Home » Kid-Friendly » Healthy Smash Cake

Healthy Smash Cake

This easy healthy smash cake recipe is the perfect compromise for your baby’s first birthday cake. Your little one will be all smiles with their very own healthy smash cake, naturally sweetened and perfectly sized just for the birthday baby!

healthy smash cake

*Please note* this post has been updated as of June, 2019. The recipe remains the same, but the post has been updated to include a video at the bottom of the post to show you how easy these are to make!
This post may contain affiliate links, which earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

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.

What is a smash cake?

Smash cakes are a relatively new concept. They’re typically a small frosted cake made just for the birthday baby. As much fun as it is to watch a baby go bonkers over a cake, 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

What flavor cake is best for a 1st birthday?

When you think of cake, you usually think of chocolate or vanilla, but this healthy smash cake recipe creates more of a big healthy strawberry-banana 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, so there’s no added sugar.

How do you make a healthy smash cake?

After you prepare the fruit puree, combine it with the milk, egg and vanilla extract, and then gently combine it with the 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” for the healthy smash cake 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 about his very own healthy smash cake!

Happy birthday Walter!

healthy smash cake

Since you’ve arrived at this page, I’m guessing you’re into all of the healthy recipes for your kiddo. I’ve got some other amazing kid-friendly recipes that you need to check out. Most of them don’t contain any added sugar!

And be sure to PIN this recipe for later!!

Print
healthy smash cake

Healthy Smash Cake


  • Author: Katherine
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 1 smash cake 1x

Description

Let your baby have all the fun of their very own healthy smash cake, free of refined sugars and unhealthy fats. This easy healthy smash cake recipe is the perfect compromise for your baby’s first birthday cake. 


Scale

Ingredients

Cake

  • 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

Frosting

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  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*

Notes

  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.

Keywords: healthy smash cake, healthy smash cake recipe, easy healthy smash cake, healthy 1st birthday cake alternatives

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

 

Update: June 2019

So, my 3rd baby, Hattie, turned 1 earlier this year and I made her the same cake, but added a bit of cream cheese to the whipped cream icing to stabilize it enough to pipe the icing on. I used a bit of beet juice to color half of it pink, for pretty rosettes!

healthy smash cake

Shop today’s recipe

Healthy Smash Cake

172 Comments

  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!

    • Hi Maranda! I used heavy whipping cream to make my own, but you could use prepared whipped cream too! Whatever is easier for you 🙂

      • Hi! So you used whipping cream and syrup and mixed them together in the mixer until they become a certain consistency? If you use some of the fruit purée do you need to lessen the amount of whipping cream used? Going to try this for my sons first birthday this weekend!

    • Hi, would this cake work with gluten free flour?

      • I have not tried it! I would suspect it would work fine though!

        • Hi Katherine, hope you see this I know this post was old! I am in the process Of making this for my son right now. I’m going to serve it to him tomorrow and I just baked the two layers and Suggestion on storing them overnight without the icing in the fridge. You mentioned that I should ice two hours before serving so I wasn’t going to ice them but I’m worried that the two layers will become hard overnight in the fridge. I’m going to be adding a little bit of cream cheese to the icing to make it a little more structured do you think that makes a difference and I could I said and put it in the fridge overnight to be ready for tomorrow?

    • Nikita Chatterjee

      Hi, can I whip the icing by hand? Don’t have an electric beater?

    • Nancy Jackson

      This looks great! Just wondering if I can substitute the whole wheat flour for almond flour??

  15. Pingback: Anniversary Cake for Two | Love In My Oven

  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

  20. So you only use one cup of the applesauce, banana and strawberry mixture??

  21. I made this for my daughters birthday yesterday and it was PERFECT! Followed the recipe to a T. Thanks!

  22. Thank you so much for the recipe! The cake came out nice and fluffy!

  23. First off i wanted to thank you for this recipe. Its the only smash cake recipe that i found which had all ingredients my son has had before. I made this cake yesterdat in (2) 6 inch pans. Your instructions say pour ingredients into pans my batter was the consistency of a biscuit batter. It was so thick I couldn’t get it to lay flat. It cooked in 10 min in my oven. Can I add more of any of the ingredients to make it less dense? Thank you again for the recipe .

  24. I cook on the stove all the time but I do NOT bake very often at all. You used 1-6″ pan, I just bought 2-6″ pans to make my son’s smash cake on 2 months. Would I follow same instructions and just divide it between the 2 pans or double the recipe? Also would cook temp and time stay the same?

  25. I really want to try this! I’m confused about the syrup. Do I pour that in with the whipping cream and beat the two together?

  26. Substitution for Apple sauce? Nephew is alergic

  27. How could I make this chocolate? I think my one year old already has a preference….

  28. Vanina Moberg

    Can I use regular, all purpose flour in the smash cake recipe?

