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Baby’s First Healthy Smash Cake

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I’m here to re-share one of the most requested recipes of all time. Back when Sidney turned one I made him the perfect smash cake that was easy to make and SO fun to watch him enjoy. I shared a photo of the cake on Instagram and got tons of requests for the recipe — here we are 4 years (and 2 more kiddos) later and I thought I’d remind you all about this incredible recipe!
This smash cake recipe is truly the best dessert for a one-year-old birthday. It comes together in one bowl, takes 30 minutes to make, and uses super simple, wholesome ingredients that you can feel good about giving your kiddo. Plus, it tastes amazing and is the perfect base for adding tons of different types of frostings and decorations.
I’ve included all of the tips, tricks, and FAQs you could possibly think of, PLUS decoration & gift ideas, so be sure to read through the whole post before getting started! Watching your little one explore the smash cake and taste it for the first time is such a fun, special moment, and I hope you love it as much as they do.

What is a smash cake?
A smash cake is the perfect treat for celebrating your baby’s first birthday. It’s essentially a small cake that’s low in sugar and made with wholesome, baby-friendly ingredients that your one-year-old can enjoy by “smashing” with his or her hands (and face, of course!) Yes, it will end up everywhere, and yes, it’s the cutest thing in the entire world.
The only smash cake recipe you’ll ever need
Whether you’re celebrating your own baby turning one or are sharing a special treat with a niece, nephew or friend’s kiddo, this is truly the best smash cake you’ll ever make that’s baby and adult-approved! It just so happens to be:

Gluten free
Naturally sweetened with fruit (AKA this is a no sugar added recipe!)
Dairy free
Absolutely delicious

Everything you’ll need to make a healthy smash cake
This smash cake recipe is made with super simple ingredients, is low in sugar, and happens to be dairy free and gluten free. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

Banana: this smash cake is naturally sweetened with ripe, mashed bananas! Because it’s fruit-sweetened, this smash cake is a no sugar added recipe! The ripe bananas give it the perfect flavor that your kiddo will love.
Eggs: you’ll need two eggs in this cake to help it bake up properly. See notes on flax eggs below!
Peanut butter: the cake gets a lovely texture and delicious flavor from natural, creamy peanut butter. You can also use almond butter, cashew butter or tahini if you prefer.
Flours: we’re keeping this smash cake gluten free by using fine blanched almond flour and oat flour. Learn how to make your own oat flour right at home with this tutorial!
Baking staples: you’ll also need vanilla extract (learn how to make your own here!), baking soda and cinnamon.

How to make a vegan smash cake
I think flax eggs should be okay to use in this smash cake recipe, but please note that I have not tested it to be certain. I might recommend using 2 flax eggs total. Learn how to make flax eggs with this tutorial! You’ll then want to be sure to use a dairy free frosting (ideas below!)

Recommended substitutions in this smash cake recipe
I highly recommend making the smash cake as written so that it bakes up properly but feel free to use almond butter, cashew butter, or tahini in place of the peanut butter. If you don’t have any oat flour, remember that you can learn how to make your own at home using rolled oats and this tutorial!
What does this healthy smash cake taste like?
This easy, healthy smash cake recipe tastes like a delicious banana bread cake infused with peanut butter flavor! It’s not overly sweet because it’s only sweetened with bananas, but it still has an amazing flavor that both kids and adults will enjoy — especially at a first birthday party. The frosting you choose will determine the flavor as well. All of my kids LOVED the cake!

What sized pans should I use for a smash cake?
I like to use three, 4-inch round cake pans to create the perfect mini cake that has lovely layers. The layers also give your kiddo the opportunity to really smash the cake, which he or she will love!
Of course, you can also use 6-inch round cake pans, but I find 4-inch cake pans to be the best option for this smash cake.
The best smash cake in 5 simple steps

Prep your pans. Line your 4-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and be sure to spray the paper and sides with nonstick cooking spray. This is very important!
Mix the wet ingredients. Whisk together all of your wet ingredients in a large bowl until they’re nice and smooth.
Add the dry. In the same bowl, add all of your dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is well combined.
Divide & bake. Divide the batter between your three cake pans and bake them up until a tester comes out clean.
Cool & frost. Let the cakes cool completely before adding your favorite frosting and decorations. Then serve on a little cake stand and watch your kiddo enjoy!

