I have a secret. I am not very good at baking. I can put together a mean party theme - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toddler birthday party? I'm all over it. FIretruck party complete with Easy Fire Fighter DIY Party Game? No problem. But I tend to call in reinforcements when it comes to creating an amazing owl cake or a Nintendo question block cake (Stephanie, you rock).
When I set out to make the food for Addie's party when she turned one, I knew I wanted an owl for her main cake, but I didn't know what to do about her smash cake. I was struck with inspiration while we were working on the owl and matching cupcakes and thanks to the awesome supply stash my baking friend brought over, we had almost everything I needed to make the cutest little easy first birthday smash cake.
Multicolored Smash Cake - Supplies Needed
-6" Cake Pan
-Boxed Cake Mix of choice (yeah - I used boxed cake) and the ingredients listed on the box
-A simple frosting recipe (I used this one)
-Gel Food Coloring (I used 4 colors - you can use as many or as few as you want)
-Cake Decorating Bags
-Decorating Tips #21 (I had 4 of these) and #32 (I had 2 of these)
-A fair amount of patience
Follow the instructions on your boxed cake mix to bake the cake. Don't forget to add water. Not that I know from experience or anything, but it won't turn out very well without some sort of liquid. You'll have enough batter left over to make another small cake or some cupcakes or something, so plan for that!
Once your cake is done and has cooled, whip up your frosting and apply a thin layer to the whole cake. Then stick it in the fridge so the frosting can harden a little before you start adding color.
Next, split your frosting into bowls for each separate color and add your coloring. You can use regular food coloring if you like, but I had better success with gel colors - they offer a much easier way to get the shade you're looking for without painstaking hours of mixing colors.
Disclaimer written long after this post was originally published: in the last year, I've completely banned food coloring from my house. I have no idea what I'm going to do for the next round of birthdays, because this is SO STINKING EASY. I no longer advocate actually using food coloring, however, I do have endless good things to say about how easy it is. I'm hoping to find a more natural alternative! Tips, anyone?
Next you'll need to get your cake decorating bags all set up with the #21 icing tips (here's a good youtube video on how to do this). Then, it's time to get your wrists ready for lots of squeezing.
I started with one flower of each color and alternated after that, trying to even out the colors as much as possible. There was no real rhyme or reason to my method other than trying not to let the same color touch.
This part takes a long time, but when it looks so cute, it's worth it, right?
Once you get the top of the cake and most of the sides covered, take a break and set up another decorating bag or two with the "32" frosting tips, then go ahead and do the lower edge. I did mine in two different colors, but you could use just one or all four, depending on how many tips you have at your disposal.
Ta-da! There you have it: one perfect smash cake for a perfect party.
I put my cake back in the fridge after it was done, but here's a tip: make sure you pull it out a good hour before the baby will be smashing it. Because if you don't, there won't be a whole lot of smashing - more just pounding and picking at it. Which is still cute, but not quite the same thing.
You can see more photos from Addie's Owl First Birthday Party here.
Hope you enjoyed this cake tutorial from a mom who really has NO idea about how to make cake. Let me know how yours turns out!