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35 Comments

So apparently people are actually buying cakes with the sole intention of destroying them for a photo. For realsies, it’s a thing, and it’s called the cake smash. And if you’re anything like me, the thought of a celebration cake smashing, smooshing or squishing is pretty horrifying. But that’s exactly what some people are doing ON PURPOSE when their kidlet turns one.

After doing a little research into this phenomenon it seems nobody knows exactly how this idea came about, or is willing to take responsibility for the thousands of cake lives lost. What we do know is that for the last 10 years it has become an increasingly popular addition to many 1st birthday celebrations in the US, and it’s gaining ground here in the UK.

But what is a smash cake and WHY would anyone think it’s a good idea?!

Cake Smashing

Visual description of a cake smash | Pic via Today Online

Well, essentially the idea is to put a cake- made and bought specifically for this purpose- in front of your 1 year old and let them wreak havoc on it. The result is meant to produce delightfully cute scenes, as your baby frolics with the frosting, demolishes the sponge and generally makes a giant mess of things. Generally to be shared on social media (because cute kids and cake is INSTAGRAM GOLD!).

Now this doesn’t sound like an obvious photo op to me, but supposedly it’s so adorable that pro photographers even offer smash cake packages to capture baby’s first taste of refined sugar. Because- obviously- we should be celebrating the moment our child starts to consume processed food!

And if you’re thinking about the inevitable mammoth clean-up, don’t worry, the trend is way ahead of you. Nowadays these photoshoots/parties often include a post-cake-smash-bath-tub-clean-up. Because babies and bubbles are a whole other level of cute, right?

Repeat after me: “Cake belongs in my tummy and not on the floor!”

Baby Cake Smash

Baby not into cake? Just bring cake to baby! | Pic via themommyproject.com

There’s no denying that messy babies and cute cakes are a killer combo in the awwww stakes, but I still can’t believe this has grown into a thing!

It's a contrived setup, and most of the stories I’ve come across mention babies being coaxed into trying the cake, or worse, the adults squishing the cake up to try and get the munchkin to play with it! I'm not really sure how or when engineering Pinterest-worthy scenes like this, showing the world that your kid is having fun on their birthday bashing up a cake, was normalised.

I just can’t get behind a trend that willingly destroys DELICIOUS cake that was beautifully baked and frosted, it’s too much of a waste of time, ingredients and tastiness, no matter how good the pics are! Maybe, just maybe a cupcake mashed up would get that perfect 'gram, while leaving the other 11 out of the dozen intact.

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35 Responses

izzy
izzy

November 29, 2020

I came to this article because I was browsing a handmade pottery website that sold custom “Smash” cake sets. It was $175 for the cake stand and cake. I had no idea what a smash cake was. I was appalled to find out that it is for babies! I can completely understand baking you own cake for smashing purposes but the idea of purchasing such lavish expensive cakes or cake stands for the sole purpose of smashing? ABSURD. Yes sensory play is great and I love kids but I find the commercialization of this event and reveal parties completely frivolous and what the youth would call appallingly extra. But if one has the money who cares I suppose.

Danielle
Danielle

November 23, 2020

Sorry, but this post is just ridiculous… I’m baffled how someone can get so worked up about a birthday celebration for a one-year-old?
A cake is meant to be eaten, and it’s used for celebration. Babies learn to eat by being messy, and discovering new foods and flavors is a joy I think all people can get behind. What on earth is so offensive to you as to let a baby explore new textures and flavors in a celebratory manner by getting them a small, personal cake for such a major milestone?
It’s not only about the pictures (which, by the way, most people I know don’t bother with a professional photographer), it’s about the experience, and seeing your baby’s joy as everyone sings happy birthday and cheers them on.
Smash cakes are harmless fun. I don’t agree with parents forcing the ‘smash’, but most parents just want their babies to have a delightful and delicious party. If you don’t want to have that kind of celebration for your kid, that’s fine, but stop judging other people for getting some joy out of it.
Lighten up!

