Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tips for 1st Birthday Cake Smashes from the Perpetually Pregnant Papist

There is one thing that will never, ever be said about my family in any way, shape or form:

There is no one on this earth who would dare claim that we do not take birthday cake seriously.

From Baby Bear...

To Thumbelina...

We are happy to present Glowworm cake smash! Now with MORE FOOT IN THE CAKE!!!!

Here my my tips for an entertaining cake smash:

1.  Do not go for the most elaborate cake recipe.  Know your audience.  If there are food allergies you need to work around of course this goes out the window, but in general it is a waste of time to go for the most elaborate and wonderful recipe for a cake that will ideally be on the back of your baby's head. 

2.  Make sure you do the cake smash where you will not be upset about the mess, and wear clothes that you don't mind getting covered in frosting.  Babies are washable.  High chairs are washable and tarps are disposable.  Your carpet or fabric covered dining room chairs?  Not so much.  Minimize your stress as much as possible.  The $3 tarp from the dollar store is more than worth the investment.

3.  Your baby is most likely to go crazy with the cake if he or she has already had cake before.  Engaging in a cake training regimen is the most likely way to ensure optimal cake smashing.   This will give your baby previous experience before this Momentous Event, and it will give you information that will be important to have in getting your baby's cake sufficiently smeared to kingdom come.  For example, chocolate cake photographs really well, but if your baby would have more spectacularly messy fun with a strawberry cake, it would be good to know that in advance.

4.  My experience at this point suggests that making a cake that looks like a toy (see car cake above... Baby Bear wound up hugging the cake into his lap) results in some really nice cake smash results.  Cars, teddy bears, kitty face, etc are a good option.

5.  Be careful about how much candy you put on the cake.  This was a major issue with The Glowworm's cake.    He kept picking at the candy and ignoring the cake.  Candy smash just is not the same as cake smash.  So, watch the candy and rely more on frosting for decoration.

6.  Be careful about cake size.  A lone cupcake is just not impressive for a cake smash, but if you go too big your baby may be scared of his or her cake, cf. Thumbelina.  This is an actual risk even though this is now the kid who steals spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff and sprinkles chocolate chips on it.  Appropriate scale is best for everyone involved, barring the child who is exceptionally committed to CAKE whom you honestly believe may try to scale a cake.  In which case, YOU ARE A WONDERFUL PARENT AND I SALUTE YOU.

7.  Watch the time of day when you're going to be giving your baby his or her birthday cake.  Cranky babies have been known to ignore cakes they would otherwise demolish with glee.

8.  Be careful about the size of the audience depending on what your baby's temperament is.  If your baby doesn't like crowds, your cake smash would be best done with a really small audience.  Some kids, however, thrive on an audience.  Cf. Baby Bear with cake hugged into his lap.

9.  Make sure there is another cake for parents, other brothers and sisters, etc.  If all goes well, the entire cake given to your baby will be a smushed mess coating your child and the tarp that you put on the floor, which is awesome to watch but less awesome for kids who also wanted cake.

10.  Have fun.  If that means that you outsource your cake making to grandma or the local grocery store?  Outsourcing is awesome, rock on!  If that means you construct an 18 inch tall layer cake supported entirely by pirouette cookies as internal support?  Go for it!  If you make a rainbow layer cake?  You win at life and the internet.  If your cake is a bunch of cupcakes put together?  Wonderful... the better to have your baby grabbing the whole thing by the fistful! 

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