If you’re looking for a healthy cake for your baby’s first birthday, this is your recipe! This First Birthday Smash Cake is super moist without any added sugars or oils for your baby’s first time eating cake. This cake is cute, tasty, whole grain, and perfectly smashable!
Baby’s First Birthday Cake
Here’s the dilemma. You want your baby to have an adorable, memorable time squishing his chubby little hands in a smash cake on their first birthday. But you don’t want your baby to have lots of sugar or artificial colors and flavors quite yet.
The solution is easy……make your own smash cake! A smash cake is supposed to be a cake that you give your baby on their first baby to basically dig their hands into and eat while everyone takes photos and oohs and ahs. (which ironically usually makes the baby nervous and apprehensive about digging into the cake)
My First Birthday Smash Cake is moist, light, tasty, and irresistible to smash. And it’s made from simple whole food ingredients like fruit, whole milk, and whole grain flour so you can feel good about letting your baby dig in.
You won’t find any added sugars or oils in this cake, either. It’s the perfect recipe to help you keep fun traditions while avoiding ingredients you’re not ready for your baby to have yet.
Ingredients in First Birthday Smash Cake
- Fruit Puree – This recipe calls for peaches and banana. You can use a variety of different fruits to make the puree for this recipe. Pears, banana, applesauce, strawberries, or mango.
- Whole Milk – gives this cake a good texture and flavor. See below for milk substitutes.
- Egg – one large egg. Ff your baby can’t have eggs, see below for substitutes.
- Vanilla – adds yummy flavor.
- Flour – you can use all-purpose flour, whole wheat, or even oat flour.
- Cream – heavy cream for the frosting.
- Maple Syrup – this adds a subtle sweetness in the frosting.
How to Make A First Birthday Cake
This cake is easy to make! The basic concept: mix the wet ingredients in one bowl, the dry ingredients in another, then stir them all together to finish the batter.
- There’s one unconventional ingredient in this recipe, and that’s the fruit puree. Use your food processor to blend a banana with half a cup of sliced peaches. It’s OK to use frozen (and thawed) peaches here. Fresh also works, and you can leave the skin on if you like. Just make sure you blend it well.
- When it comes to the size and shape of your cake, you’ve got options. We used two six-inch diameter pans to make a mini layer cake. But you can also pour the batter into a standard-sized cupcake tin to make cupcakes. Keep in mind that the batter is for a baby-sized cake. So the amount of batter you get with the recipe will only fill half a standard-sized muffin tin. You should double the recipe if you want to make a full-sized sheet of cupcakes.
- Bake the cake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center, then cool on a rack.
- The frosting is simply whipped cream! Use a stand-mixer or hand beaters to whip heavy cream. Add maple syrup for a bit of sweetness.
- Frost cake when cooled and add fresh fruit for garnish, and a candle of course!
Ingredient Substitutions for First Birthday Cake
- Dairy–Free: use almond or coconut milk in place of regular whole milk. Instead of heavy cream, use a can of coconut cream or full fat coconut milk. Make sure it is chilled and then place in a chilled mixing bowl. Beat for 30 seconds with a mixer until creamy.
- Gluten-Free: Instead of wheat flour, you can use oat flour 1:1 ratio. You can make your own by blending oats in a blender to make a finer powder, or just purchase from the store.
- Egg-Free: You can replace the egg in this recipe with a few different options:
- Carbonated Water (it really works!): 1/4 cup carbonated water = 1 large egg
- Baking Powder Mixture: 2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil = 1 large egg
- Flax Egg: 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water = 1 large egg
Frequently Asked Questions about First Birthday Cake
- Can babies have cake on their first birthday? Yes! It is perfectly healthy for your baby turning 1 to have cake. It is important for our kids to learn to have a healthy relationship with food and to know how to manage their food environment. This is a great way to help them learn.
- What is a Smash Cake? A smash cake is basically a tiny cake meant for just your baby on their first birthday. The idea is that they will dig into it and ‘smash’ it while eating.
- What kind of cake is this cake recipe? The flavor is most like a mild tasting spice cake, but more fruity.
- Can other fruits be used in this recipe? Yes! You can use whatever kind of fruit you like – as long as it adds up to 1/2 cup fruit puree. I would recommend bananas, peaches, applesauce, strawberries, or pears.
- Can I use baby food for the fruit puree? Yep – that is a great idea.
- How dense is this cake? If you make it as the recipe states, it is a very moist and somewhat dense cake kind of like a zucchini bread.
- Can I make the cake ahead of time? Absolutely! In fact I would recommend it since the day of your child’s birthday can get kind of hectic. Make and bake the cake, and let it cool. Then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer until ready to frost for the big day!
Ideas for Decorating A Smash Cake
Now’s the fun part. Indulge your creative impulses! Here are a few fresh and fun ideas for dressing up your baby’s first birthday cake:
- Decorate with fresh berries. Cut strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries make this cake naturally beautiful.
- Get a “1” candle, or another themed cake topper. Is your party nautical? Elmo-themed? Unicorns? Dinosaurs? Check Amazon for cake toppers that match your baby’s bash.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch to the whipped cream frosting if you’re assembling your cake ahead. This prevents the frosting from melting and losing its shape while you’re waiting to serve it.
- Sprinkle dye-free sprinkles on top. We like the colors of this brand.
More Healthy Cake Ideas
- 1/2 cup peaches see notes for other options
- 1 small banana
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup optional
Whisk your fruit puree, milk, egg, and vanilla together.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Slowly pour your liquid ingredients into the dry, and mix until the dry ingredients are all wet.
Pour your batter into a greased 6 inch round pan (Double ingredients to make a double layer).
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until you can stick a knife through the center and it comes out clean.
Whip cream until light and fluffy. Stire in maple syrup for added sweetness.
Frost cake and decorate with fresh berries or sprinkles. Refridgerate until your baby is ready to smash!
Fruit Puree Options: You can use applesauce, pears, banana, strawberries, mango, or peaches. These can be fresh, frozen or canned. Just bring to room temperature before pureeing.
Serving: 1cake | Calories: 1178kcal | Carbohydrates: 147g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 32g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 335mg | Sodium: 1444mg | Potassium: 993mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 2533IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 535mg | Iron: 8mg
I’m a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.