Mari
Mari

October 20, 2020

Like some other commenters shared, it is about the play, the sensorial fun of the creamy frosting, and getting all messy. That is what being a baby is about! If you are worried about the cake, that’s pretty sad! Valuing food over an unforgettable experience for the entire family and a fun activity for a miraculous little human who is growing, learning and magically becoming an independent person, who just survived his or her first 12 months of life! That is a more than enough reason to “sacrifice” a combination of flour, sugar, and some hours of work. That little life deserves that and much more, if you ask me! May the tradition continue and may many cameras/phones around the world continue immortalizing these adorable moments forever! My baby turns one in a few weeks, you better believe it that she will be smashing a cake and having all the fun of sensory play with that yummy and sweet creation💗🙌🏽

Jana Price
Jana Price

September 28, 2020

Such a nasty tradition! ( if you want to call that Made up thing a tradition!) Very gross and the so are the First birthday pictures!
What The Hell is cute about your baby getting filthy ??

Tara
Tara

September 22, 2020

you all are NO FUN! Its just cake. It’s often free when you buy a sheet cake, so no one is spending $40 to let a baby mush a cake. The concept of manners isn’t destroyed by 15 minutes of messiness. I am adamant about keeping images of my son off the internet… so I no social media validation aspect for me..

When he turns one, he’s going to mush up a cake and I’m going to take pictures for his baby album. Messy babies are very cute.
Get over yourselves.

Collette McRobert
Collette McRobert

September 09, 2020

I think smash cakes are ridiculous! First of all what are you teaching kiddies? Secondly it is such a waste. I was at a one year old birthday party where the parents shoved the babies face and hands into the cake and there were a group of 5 – 7 year old kiddies at the party and they decided that they would do the same thing and proceeded to shove their fingers and hands to all the other cupcakes.

Ann
Ann

August 31, 2020

Oh boy… Eating gets messy with babies who are learning to feed themselves. “Playing” with their food is an important part of learning about new textures and how to get food into their mouths to swallow. Sure, many (if not most) people do smash cakes because it’s a trend but I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating your baby’s birthday by doing something special for them and allowing them to explore and enjoy their food.
Put a cake in front of a 1 year old and things will get messy; which is mainly why I would make the cake myself (also because babies don’t need added sugar at 1) instead of buying a $40 cake to get destroyed.

Irene
Irene

August 11, 2020

I gave my children who are now 43 and 39 a small sponge cake covered with cream and strawberries of their very own. Toddlers are very much into exploring the feel and taste of food and this was a fun way to celebrate their birthdays while honoring their need to explore their food. The term smash cake is new to me, but the idea is basically what I did years ago.

Erica
Erica

June 02, 2020

I’m almost 30 years old and my dad did this for my first birthday. Its still one of his fondest memories he is so proud of the cake he made himself just for me. My twins will be 1 in a couple weeks and I’m going to make them each a small cake and then cupcakes for everyone else. It’s cute and fun and a family tradition for many I think social media just put it in the forefront for us.

Cynthia Mayville
Cynthia Mayville

April 16, 2020

I am 64 years old & before I moved to Michigan 14 years ago I had never heard of a smash cake. And as far as I’m concerned, it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Yes. Babies do smash & mush around their food. That is a normal everyday thing. But to buy a cake (& people here actually often hire photographers) to be used specifically to be smashed into a million pieces & to cover the baby & make an absolute mess? I’m with you. I just don’t get it. Seems rather idiotic to me. And a waste of perfectly good cake. Most parents, I would think, would be glad when their child is old enough to eat without needing to be bathed afterward. Sheesh!

Catherine Ervin
Catherine Ervin

February 12, 2020

I realize that this post and it’s comments should not be upsetting me as much as they are, but for some reason I’m highly annoyed! First off, what do you mean by you don’t know when this trend started?? I’m…how about from the time birthday cakes were invented. Babies have always smashed up their cakes if you put it infront of them. And why shouldn’t they? It’s their birthday in the first place! Second, whoever said that this is a terrible way to teach table manners, you’re kidding right? Babies are supposed to mess with their food, it’s how they learn. Plus I’m pretty sure that ONE day is not going to imprint bad table manners on your child for all eternity. Third, the whole point of a second ‘smash’ cake is to make it simple and small and from healthier ingredients that are better suited for babie’s tummy. Lastly, not all parents do this for a photo op. I did it with mine because, crazy thought here, they loved it! Of course I took pictures to show them later in life and to remember it by. The only thing I agree with you on is that it’s outrageous to force it on a baby for photo ops. And it’s silly to pay tons of money for an expensive “smash cake” when it can be quickly and cheaply made at home. Let’s not forget who’s birthday it is and the baby we are celebrating. Their enjoyment should be number one priority. So if my one year old wants to destroy her cake and make a mess and it brings a smile to her face then have at it little baby! And if she has no interest in “smashing” her cake then cool. That’s alright by me too. It’s your birthday little baby. YOU enjoy it whatever way you want!!!

