This First Birthday Smash Cake with Yogurt Frosting is an easy and super special first birthday cake. It’s moist, flavorful, and so yummy—and has the creamiest yogurt frosting. Find everything you need to make this vanilla oat smash cake, plus allergy-friendly and make-ahead options.

first birthday smash cake with berries on high chair tray.

I first learned to make this healthy first birthday cake from a friend when she made it for her daughter Ruby, and I’ve now made this cake about a dozen times in various forms over the years. I love both how easy it is to make—no special skills required!—and how good the final result tastes.

The tender crumb of the smash cake is paired with a yogurt-based frosting for results that are as delicious as they are fun for the kids to smash.

This is a perfect first birthday cake option since it’s sweetened with maple syrup and has plenty of flavor and healthy fats. It can also be made ahead of time too, which is helpful when planning first birthday party ideas for a little one.

(You may also like Blueberry Smash Cake, Sweet Potato Baby Cake, and my full list of Kids Birthday Cake Recipes.)

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1st Birthday Smash Cake Recipe

This healthy first birthday cake is made with whole grains and natural sweeteners and is a fun way to celebrate the big day! The cake tastes like maple and vanilla, with a slightly tangy yogurt frosting.

We like to top it with fresh fruit for a simple and bright finish.

What’s a smash cake?

A smash cake is a first birthday cake meant for a baby turning 1. The idea is that they will eat, smash, and generally make a mess of it as they explore this new food by using their hands and sometimes their bodies! (It’s usually placed in front of baby on a highchair or on the floor on a sheet or drop cloth.) It’s a fun tradition to mark a big milestone, and this version of a smash cake is an easy one to make at home.

TIP: You can place the cake onto the baby highchair, or onto the floor with baby set on top of a sheet to contain the mess a bit.

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at what you need to make this first birthday smash cake recipe to share with baby so you know what to have on hand.

ingredients in first birthday smash cake
  • Oat flour: You can use store-bought oat flour or make your own by grinding rolled oats into a fine flour in the blender. I love using this ingredient because it creates a wonderful texture and adds nice flavor to the cake.
  • Eggs: I bake and cook with large size eggs, so plan to use them here. They help bind the batter together and give the cake structure.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter in baking so it’s easy to control the level of salt in the recipe.
  • Maple syrup: This natural sweetener adds flavor, sweetness, and moisture.
  • Vanilla extract: You can use regular vanilla extract or an alcohol-free option.

Ingredient Substitutions

Gluten-Free First Birthday Cake: If you need to make this gluten-free, you can use certified gluten-free oats or gluten-free oat flour.

Dairy-Free Smash Cake: You can make this recipe without dairy by using coconut oil and a dairy-free yogurt. See the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe card for the details.

Egg-Free Smash Cake: To make this without eggs, there are a few adjustments you’ll want to make to the batter, including adding ripe banana and a small amount of regular flour to help bind the batter together. The banana flavor is subtle and the cake is moist and sweet. See the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe for the details.

(This Blueberry Smash Cake is also egg-free.)

Step-by-Step Instructions

The process for making this first birthday cake is simple. Here’s a preview of the process so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the end of this post for the full recipe and all the variations.

wet ingredients for smash cake in bowl with fork.

Step 1. Lightly beat the eggs. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir.

mixed batter for smash cake in bowl on counter.

Step 2. Gently stir together the dry ingredients and add to the wet.

batter for smash cake divided among pans.

Step 3. Divide the batter between greased cake pans. Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.

three baked layers for smash cake in pans.

Step 4. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack while still in the pan. The cakes must cool completely to hold their fluffy structure.

TIP: You can make this recipe in 5-inch pans, 6-inch cake pans, 8-inch cake pans, or cupcakes.

How to Make Yogurt Frosting

The frosting for this smash cake is made with whole milk plain Greek yogurt, a little maple syrup, and a touch of vanilla extract. It’s slightly tangy from the yogurt and super simple to make. (And there’s no need for cups and cups of powdered sugar to make it thick and spreadable!)

straining frosting for smash cake.

Step 5. Strain the yogurt in a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth or paper towels over a bowl. This makes it thicker, as it helps to remove some of the liquid in the yogurt.

strained yogurt and frosting ingredients in bowl on counter.

