Here are some ways to dial down the sugar!

1. Shrink the size

Nowhere does it say a 12-month-old child needs to eat and play with a 7-inch round cake all on their own. A smash cake can be a cupcake or made in the shape of a miniature bread loaf.

2. Make it instead of buy it

When you make it, you have more control over the ingredients. Adding in spinach, oatmeal, apple sauce and other ingredient substitutes can change the sugar content.

3. Take it away

That’s right, after a good photo op and a few bites, remove the bulk of the smashed cake, and allow for a miniature portion to be consumed.

Always consult pediatrician before giving new foods, sweets or cakes to your infant.

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