In honor of Sahl + White’s first birthday, we’re celebrating the best way we know how, with a DIY smash cake! I don’t care who you are, every first birthday needs a smash cake. Watching a one-year-old go to town on cake and frosting is literally one of the joys in life. Now that I think about it, maybe the world would be a better place if smash cakes were a standard for every birthday.
We didn’t exactly experience the smash part of the smash cake while celebrating Sahl + White’s first birthday (although now I’m thinking we really should), but I did make this cake for both Willy’s first and second birthdays. The first time around, I used store bought cake and frosting and focused on decoration. For his second birthday, the thought of letting a two-year-old have at it with a cake was less cute and actually really fricken terrifying, so it became more of a mini cake for Willy and his birthday friends. I still used a box cake mix, but did make a homemade banana cream cheese frosting to fancy it up a bit (although, let’s be real… we’re talking two-year-olds….).
Baking and making wise, I promise, if you know how to mix and pour, you can make this cake. Your decorations can be simple too – a few sprinkles is all you need. Here’s how I did it.
GATHER: A 28 oz canned good (for the cake mold) | 1 box cake mix | whatever is needed for the box cake (ingredients on back of box) – usually oil, eggs, water | 1 can of frosting
DO (make the cake):
1. Preheat oven according to the package instructions on your box cake mix.
2. Get the cake “mold” ready. And when I say ready, I mean empty out the contents of the and remove both ends of the can with a can opener. Remove the label and give it a quick wash. Cover one end with tinfoil.
3. Grease the inside of the can like you’ve never greased before. This step is really important for getting your cake out later.
4. Put the can on a cookie sheet (tinfoil side down) so it’s easy to move in and out of the oven without having to touch the actual can.
5. Mix up the cake mix and pour into the can, filling until 3/4 full.
6. Bake! Bake time depends on SO many factors – size of can, your oven, etc. If you used a 28 oz. can, it’s safe to start at 35 min. and go from there. My cake took 42 min., but again, start with 35, and insert a toothpick into the center – if it comes out clean, it’s ready! If it comes out with cake batter on it, put it in for another 3 min. and try the toothpick test again.
7. Once it’s ready, let the cake rest and cool a few min. before sliding a knife around the outside of the cake, between the cake and can, removing the tinfoil, and sliding the cake out of the can.
8. Let cool completely.
DO (frost and decorate the cake):
9. Once the cake is completely cool, start by cutting the cake into however many layers you want (or just chop off the top making it your desired height).
10. Assemble the cake with cake layer, frosting layer, repeat for as many layers as you have. Put the cake in the freezer for 15 min. This will reduce the crumbs that often times end up in the frosting when you frost the cake.
12. Put on the first layer of frosting. This is a super thin layer, again, acting as a barrier to reduce the cake crumbs in your frosting. Put back in the freezer for another 10 min.
13. Put on the final layer of frosting. Start with a huge dollop on the top of the cake and smear across the top of the cake and down the sides. Continue frosting until completely covered.
14. Store in the refrigerator until ready to decorate.
15. Decorate to your heart’s content! Willy’s second birthday was a party animals theme at the local zoo so animal crackers and plastic animals wearing party hats were a must.
And that’s that! Happy first birthday (and beyond) to all the birthday havers out there! This method really is foolproof for even the most inexperienced bakers. It makes the perfect smash cake or even just mini cake.
On another note – thank YOU for reading! I appreciate all your views and comments SO much. I’m still learning a lot on this little old blog-o-sphere, but stick with me; I promise this is just the beginning. There are a lot more arts + crafts, recipes, party plans, and travel ideas coming up!