tate
tate

February 03, 2020

You realize that no matter how delicious your cake is, babies actually can’t enjoy it? Babies have very delicate stomachs, and more often than not, smash cakes are baked with whole wheat flour, banana, and very little sugar. they’re made to be destroyed and enjoyed in small occasional nibbles, not eaten by the slice. and it’s not mainly about getting pictures like this article leads to believe. Children, especially 1 year olds, have a tendency to play with their food and understand what they’re putting in their mouths. However, this is frowned upon in everyday household activities. The idea of giving them a whole cake just to wreck is supposed to be a celebratory thing for them, a special day for messiness! You clearly don’t understand how much fun it is for toddlers and children to smash what shouldn’t be smashed. And for the record, even if you put a big, beautiful #1 cake in front of them, all cut up for their enjoyment (mainly the adults enjoyment), they would still love to smash it to bits.

Babies are a tricky thing, I know. But you should try to understand that they’re not little adults.

Hanna
Hanna

January 10, 2020

This reads like satire – a post written by someone pretending to be judgemental. Then I read the comments and people really are angry about people taking photos of their toddler messily eating cake on their birthday. It’s “privileged” and “for chavs” and “unhealthy”. Wow, people get angry and judgemental about everything. It’s a “trend” in that parents are getting higher quality photos than the ones they had taken of them in the 80s and 90s. People have been taking these photos for decades.

I guess we all know what not to buy from you.

Jay
Jay

November 11, 2019

A smash cake?! Never heard of it. Don’t understand it. Seems like the epitome of privilege. It’s obviously not about the child either. If your one year old isn’t happy with one cake…I don’t know what you’ve done to them. Seems like something people do just to post a picture. Eye roll

Timpano
Timpano

November 10, 2019

Smashing cakes have gone back to when I was a kid and I’m 36. The only difference is it was a gigantic cake and smash cakes are not. Smash cakes are a heck a lot smaller than normal cakes. A cupcake doesn’t do it. Imagine a big candle on a cupcake. Yeah that would look wonderful 🙄🤦‍♀️.
Kids are meant to play with their food. It’s how they understand what they are eating.

Sooz
Sooz

July 07, 2019

Am I the only person who finds photos of babies covered in cake pretty revolting? I’ve seen the photo shoots, dress a baby up then cover it in cake, then bath it .. all for the camera? My children had a birthday cake shared with the family and they had a slice of it. Yes they made a mess, no I didn’t feel any urge to take photos of them daubed in food.

Elena
Elena

May 02, 2019

😂😂

LNC
LNC

January 27, 2019

I did a cake smash and I love the photos! It was totally worth doing as a milestone (also got a free photographer and personalised cake and signage, would have not paid for it otherwise).

If one day of my baby eating a few mouthful of cake and guest eating the leftovers is a crime, then I am guilty (and a chav supposedly)! 😉

Lilly
Lilly

January 27, 2019

I totally agree, when I turned one i got a biscuit with some fruit on it. I was happy with it. And by the way I never missed pictures of me smashing a cake

Wendy Diedrich
Wendy Diedrich

January 27, 2019

I’m not going to hate on your post. I too think a beautiful cake shouldn’t be destroyed like that. But, this phenomena goes further back then ten years in the US.
I was born in 1963, I have the photos from my first birthday in 1964, where I destroyed a large two-layer birthday cake. Everyone I knew growing up did this, and my Facebook feed is still filled with family and friends doing the same.
I think the only difference, is that the smash cake is more elaborate then in days past.

Kassidy
Kassidy

January 27, 2019

Completely agree why if ya really wanna see ya baby smash a cake up give them a simple cupcake you could make yaself why waste someone’s hard work and their hard earned money?