  29. The same exact amount or that’d change since it would not be the same flour?

  30. Hi, im making this for my son’s first birthday next week, but he hasn’t had whole milk yet. Would substituting almond milk be OK? Or would it change the consistency?

  31. Will make this next month for my girl’s 1st. Since it won’t be berry season what other fruit can I replace the strawberries with?

  32. hopevidmar@gmail.com

    I am so excited to make this! The thought of my baby girl plunging into a full cake of sugar makes me cringe! Now I can happily celebrate with her cake smash! 🙂 Thank you!

  33. I am planning to make this for my one year old’s birthday. For practice, I had a 9” springform pan and I doubled the recipe and baked for 40min. The cake turned out ok. The problem is the cake is a little bit dense, tastes more like banana muffins and doesnt look like it’s smashable. Any thoughts?

  34. Rebecca Cauzza

    Love this recipe idea! Where are those sprinkles from- those are so cute! Are they sugar free? I haven’t been able to buy sugar free sprinkles 🙁

  35. Hi, is this cake dense or does it rise well? I love this recipe and want to try it, but just curious on what the end product is. 🙂

  36. Thanks so much for the healthy smash cake recipe! I made this for my daughter’s first birthday and she loved it! She’s hasn’t had much sugar in her diet thus far and it was great to be able to let her go to town on something that wouldn’t give her a stomach ache later 🙂

  37. Hello! I was very excited to try this recipe but something went wrong. I followed the directions to the t and went over them a few times I can’t find what I did wrong. The batter came out as dough. I actually had to push it down into the pan to make sure it was even I baked for 25 mins and the outside is brown while the inside is still dough. How do I make it more like batter?? Add more milk? Thank you for you help in advance.

  38. I cannot thank you enough for this recipe!!! My little girl is only 7 1/2 months but I’m already planning little details Haha and I have searched so many times for healthy cake smash recipes and I had yet to find another health conscious mom, surprisingly!! Lol so thank you!!!!!!

    • Thank YOU so much for the comment! Reading comments like yours makes me so happy 🙂 I know what you mean – it was strange to me how few options there were. Who wants to feed their 1 year old a bunch of sugar?! Haha! You’re so welcome. Let me know if you have any questions! XO

  39. I never baked a cake in my life! So I tried this just to pre-plan. The top of it is all crusty,
    cracked and mountain like…what am I doing wrong? I doesn’t resemble cake at all.

  40. Should I double the recipe if I am using two 8in pans?

    • Hi Brooke, I don’t want to steer you wrong since I’ve only made the mini cake, but I do think if you doubled the recipe you could use two 8″ pans. Just be sure to check baking times, you’ll need less time since you have two. Start with 15-20 minutes then check with a toothpick every 5 minutes.

  41. Good simple recipe. Healthy for my little one to enjoy. I made it twice. It is easy to throw together and surprisingly tasty for a cake with absolutely no sweetener! Obviously the riper the banana and strawberries the better 😉

  42. Pingback: Healthy Banana Waffles | Love In My Oven

  43. I’m planning on making this for my son’s first smash cake in a few weeks! Happy to see the update about adding the cream cheese to the frosting to make it a bit more stiff. How much did you use and when did you add the cream cheese to the fluffing of the heavy cream? Thanks!

  44. souhad aljbr

    Hello,
    Thanks alot for this recipe, it seems pretty easy healthy and delicious 😋. I did try to make it but I have to bake it fir over an hour and it all burned over but it didn’t actually all from inside cooked. I really did all the recipe like step by step with all the ingredients, I did use a frozen strawberry instead of the fresh ones though but I don’t think that’s why. Could you please give me some tips
    Best regards
    Suhad

  45. Hi There,

    Can I substitute the flour with oat flour? Would it be the same amount? Thanks!

  46. Alexandra N Valiquette

    Alternative too using an egg? My son is allergic too egg whites. Not horrifically, but it flares his eczema up decently.

  47. I’m going to make this for my daughter’s first birthday but wanted to ask how much cream cheese I need to add to the whipped cream to stabalize.

  48. Thank you for your help

  49. Trying this recipe tonight for my son’s 1st birthday tomorrow. I’m very excited. I picked it especially because my boy’s name is Walter as well!

  50. Hi, thanks for the recipe, I want to make something similar to the pink and white swells for my girl turning 1 and I was wondering how much cream cheese you put in to stabilise? As we’ll be having our do in the park I want to make sure that the icing will be able to last a little while before it gets devoured. 🙂

  51. Just made this for my little guy’s first birthday today! My big girl (3.5) and I had fun decorating it with rainbow sprinkles and Cheerios. Nice moist cake and tasty even with the low sugar content, and he seemed to enjoy it – perfect for a first birthday cake! Thanks Katherine!

  52. This cake recipe is great! The cake is firm, rose well while baking and held its shape after cooling. Just in case anyone is wondering, it can be stacked easily for a tiered cake! Thanks!

  53. Carla Gagniere

    Can I substitute or skip the strawberry?

