Healthy Smash Cake

healthy smash cake

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)?!healthy smash 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.

healthy smash cake

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 frost 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

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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and butter and flour a 6" springform pan*
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the banana, strawberries and applesauce together in a blender and mix on high until completely pureed.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

  1. 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. 
  2. Frost the bottom layer of the cake first, then follow with the top layer. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve*


  1. You could also use two 4 1/2" pans. Reduce cooking time to about 20-23 minutes.
  2. 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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Let your baby have all the fun of their very own smash cake, free of refined sugars and unhealthy fats.



  1. Katherine! That is such a super cute cake for Walter! I bet he loved that and it’s healthy but yummy at the same time!! He’s such a cutie and I love all those baby cars behind him! hahaha! Looks like you all had fun! Have a great weekend!

  2. Love that this is a healthy smash cake!! I will definitely have to try this next time I make a smash cake!! Xoxo 🙂

  3. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen

    I love that pic of Walter diving into the cake mouth-first! I wish it was socially acceptable for me to do that :). It looks like he had a great first birthday! Have a great week, Katherine!

  4. Hello. Your photo instructions stated milk but couldn’t find it in the ingredients list. How shall I go about it? thanks!

  5. Could I use just regular 9 inch cake pans? I’ve never used a springform pan, and I don’t own one!

  6. I want to make this recipe for my baby girl. Can I make it one day ahead and store in the fridge? I can wait for the frosting until tomorrow but I’d like to get the cake done before.

  7. Can this be made as cupcakes instead? Sounds really yummy!

  8. Can the cake sit out over night without the frosting?

  9. This looks delicious! My hubby is GF so we don’t use regular flour in my kitchen. With cup4cup gf flour I am assuming I will just have to add a little more flour and some xanthan gum. Ideas?

  10. hi it really important to me to use a super healthy cake recipe for my little girl’s upcoming birthday. But will be on holiday at the time. Is this recipe suitable for freezing?

  11. I want to try this for my twins 1st birthday! Could I use blueberries instead of strawberries?

  12. Hello! This cake looks great! Would you please tell me what you used for sprinkled decoration of it?

  13. Hi! This sounds delicious. I’m going to make it for my son. Could it be made in a 7inch pan? That is the smallest that I have.

  14. Maranda Taylor

    Hi! I’m a bit confused on the frosting. Did you buy heavy whipping cream to make your own or did you use, already prepared whipped cream. Sorry for what’s probably a silly question!

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  16. Where did you get those gorgeous sprinkles?

  17. Amanda Rosenberg

    Hi there- my little one is allergic to eggs, could I add a little more apple sauce in sub of the x1 egg?

  18. Hello! Do you know if a frozen banana would change the cake at all? (I would dethaw it first, of course) :p Thanks!

  19. Could I substitute an extra banana for the strawberries? My little guy has a strawberry allergy

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