Amy
Amy

January 27, 2019

I assume you’re mortified by newlyweds smashing cake in each other’s faces? Is it a waste of valuable cake or toxic rubbish, I lost track. One day of a few bites of cake teaches NOTHING people. Plus, last time I checked this is exactly how one year olds eat literally everything. If you birth another human and keep them alive for a year, then want a pic of them smearing cake everywhere then you get that. No big deal. But no worries, I guarantee parents don’t care what you think and judging parents is pretty unoriginal content.

Katie
Katie

October 17, 2018

I’m kind of in agreement, it teaches kids to mess around with their food and a waste of money. Though for our daughters birthday I’m making a tiny healthy cake for her to try on the day and having an adult proper cake for her birthday… which will be smashed down with a glass of fizz!

Shen Shen
Shen Shen

October 08, 2018

Get a grip. I highly doubt that people are spending hundreds of pounds on a cake for a baby to smash it. Its personal choice and something fun to look back on, I dont see the problem. And I dont know why people concern themselves with what other do!

Shona Rose
Shona Rose

September 29, 2018

Completely agree. I hate the fact that this is gaining in popularity in the Uk. My children didn’t taste refined sugar until age 3, and they were hardly missing out. I would never have let them stuff themselves with unnecessary toxic rubbish just to provide a ludicrously staged photo “opportunity”! Ugh. Lets be honest, before age 3 or 4, birthday celebrations are purely for the adults and their friends.

Salsie
Salsie

September 24, 2018

IT’S FOR CHAVS

Ewa
Ewa

August 21, 2018

I hate seeing smashcakes it’s just so ridiculous… children year after year have less good manners and you even encourage them to be worse for fun yey

Pat
Pat

August 01, 2018

@MCK take a chill pill! Calm down and take a deep breathe. It will all be fine. Ommmmm

MCK
MCK

July 31, 2018

They’re called smash cakes because that’s what a baby does….smash something to try and get it in his or her mouth. For each of my children’s first birthdays, I baked something small and simple with easy whipped topping. I did something a little more elegant for guests. What is ridiculous is suggesting a recipe with considerably more complicated elements as though either a one year old should be skilled with a fork or shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy the cake at all. Are you even a parent? It’s a first birthday with a cake that many people turn down and much ends up in the trash anyway. Get a grip.

Linda
Linda

June 08, 2018

What a great way to start early in teaching a child some manners when it comes to eating and proper behavior at the table. “Oh look, little Suzie Q has a nostril full of cake and is having difficulty breathing! This will be a great photo for FB. Not many can compare with this!” Adults with that attitude are anything but adult.

Donna
Donna

May 30, 2018

I think it’s a dumb “tradition”. What’s wrong with a square or slice of cake for baby to eat/play with? Over-indulgent. Also,the staged nature is annoying. Just my opinion! But, as another poster, said, “To each his own”. Despite the dopey nature of a smash cake (not to mention waste), it’s not really hurting anyone. Same as Gender Reveal cakes.

Alisa Evans
Alisa Evans

May 17, 2018

When my 21 year old son turned one I baked him his own personal cake. It made great pics. So imagine my surprise when I heard they had come out with “smash cakes”! These people just didn’t know me because I have 11 years on the supposed 10 year history of its popularity! IJS

Sharon
Sharon

March 28, 2018

So when did this become a smash cake. We used to always have a little cake just for baby to eat & get messy with so they didn’t destroy the other cake for the adults & other kids. We just called it their cake. And if u can keep a 1 yr old from destroying any food put in front of them , including a slice of cake, well….

Annie
Annie

March 19, 2018

I see in the pics that the kids are often messily eating the cake, not just smashing them. The cakes are made for that purpose, and are small and of uncomplicated in design. I don’t see the problem with doing it honestly, as cake making is a form of temporary art. All cakes, no matter what they are for will be destroyed at the end of whatever their purpose was – many ending up in the toilet.

The only thing that disturbs me about fads like this is the contrived element. I like more candid, ‘organic’ photos.

But to each their own.

Stevo
Stevo

June 17, 2017

FINALLY someone who understands that cake should be consumed and not obliterated!

Loved your post. Love your delectable selection, too!

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