Step 6. Stir yogurt together with maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl. You can use a spoon or a hand-held mixer if you prefer.

frosting first layer of baby smash cake on teal cake stand.

Step 7. Add some frosting on top of the first layer. Spread. Add another cake and more frosting.

frosting additional layers of smash cake on teal cake stand.

Step 8. Add the third cake, if using an additional cake layer. Top with the rest of the frosting. Add berries if you’d like.

TIP: You can leave it plain, top the layers with berries, add sprinkles, or add a candle for baby’s first birthday.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this first birthday cake contain sugar?

It does contain natural sugars from maple syrup. Your little one’s first birthday is a big celebration, so it’s only fitting that they have a really special cake to mark the day! (Though this is so good you might hope they don’t smash it so you can have a piece for yourself. I usually use just two layers of the cake for the smash cake and save the third one so the rest of us can have a slice!)

TIP: If you want to use less maple syrup, a few people have replaced half of it with very smooth mashed bananas.

What’s the texture of this cake like?

This cake, due to the oat flour, is a little denser than a traditional yellow cake. It will smash just fine, though, and has a wonderful flavor from the maple syrup and vanilla extract.

What’s the difference between a cake and a smash cake?

A smash cake is a cake meant to be placed in front of a baby on their first birthday and smashed, eaten, or explored in any way the child chooses. A cake is usually just sliced and enjoyed.

boy with first birthday smash cake on high chair tray.

How to Store

This is a great first birthday cake to make in advance, especially if you’ll be busy celebrating your new toddler on their big day. Simply bake the cakes and make the frosting the day before. Store the cakes, once fully cooled after baking, in airtight containers (in one layer) at room temperature.

Store the frosting in an airtight container in the fridge.

TIP: I recommend frosting the first birthday cake just before serving, but you can frost up to an hour ahead and leave it at room temperature.

Make Ahead Tips

To Make the Cakes Ahead: You can bake the cakes up to a day ahead. Let cool fully on wire racks and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Frost just before serving.

To Make the Frosting Ahead: Prepare the frosting as directed and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours

baby with smash cake on hands in highchair.

Best Tips for Success

  • Let the first birthday cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning them out onto the rack for the best texture.
  • You can try making this 1st birthday cake with whole wheat flour if you prefer—though check for doneness closer to 18-22 minutes and stir very gently to avoid overworking the batter.
  • To Use Three 4-Inch Pans: Divide the healthy smash cake recipe in half. The baking time will be 16-18 minutes and the layers will be slightly thinner than shown here.
  • To Use Three 6-Inch Pans: The baking time will be 20-22 minutes, and the layers will be slightly thinner than shown here.
  • To Use Two 8-Inch Pans: Bake in two 8-inch round cake pans, using about 2 cups of batter in each pan and baking for 18-20 minutes. The layers will be thinner than shown here.
  • To Make as Cupcakes: Use about 3 tablespoons of the batter in each paper cupcake liner to make about 16 cupcakes. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (I did 20 minutes). The rest of the recipe is the same.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this first birthday cake, so please rate and comment below to share!

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first-birthday-smash-cake-on-high-chair

First Birthday Smash Cake (with Yogurt Frosting)

This First Birthday Smash Cake has a base of rolled oats and vanilla, and a super creamy yogurt frosting. This recipe is baked in mini cake pans to create a small, personally sized cake for your newly minted toddler. (You can start prepping the frosting the night before if desired.)
4.98 from 495 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Cake
Calories 518kcal
Servings 8 (Makes 1 smash cake or serves 8-12)

Ingredients

Greek Yogurt Frosting

Vanilla Oat Cake

  • 3 cups oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and slightly cooled)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 4 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh berries to garnish
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Instructions

To make the Frosting:

