How to bake the perfect size smash cake

My little man turned ONE this past week… oh, how time  f l i e s!

He wasn’t feeling very well and I hadn’t planned on a big party since my hubby had to work late so I decided instead to do a simple photo shoot to capture this sweet age and let him explore his very own smash cake. I knew my standard round cake pan would make too much cake since it was just the 3 of us (baby + toddler) so I did a Pinterest search for tin can cake tutorials but they were either too big or too small, (any other momma just think of “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears” after reading that line? Haha!) Anyway I scoured my cupboards and came up with a near empty formula can and thought, “Why not?” so I gave it a whirl. You guys, it was the PEREFECT smash cake size- who knew!

How to make the perfect size smash cake #birthday #smashcake #baking

Because I wasn’t throwing a party but knew I wanted to do a quick shoot, I snagged a pre-made birthday banner  and “1″ candle from Target (I love their Spritz party line,) stuck a Sunday tie on my Dutcheroni from The Little Gentlemen’s Closet and put down my faux wood floor from Very Jane. Making the cake was easiest part, though…

How to make the perfect size smash cake #birthday #smashcake #baking

1. Clean out an empty formula tin can with soapy warm water and let try. 2. I used a whoopie pie box mix because it makes a small cake and comes with 2 frosting packets. Simply mix according to the box directions and pour into the formula can, being generous with PAM flour spray. Bake at 350*F for 18 minutes or until baked through. Note: As you can see in the above pic, the sides of the formula can bubbled a bit towards the top but did NOT bubble where the batter was and the cake was untouched… probably because it’s not meant to be used as a baking pan. Ha! (;  3. I love the bright neon food coloring (I used teal) and mixed with the 2 frosting packets that are in the whoopie pie box, which easily covered the cake and ended up being the perfect amount. 4. Simply top your frosted cake with a number candle and viola!

How to make the perfect size smash cake #birthday #smashcake #baking

It was about a 25 minute start-to-finish process and for me, with 2 littles running around, that was the icing on the cake. Hee hee…. pun intended! (;

How to make the perfect size smash cake #birthday #smashcake #baking

PS: If you’re celebrating a birthday, we also recommend Pick Your Plum for some fun birthday garb on big discounts today as they’re celebrating their 2 year bday! Whoo hoo!

PYP cake liners

PYP balloons

Happy Monday! See you this evening for the link up party!

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  1. 1

    How cute Kristi! I love the icing color too. Last year we celebrated a relative’s 1st birthday, and no matter what, he would not touch his smash cake! It looks like you guys had better luck!
    Jordan Biasetti recently posted..DIY Topiary TutorialMy Profile

  2. 2

    Love this idea. The fact that you used a formula can is incredible! Great job! <3 Heidi Rew from PartiesforPennies

  3. 3

    CUTENESS! Little Dutch is a handsome lad :)

    Love the teal icing!
    emily recently posted..Calling all snackers!My Profile

  4. 4

    What a genius idea! Your little man looks like he cooperated with this super cute shoot for his mama! Time sure does go by fast…my oldest “little man” will be 22 soon. Love this tutorial, Kristi. I’ll be back later to par-tay!
    Gloria @ Simply Gloria recently posted..How to Sew Ruffled Kitchen CurtainsMy Profile

  5. 5

    I KNEW I would find a use for my old formula cans!! My husband will be so happy! ha ha My baby is turning one in a little over a month and I needed a smash cake, so this will be perfect! Great idea.
    Alli Miller @ Cupcake Diaries recently posted..April Showers Bring May…Flour? {A HUGE Giveaway with 2 Winners!}My Profile

  6. 6

    Kristi, that little cake is beyond adorable!!! Though the little guy trumps the cake in cuteness. :) Happy 1st birthday to the little darling!
    Cindy Eikenberg recently posted..Love to Mom Memory TrayMy Profile

  7. 7


    So cute and fun!!

  8. 8

    That cake is too cute! It really is the perfect size for a smash cake! Love the blue frosting too…great color choice for pictures!
    Shannah @ Just Us Four recently posted..Guest Room Upgrades: Candy for DadMy Profile

  9. 9

    This little smach cake is so cute! Love it!

  10. 10

    Oh my gosh, he is so stinking cute! My little man just turned 1 a month ago.. and yes time does fly. But I totally wish you would have posted this a month ago… I guess for baby number 2 :) Pinning now and using later!

    • 11


      Dang, that stinks!!

  11. 12

    A formula can? Clever.
    Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke recently posted..Citrus Photography Art PrintsMy Profile

  12. 13

    Such a great idea! If using a full cake mix how far do you fill the can up with batter? Thanks.
    Liz Rogers recently posted..Charlie-11 monthsMy Profile

    • 14


      I can’t find the exact amount of a regular cake mix vs. the whoopie pie mix to compare for an exact amount but I would guess you would cut it in half at least, maybe adding a smidgen more batter than half at most. Good luck! (:

  13. 15


    What size can?

    • 16


      Oh!-it was a large formula can (:

  14. 17


    This was a fabulous idea! I did a test run to try it today for my little one’s first birthday and the middle did not cook through well, I even left it in for quite a bit longer…any suggestions??? Thank you!

    • 18


      How fun Thanks for trying our tutorial! So I am betting you added a whole cake mix vs. the whoopie pie quantity, which is about half the amount of batter. I can’t find the exact amount of a regular cake mix vs. the whoopie pie mix to compare for an exact amount but I would guess you would cut a full cake mix in half at least, maybe adding a smidgen more batter than half at most. Good luck! (:

  15. 19

    Great pictures, great tips!

  16. 20

    LOVE this, just pinned!
    capturing Joy with Kristen Duke recently posted..Top Posts of 2013My Profile

  17. 21

    Samra Poole

    What store did you buy the whoopie pie cake mix from ??? Really need to find it for this cake and how did you remove the baked cake from the formula can?

    • 22

      Hi Samra, I snagged mine at Walmart but found a similar product here: I just greased the formula can REALLY well and let it cool completely before removing, (to remove you can turn the can upside down and softy tap the cake until it comes out.) Good luck!! (:

  18. 23


    How did you manage to get the cake out of the can with the lip on the top? I tried this last weekend and it was a complete fail because it would not come out clean.

    • 24

      Not sure what brand of formula can you had but mine didn’t have a lip? It’s a very thin can so next time try cutting the can away from the cake ;) Good luck! XO


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