Baby’s First Birthday Tiered Healthy Smash Cake

We just celebrated a very special milestone in our home – my youngest daughters’ first birthday! Even though we couldn’t have a birthday party with people (thanks to Covid-19) we made the day special by throwing a ZOOM party for her and making her this fabulous smash cake.

This cake is so delicious and healthy. Made with fresh fruit and natural sweeteners, it’s more of a large, spiced muffin than a fluffy cake. The layers were filled with homemade strawberry compote and I used my silky smooth cream cheese frosting to coat it – YUM!

Babies need fat. It’s good for them.

If you plan on piping this cream cheese frosting you need to make it two days in advance so it has plenty of time to chill in the fridge.

I doubled the cake and frosting recipe and used the leftover batter to make strawberry-filled “smash cake muffins” that the rest of the family could enjoy.

If you have older children let them help you make and decorate the cake. My oldest daughter loved sifting the dry goods, measuring the ingredients and adding sprinkles to the top of her little sister’s cake. She also got to “paint” with some extra frosting.

Let’s get baking!

Ingredients ~

Smash Cake

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large, very ripe banana
  • 6 strawberries (I used frozen, defrost before use)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg (or 1 T flaxseed + 3 T water)
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces softened, cold cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter softened

Strawberry Compote

  • 2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • Splash lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/6 tsp salt

Recipe ~

Start by making the icing two days in advance, to give it time to chill. In a saucepan sift together sugar, flour and cornstarch. Whisk well.

Whisk in the milk a little bit at a time to prevent clumps from forming.

Stir constantly over medium low heat until mixture thickens. Strain through fine mesh strainer into bowl. Refrigerate for 4 hours until well chilled.

After mixture has chilled sufficiently add in lemon juice and vanilla and whip well at high speed with stand mixer or egg beaters.

Turn mixture down to medium high. Add in cream cheese one tablespoon at a time. Follow with butter, one tablespoon at a time.

Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, another 5-10 minutes.

Chill for 2 days for luscious, pipeable cream cheese frosting.

For the cake, begin by buttering and flouring 3 small Pyrex bowls (or other oven safe bowls). You can make this as a one layer, 9″ cake if you need to but the cuteness comes from the tiers. Cut out parchment paper circles and line the bottoms of the bowls for good measure.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Place the fruit and applesauce in a blender and mix on high until combined.

Whisk together one cup of the fruit mixture and the egg in a separate bowl. Add the milk, oil and extract and whisk well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.

Pour the batter into your three prepared pans and bake well. (Here’s a tip! Cakes are done when their internal temperature reads 210 degrees) Check your smallest cake after 10 minutes to see if it’s ready. Allow cakes to cool 5 minutes in the bowl before removing.

Let cool completely before frosting.

While your cakes are cooling, place your compote ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until combined. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Smash with the back of a fork or with a potato masher. Continue to stir very often until a thermometer reads the temperature at 211 degrees. Be careful of splashing! Immediately transfer to a heat safe bowl and cool to room temperature before placing in fridge.

I’ll be honest with you guys – I’m not the best cake decorator. It takes me a LONG time to do great cake decorations. This cake was decorated quickly, late at night, and it has that funky, Dr. Seuss kind of vibe.

I made a dam on top of each layer of cake to contain the strawberry compote, so it wouldn’t gush out the sides of the finished cake. Then I dyed a purple and pink batch of the cream cheese frosting and piped different patterns all over the entire cake.

Does it look homemade? Yes. Does part of me wish it had looked cleaner, astheticaly? Yes. Did the birthday girl care?

Not one bit. She loved it! We took the top layer off for her to eat and she gobbled down all the frosting and dove into her muffin-cake. My oldest daughter was VERY happy that I made her birthday cake muffins so she could try some as well. She had seconds! And knowing how healthy the cake actually was I didn’t mind one bit.

Another birthday win for mom!

What do you think? Would you make this cake? Let me know in the comments below!

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Thanks for reading!

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