  • Place 1½ cups whole milk yogurt in a sieve or fine-mesh strainer lined with a paper towel with a bowl underneath. Let sit for 30 minutes or up to overnight, covered in the fridge. (This helps ensure that the frosting is nice and thick.)
  • Transfer the yogurt to a bowl and stir in 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Trace one 5-inch cake pans onto parchment paper and cut out three times to make the rounds. Trim slightly to fit inside the bottom of each pan.
  • Grease three 5-inch cake pans with nonstick spray and place a round of parchment inside of each. Grease again.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between prepared cake pans, using about 1⅓ cups batter in each pan.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 22-26 minutes. Remove from oven and place pans onto a wire rack. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then carefully invert to cool fully. Discard parchment paper rounds.
  • To assemble, place one cake on your serving plate. Top with about ⅓-½ cup of frosting, spreading it in an even layer just past the edges. Add the second, repeat with frosting, and then repeat with the third cake . Use an offset spatula or knife to scrape off the frosting overhang for a "naked" cake look, or use additional frosting to coat the entire cake.
  • Top with berries and serve…as in, let the birthday kiddo dig in!

Video

Notes

This makes a tall cake, so you can use just two layers of the cake for the smash cake and save the third one so the rest of the family can have a slice.
To Make This Cake Ahead: You can bake the cakes up to a day ahead. Let cool fully on wire racks and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Frost just before serving.
To Make the Frosting Ahead: Prepare the frosting as directed and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
To Bake in Three 4-Inch Pans: Cut the recipe in half. The baking time will be 16-18 minutes and the layers will be slightly thinner than shown here.
To Bake in Three 6-Inch Pans: The baking time will be 20-22 minutes and the layers will be slightly thinner than shown here.
To Bake in Two 8-Inch Pans: Bake in two 8-inch round cake pans, using about 2 cups of batter in each pan and baking for 18-20 minutes. The layers will be thinner than shown here.
To Make as Cupcakes: Use 3 tablespoons of the batter in each paper cupcake liner to make about 16 cupcakes. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (I did 20 minutes). The rest of the recipe is the same.
To Make Oat Flour: Place rolled oats into a blender. Cover and grind until it resembles a fairly fine flour. Measure the amount of flour needed for the cake after grinding.
Dairy-Free: Use melted and cooled coconut oil in place of the butter and nondairy Greek-style yogurt for the frosting.
Egg-Free: Follow the recipe as written, using the ingredient list below, and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, testing the center with a cake tester to be sure it’s done. Let it cool completely in the pan. Store it in the fridge if you need to make it ahead.
2 cups oat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, 1 cup maple syrup, 2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups sliced banana), 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Nutrition

Calories: 518kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 133mg, Sodium: 319mg, Potassium: 377mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 689IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 206mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published May 2017.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi! I’m planning on using the 5-inch cake pans for a smash cake. Do you recommend 5×2 or 5×3 inch?

  2. 5 stars
    Are you sure it’s 12 tablespoons of butter? Sounds like a lot (it’s closento 6 ounces or 180g).

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Amy 🙂
    I was planning on making the cake two days before his birthday, would it be okay to store it sealed in the fridge two days before, or would it be better to freeze it then thaw it the night before serving it? Just don’t want to ruin the flavor of the cake.

  4. Hi Amy! Love all of your recipes! I’m making this cake for my son’s first birthday and did a test run and the cake is delicious but crumbling apart after picking it up. Would you recommend adding another egg or some milk to bind it all together a bit more? Thank you!

    1. Hi! The best way to ensure that the cake has nice structure is to let it cool completely. All the way, not warm at all. (If you wanted to, I bet you could add some mashed ripe banana but I don’t think I’d add more eggs or milk.) I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you! I probably should have specified that I am making cupcakes and this is after they completely cooled! 24-48 hours later the bottom of the cakes is crumbling. I took them out of the cupcake tin to cool, should I leave them in there to cool instead? Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    So good! I used 8 inch pans and they came out perfect at 18 minutes. I made a dairy free buttercream frosting and unfortunately didn’t let the cakes cool enough so they broke apart a little when I tried spreading it on. Anyway, the finished product aesthetically wasn’t super great because of that but it tasted amazing! Definitely a go to healthy cake recipe now!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Amy,

    I am doing a trial bake of this cake before my daughter’s birthday. The cake is great! However, my frosting is lumpy. Any tips to make it smooth?

    Thanks!

    Nicole

    1. Hi- typically if my yogurt frosting is lumpy, beating it on high speed with a hand held mixer takes care of it! Enjoy!

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