Sunday, 2 February 2014

Cake smash!!

So this post is massively overdue as Doof celebrated his first birthday in October… but I blame a combination of working and being a bit disorganised, followed by Christmas and then awful all-day-long morning sickness – all of which mean I haven’t blogged for a very long time. Anyway all going to change now as I have so many posts I want to write and am starting tonight :)

I first saw the idea of a cake smash on a random photography website when Doof was only a few months old (I can’t even remember which one) but I instantly thought it looked so cool and so saved up the idea for when he was turning one.

So here is a combination of what I read, what I did and tips for anyone else thinking of doing a cake smash… (more tips can be found here)

The cake

A pretty crucial part of the whole “cake smash” is obviously the cake. I decided pretty early on I wanted to do a multi-coloured cake as firstly I was making a rainbow cake for Doof’s actual birthday so thought it would tie in nicely and secondly I thought it would look good in photos with lots of different colours.

I used the same recipe as for Doof’s birthday cake but instead of making separate layers I make a double layers with chunks of different colours. I then iced it with pale blue buttercream and sprinkled it with lots of 100s & 1000s. I also had a large “1” candle which provided a bit of a focal point and something for Doof to pick up and play with.
Two layers of cake in the oven
Finished cake ready for smashing :)
The setting

The two main things we had to consider were practicality and lighting. Lighting was pretty much a problem wherever we were indoors as it was a dull autumn day with not much sunshine. But from a practical point of view the best place to do it was at one end of the sitting room.

So I set up a little “stage area” consisting of a tablecloth draped over the back of two chairs, with the light from French windows behind me as I was taking photos. I picked a light blue tablecloth (my choices were slightly limited as I left that bit pretty late to organise!) and we happened to have that already at home. It also made clean up easy as we just shook the crumbs off outside and then put it in the washing machine.

I discounted using a white one because of the colour of Doof’s outfit but if he had been in a coloured vest I think a white backdrop with a coloured cake could’ve looked really good. I also discounted using any kind of shiny surface (like plastic disposable tablecloths) as these would reflect the light in weird ways.

Blue tablecloth forming the backdrop and floor
The camera

We’ve got a DSLR which was perfect for shooting an indoor cake smash as to get the best results you really do need to be able to fiddle with the shutter speed, ISO, lighting etc. As the lighting wasn’t amazing I ended up shooting with a fast shutter speed (so there was no blur), kept the f-stop high and used a bounced flash diffuser (to avoid over-whitening the skin/having red eye but adding a bit more light to the mix).

If you have a large overhead light that could also help (we didn’t) and if shooting on a bright summer’s day rather than a dull October afternoon I imagine light might not be so much of an issue.

Try and take a mixture of full body shots and close ups and move around during the shoot to get different angles - although to be honest this is much easier said than done as a cake smash can last only a few minutes (and some of that may well be spent depositing the baby back in front of the cake!). For all these reasons having someone else on hand to help was really helpful. It's also nice to have a picture of the cake pre-smash and at the very end.

The outfit

If you google “cake smash outfit” or if you put it into a site like Etsy there are a million suggestions. I wanted something quite simple but nice and also that made it obvious that Doof was one. On Etsy I found the perfect thing:

I love the cat in the hat, loved how simple and cute it was and even though it came from Canada the service was super quick and despite me having to order another size (Canadian babies are obviously a lot larger than English babies as Doof still wears the 6-12 month size one now!) both arrived only a few days after ordering. I would definitely order more things from MySunshineDesigns in the future.

The date/time

We deliberately didn’t do this on Doof’s birthday. Some people like to have a mini cake smash during the actual birthday party but we decided to have them on completely separate days – that way we could have fun smashing cake without worrying about anything else and could then enjoy celebrating his birthday with friends without mess and chaos everywhere!

So Doof had his cake smash 2 days before his birthday – another benefit was we could do it at the weekend so both me and his dad could be there (definitely a bonus for me having an extra pair of hands to help!!).

We did it on a Sunday afternoon and timed it for after his afternoon nap – around 3pm. That way worked perfectly for us as he wasn’t tired and had just had a beaker of milk (my attempt at preventing him from going on a complete sugar-induced-rampage as I thought letting a hungry baby loose on a icing-rich cake might be asking for trouble…).

The "after" plan

Have a clean-up plan in place before you start… I ran a really hot bath before we started which meant by the time Doof had had his fill of smashing it had cooled to a nice temperature and was ready for him to be dunked straight in. Definitely an advantage of doing a smash at home rather than outside in a park etc was the proximity of a bathroom! Although to be honest Doof didn’t actually get that messy so we could have just used a handful of wipes – but you never know which baby is going to be the crazy super messy one…

Nice warm bubblebath and a lovely clean baby :)

The final verdict:

Doof was much more delicate than I thought he would be and needed some encouragement to get started but it was so much fun to do – both the preparation and then watching him have fun.

Would I change anything next time? I think I might use more icing (and maybe top it with some whipped cream as that would be much easier to smash/make a mess with) and also get him to taste some icing at the start so he knows it is something nice to eat. Doof had never eaten cake before so wasn’t sure what it was/what to do with it to start with. I'd also leave purple out of the cake as that looked quite dark and boring in the photos.

We will definitely do it again for his second birthday – I imagine that will be a LOT more messy! Come back in October 2014 to see what happened…

If any of you have done a cake smash already, or are planning one, I’d love to hear more and maybe pick up some more tips for the next one :)



  1. Lovely idea - the colours are so vivid on the sponge!

    1. Aww thank you! I think next time I would miss purple out as that one was quite dark but overall I was so happy with how it turned out :)