Fun & easy frosting ideas
The options are truly endless in terms of what you can use as a frosting for a smash cake. Here are some of my fav healthy frosting options:

Simple Mills Vanilla Frosting or Miss Jones Vanilla Frosting for organic, gluten free & vegan options. I love these because not only do they taste delicious but they are easy to buy when you are in a pinch and/or don’t feel like making your own frosting.
Babies love yogurt, so you can easily top the layers and full cake with their favorite vanilla yogurt! I love siggis brand and both of my boys do, too.

Your kiddo likely won’t be eating much of the cake, so if you don’t mind it feel free to try a more traditional frosting or topping from these recipes. I recommend cutting the frosting recipe in half for these as you won’t need as much or want it as thick.

Toppings & decoration ideas
For some fun topping ideas:

Tips for frosting the smash cake
Make sure your cake layers are completely cooled, then I recommend doing a crumb coating so that the frosting lays nicely on the entire cake. To do so you’ll simply frost the layers as you normally would, coat the outside of the cake with a very thin layer of frosting, and then place the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before you finish frosting. This is so that the crumbs stick to this layer of frosting and not your main layer.
Don’t forget the first birthday decorations

One-year-old gift ideas

Check out all of my baby & toddler products + gift ideas HERE!

How to store & freeze a smash cake

To store: cover the whole frosted smash cake and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
To freeze: feel free to freeze this smash cake either frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months! When you’re ready to serve it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then let the cake come to room temperature before serving.

Make this smash cake ahead of time
Feel free to save time by baking the individual cake layers, letting them cool completely, and then placing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store the cake layers in the for up to 3-5 days until you’re ready to frost and serve the healthy smash cake.
More kid-friendly recipes to try

Pair this smash cake with one of my kid-friendly dinner ideas!
I hope you and your kiddo love this healthy smash cake! If you make it be sure to leave a comment to let me know how he or she liked it. Enjoy, xo!

TheAmbitious KitchenCookbook
125 Ridiculously Good For You, Sometimes Indulgent, and Absolutely Never Boring Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

Baby’s First Healthy Smash Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes minutesCook Time 15 minutes minutesTotal Time 30 minutes minutesServesServes 6 servings
Baby’s first healthy smash cake made with simple ingredients in only 30 minutes! This easy smash cake recipe is gluten free, dairy free, low sugar and naturally sweetened with bananas. It’s truly the perfect first birthday cake that your one-year-old will love! Toppings and frosting ideas included.
IngredientsWet ingredients:2 overripe medium bananas, mashed2 large eggs, at room temperature½ cup (128g) natural creamy peanut butter* (only peanuts & salt as ingredients)1 teaspoon vanilla extractDry ingredients:1 cup (112g) packed super fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)¼ cup (23g) oat flour (do not pack)½ teaspoon baking soda½ teaspoon cinnamonFor the frosting:See blog post for recommendationsFor topping (optional):Dye free sprinklesFresh berriesA big candle
InstructionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of three 4-inch round cake pans with parchment paper rounds. Spray parchment paper and the sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray. YOU SHOULD USE PARCHMENT PAPER or the cake is likely to stick. Please do not forget!In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla extract until well combined.Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients: almond flour, oat flour, baking soda and cinnamon together. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.Divide batter evenly between pans and spread out with a spatula to smooth the tops. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. If you use 6-inch pans, it will likely take closer to 20 minutes for the cakes to bake. If you use any other pans, you need to watch carefully as changing pan sizes will change the baking times.Allow cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pan; this is essential. Cakes can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the fridge if you’d like.To frost the cake: make sure your cake layers are completely cooled, then I recommend doing a crumb coating so that the frosting lays nicely on the entire cake. To do so you’ll simply frost the layers as you normally would, coat the outside of the cake with a very thin layer of frosting, and then place the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before you finish frosting. This is so that the crumbs stick to this layer of frosting and not your main layer.

Recipe NotesTo store: cake will stay good for 3-5 days in the fridge, and should be covered to ensure freshness.
For the frosting: see the blog post for recommendations on frostings for your little one!
*Instead of peanut butter, feel free to use almond butter or cashew butter.
For recipe substitutions, suggestions, and freezing instructions, please see the blog post.
I love to do a peanut butter caramel drip on the cake to make it look pretty.

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on July 19, 2022, and republished on May 21st, 2024.

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