  54. Things to Do Celebrations Kids Birthday Party Ideas Baby’s First Birthday 20 Healthy First Birthday Cakes (and Smash Cakes) Amazon Prime Video Is Debuting Lovable Valentine s Day Specials with Pete the Cat More

  55. Thanks for the easy recipe! My son’s birthday is tomorrow I just made this – just wanted to come on and let you know that my consistency was really thick and gummy as well and I just added some applesauce and almond milk to make it a little bit less thick, seemed to work ok. Also my puree mix didn’t quite make a full cup with the specified ingredients. Haven’t tasted the cakebut looks good and cooked well!

  56. I’m not a baker but going to give this recipe a go! However, I am stuck already! Whole meal flour… plain or self raising? My local store sells both 😫🙈

  57. Hi so I making the cake right now just wondering how do you cut it with the floss I tried and it’s not working. How much time do o give before cutting with floss

  58. Jenna Carmichael

    This was a fantastic cake! My baby is usually a difficult eater, but she spent a good 30 minutes tearing into this and actually consumed a good amount. I was happy to let her enjoy it without worrying about a sugar high. Thanks very much!

  59. I made this as a test bake today and it’s fab! But want to do it for my boy’s 1st birthday and need to scale it up for a 6 inch pan and am in uk. Do you have measurements in grams at all or know what one cup is for you? I know they’re all different 😊

  60. Hello! What is the consistency like of this cake? Can I carve it into a shape? Is it soft? Thank you!!!

  61. Lauren Mucklow

    Hello! I only have one 9” springform tin, should I double the recipe? Thank you! Lauren x

  62. Hi there! Tried the recipe today in an 8” pan and baked for 20 mins and it was worked great! I am wanting to get a taller cake. Do you think I can double the recipe in an 8” pan and increase baking time to about 40 mins?

  63. This recipe turned out exactly the way you described it – like a giant muffin! Even though I used all purpose flour. Thanks for the great recipe.

  64. Beginner baker here so when I saw whipping cream, I googled and learned the differences between “whipping cream” and “heavy whipping cream”. Since your recipe calls for whipping cream, I got the whipping cream and it looks way too light and airy to be the cream in layer cakes. Then I read some comments and you mentioned it’s actually heavy whipping cream… Can you please clarify? Although it’s already too late to get heavy cream now 🙁

    • Hi Tina, heavy cream and whipping cream are essentially the same thing. They will yield the same texture. The reason it seems so light is that it is light! It’s not going to be thick like a frosting, because we’re trying to keep it healthier for the babies 🙂 You do not need to go buy anything else! The one you have will be just fine.

      • Thanks for the reply! I’m just not sure about it because it doesn’t really hold well as a layer between the two slabs of cake. It’s not firm so the cake slides when I try to cut it. Is that how this cake was meant to be? Thanks!

  65. Hey Katherine! Will be doing the test baking in a day or two. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get strawberries during this Lockdown.. can we skip it or replace it with any of the two fruits mentioned?

  66. This looks amazing and I can’t wait to make it for my little girl’s 1st birthday in a couple of days. I saw the stunning version you did with the rosettes and wondered if you could tell me how much cream cheese you combined with the cream? And did you whip the cream and cream cheese together from the start?

  67. Hi Katherine,
    Your cake looks so good and sounds so healthy as well! I’m planning to bake it for my boy’s 1st birthday on the 13 May. I just have a question here for the frosting, if i want to make it yellow (the theme is black and yellow), can I add a few drops of natural homemade food colouring? I made the yellow colour from tumeric but not sure if I can add it to the cream frosting, I’m just worried it will change its flavour.. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you so much 🙂

  68. Hi Katherine,

    Can I substitute whole wheat flour with almond flour?

  69. Thank you for this great healthy cake recipe! I made this on 5/23 for my daughter’s 1st bday, it was really good! I’m a beginner baker, and took a few notes that I thought I’d share –
    1) Fruit mixture only yielded 1/2c, perhaps size of the fruit I used, but after I blended this, I saw that the recipe called for an exact amount of 1C so I doubled the amount
    2) I added maple syrup to the cake batter for a slightly more sweet taste
    3) For the two layers, the floss worked well but I did have to use a knife to cut the cake at first, only about 1 to 2 inch cut
    4) I buttered and floured the cake tin, and used parchment paper to be safe (beginner!), not sure if both methods are necessary
    5) Whipped Cream frosting, I added maple syrup to taste, didn’t use exact measurement, and some vanilla extract.
    *The maple syrup I used was with agave so less sweet.

    Thank you again!

  70. Lisa Perry

    Hi all, does this cake taste good enough to serve to the adults?

  71. Thank you for this lovely recipe! It made my one year old’s birthday and gave us lots of great photos! I love how great the cake looked but with minimal stress or effort from me : )

  72. Hi, Thanks for the recipe. I was wondering if I can substitute the whole wheat flour with cake flour or all purpose flour. Thank you

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.