This easy, healthy smash cake recipe is the perfect healthy alternative for baby’s first birthday. Packed with secretly healthy ingredients like applesauce and topped with a delicious homemade frosting, this healthy smash cake is a wonderful dairy-free, gluten-free and low sugar treat.
Healthy Smash Cake for Baby’s First Birthday
On May 3rd our sweet girl Hemsley Ann turned 1!
To celebrate we had an intimate gathering with family and had Hemsley smash her very own cake.
I had seen “smash cake” photography on Pinterest and I loved the idea and while I am by no means a talented baker or cake maker, I decided to put myself to the challenge and see if I could create a healthier and still super cute smash cake for miss Hemsley.
What Is a Smash Cake?
A “smash cake” is a small cake you bake for your little one on their first birthday that nobody really gets to enjoy but them because not only do they get to eat it, they get to “smash” into it as a one year old might do when plopped in front of a big delicious cake!
Usually they smash it with their hands (or feet…or both!) and go to town taking large mouthfuls of cake while all the guests stand around watching the hilarity and the cuteness ensue!
Because I’m a nutritionist it’s in my blood to make things healthier naturally. I truly can’t help it! A smash cake can really be any flavour and contain any ingredients, so a healthy smash cake will obviously contain healthier ingredients.
While this smash cake does contain sugar, it’s pure maple syrup and there’s not a lot of it.
How To Make a Healthy Smash Cake:
The cake is sweet, but not too sweet, and also has hidden fruit. I also decided to make the cake completely gluten and dairy free so that I could enjoy a slice too (in the case any of it was salvageable after Hemsley had made her way through it!).
Here’s the process!
- Prepare frosting ahead of time and chill.
- Prepare batter by whisking the dry ingredients in one bowl.
- Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl to combine.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until completely smooth.
- Divide the batter between two 6″ round cake pans (lightly greased with oil).
- Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick pulls clean in the centre of each cake and cool completely.
- Carefully slice the rounded top off of each cake to create a flat surface so the cakes can be stacked level.
- Layer the cake between frosting and decorate as desired.
Healthy Smash Cake Ingredients:
To make this smash cake healthier I swapped out a lot of regular cake ingredients for unrefined, gluten free, and dairy free ingredients. I’m doing my best to use a food philosophy with Hemsley that reflects my own; embracing balance, honouring our bodies and paying attention to how food makes us feel, while also enjoying indulgent foods in moderation.
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need:
- Gluten free flour (1 to 1 baking flour – Bob’s Red Mill brand)
- Almond Milk (unsweetened)
- Maple syrup
- Olive Oil
Smash Cake Frosting Ingredients:
To make the frosting I stuck with icing sugar to get a great consistency!
- Coconut Milk
- Organic Icing Sugar (for the frosting)
- Gold Sprinkles (found at most baking bulk stores, or in the baking section at the grocery store)
Watching Hemsley first cautiously poke at her smash cake then slowly but surely start “smashing” into it, taking handfuls and eating bites while also trying to share with all of us, was beyond cute. My heart. This sweet baby girl is so filled with joy, curiosity, love for others, and spunk, I have moments where I still shake my head in disbelief that she’s really ours.
Wow. Babies are truly spectacular and the growth that occurs in the first year of their lives is nothing short of miraculous. I am in awe at Hemsley’s resiliency, her ability to adapt and learn, and to see week-by-week the little person she is becoming.
How Many Layers Do You Need For a Smash Cake?
When it comes to layers, you can do as many as you want but I recommend at least 2 as this gives the cake the height it needs for great pictures and of course, optimal smashing! I used two cake layers in my healthy smash cake with frosting in between the layers and I think I could have easily gone with three layers for even more height!
What size of smash cake pan should I use?
I hope you have enjoyed all of this cuteness and education on making the best healthy smash cake for your little one!
P.S. I was actually able to salvage a little piece of the smash cake for myself and it really was delicious!
(2021) Julian’s 1st Birthday Update:
This Healthy Smash Cake was such a success for Hemsley’s 1st birthday I decided to make it for my son Julian’s 1st birthday as well.
For his cake I used this same recipe and 1.5x the recipe to make 3 cake layers (instead of two).
I decided to go with a Woodland theme inspired by Whisk Wander (see here) and decorated the cake in a “naked icing” style with vanilla icing. I topped the cake with “moss” made from matcha and shredded coconut and “dirt” made from hemp seeds and cocoa powder.
For added decor I used Schliech woodland toys, some greenery, and a small banner I made using card stock paper and wooden letters I found at Michaels craft store.
Julian loved his cake and it was another success! This just goes to show you can decorate this healthy smash cake however you like and make it your own for your little ones special day.
Be sure to pin the photos below the recipe to save this one for later!
It’s crazy seeing these two side by side how many similarities there are… genetics, always amazing me!
Christal // NITK