Cake Smash Info and Tips

Including a “cake smash” in your child’s 1 year photo session is a great way to commemorate their first birthday. Cake is a staple in most birthday celebrations, and therefore documenting your child’s first cake is very special. Here’s some information and tips about having a cake smash session in my Grand Rapids area photo studio:

1 year old girl standing near smashed cake coveerd in frosting
One year old baby girl eating cake with spoon during photo session
birds eye view of baby girl eating smashed cake

My Cake Smash Style

Firstly, know that my cake smash style stays consistent to my “white studio” style. We’ll do the non-cake, portrait part of the session first, and then we’ll get messy afterwards. You’ll also have the option to add clean up photos in a white tub. Your whole gallery will flow together nicely while having the same simple, timeless style.

Who Provides the Cake?

You’ll need to bring the cake with you to the session. Due to liability and allergy reasons, I cannot provide the cake for your child.

12 month old baby girl with a white birthday cake smiling big with her arms raised over her head
1 year old baby girl wearing a white dress staring at the camera with a big mash cake on a white stand

What Type of Cake Should I Get?

To stick with the “white studio” style, you’ll need a white cake with white buttercream or whipped cream frosting. If you want a more natural style, ask for it to be “crumb coated.” This is a light frosting layer that will still show some of the cake underneath. For size, I would recommend a 4-6″ diameter cake with 2-3 layers. This is generally a good size that looks appropriately scaled to a one year old. A traditional 8″ cake might look giant next to your baby.

Aside from a white cake complementing the studio style, there are multiple reasons I avoid other cake flavors and colors. First, chocolate cake/frosting can look like mud when it’s smashed, and red frosting can look like blood. Second, your baby is likely not used to very strong flavors and white or vanilla cake is very neutral. And third, colored frosting will stain everything in my white studio.

What if my child hasn’t had cake before?

Oftentimes, a baby’s first birthday is their first experience eating cake. Some love it, some not so much. It’s new textures and usually a lot sweeter than their usual diet. I have two tips if you think your child may not be excited about their cake smash.

One, give them the opportunity to experience cake in the weeks prior to the session. You can make or buy cupcakes to provide multiple days of practice. (If there’s any concern for food allergies, I’d suggest getting the cupcakes from the same place as the cake. That way it will be the exact same ingredients and you’ll learn of any reaction before the session.) Just let your baby play, smash, and taste the cake and frosting without pressure. This will help you gauge how they’ll react during the session. If they like the cake but not the super sweet frosting as much, I’d suggest going with a crumb coated cake.

Second, bring your baby’s favorite small, non-colored snack to the session (like cheerios, puffs or crackers). If your child refuses to dig into the cake, I’ll often hide their favorite snack in it. This helps get them interacting with the cake and the photos will look like they are “digging in.”

1 year old baby girl digging into a cake with a spoon during her cake smash session
1 year old baby girl smiling up at camera with frosting all over her face with a smash cake

Other Things To Remember:

  • If you refrigerate your cake prior to the cake smash, remember to take it out of the fridge 2-3 hours before the session. Refrigeration makes the cake hard and cold. We want the cake to be crumbly, soft and room temperature so it will be most enticing to your baby and create great photos.
  • If you choose to do bathtime cleanup photos and want bubbles, make sure you bring your favorite baby bubble bath soap. Again, due to liability and allergies, I can’t supply the soap. I would suggest testing this with your baby prior to the session also.
  • The Cake Smash add-on fee covers the additional studio time, setups, materials and cleanup involved in the cake smash and bath time posing. It does not include additional digital images.

For more information about my Grand Rapids Cake Smash sessions, contact me here: SEND ME A MESSAGE

Check out my MILESTONE SESSION page to see more of my baby and child portrait portfolio.

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