SMASH cake!! What every 1 year old needs for their birthday. Both hands in, face covered in icing, cake everywhere. Babies go from not being able to eat ANY solid food for the first 4-6 months of their life, to sloooowly adjusting to the tastes and textures of real food, to solely surviving on solids.
For most babies, I assume these first few solids are super-duper healthy and full of nutrients, carefully purchased and cooked by their loving caregivers. I love the idea of presenting a little baby with a giant cake, covered in sweet stuff, for them to enjoy all on their own. I’m pretty sure 99% of babies short-circuit when suddenly faced with the reality of their very own cake.
My second child, Walter, just turned 1 on Tuesday and I served him this healthy smash cake (read more about my year with Wally here). Wally took one look at the cake and thought, “challenge accepted”. Evidence below.
Smash cakes are not a new concept, but a lot of parents I know don’t want their 1 year old child filling up on loads of sugar and fat (pssst – I’m one of them). I totally believe in moderation, and a sweet treat now and then, but there’s just something about letting a 1 year old have free rein on a super sugary cake. SO, I created this much healthier version that I could feel good about watching Wally devour. I made something similar for Oscar on his 1st birthday, but Oscar has never been quite the enthusiastic eater that Wally is, so I probably could have given him the real McCoy and still been safe. (Mini orange carrot cake)?!
This cake is more of a healthy muffin than a cake. It’s made with whole wheat flour, whole milk, and a homemade fruit puree of banana, strawberry and unsweetened applesauce. I told you – healthy! You will want to choose a very ripe banana to ensure it adds enough sweetness.
Combine the puree with the milk, egg and vanilla extract, and then gently combine it with your dry ingredients. Pour the cake into your prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I made my cake using this adorable little 6″ springform pan I found at Zest Kitchenware. You can also get one from Amazon.
Once the cake was cool, I used dental floss to create 2 layers. You could also use two 4 1/2″ pans and have an automatic double layer. There is probably a more sophisticated way to create layers, but I love using dental floss. It works so well!! Hold both ends of the floss taught in your hands and just pull through the whole way.
The “icing” is simply unsweetened whipping cream with a tablespoon of maple syrup. You could also add a little of the leftover fruit puree for some color and extra flavor. I liked the idea of a bright white cake. Prepare the whipped cream no longer than a few hours before you’re going to ice and serve the cake, to ensure it holds its shape.
If you’ve got a baby approaching the big “1” you’ll be happy to know that you can have all the fun of a smash cake without all the junk! I can confirm that my little buddy had no complaints.
Happy birthday Walter!
Healthy Smash Cake
Yield 1 smash cake
Let your baby have all the fun of their very own smash cake, free of refined sugars and unhealthy fats.
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 banana, very ripe
- 3 strawberries
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350F and butter and flour a 6" springform pan*
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Place the banana, strawberries and applesauce together in a blender and mix on high until completely pureed.
- In another small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the fruit puree, the milk, egg and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and carefully stir with a large wooden spoon until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before running a knife along the edge of the pan and removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- If wanting to create 2 layers, use a long piece of dental floss to cut the cake through the middle. Wrap the cooled cake in saran wrap until ready to place on a plate and frost.
Whipped Cream Frosting
- Place a mixing bowl and beater in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours before you are about to prepare the whipped cream. Pour the whipped cream into the chilled bowl, and beat on high with an electric mixer until the cream is the consistency you prefer.
- Frost the bottom layer of the cake first, then follow with the top layer. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve*
- You could also use two 4 1/2" pans. Reduce cooking time to about 20-23 minutes.
- I recommend frosting the cake no more than 3-4 hours before serving to ensure the whipped cream maintains its shape.
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