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

Visit all of our YUMMY CAKES like our Neapolitan Shortcake,

Neapolitan Semifreddo Shortcake recipe. SO easy and ridiculously good!! A sophisticated ice cream cake!

plus learn how to fancy up a cake stand on the cheap!

DIY cake stand dome knob handle by @LollyJaneBlog

Lolly Jane
Meet Kelli & Kristi, twin sisters and authors of Lolly Jane. We are two busy wives + mommas who are makers of all things pretty. From signs to home decor and holiday crafts or redoing furniture in between soccer practices, we do it all all while armed with an ice cold Diet Coke. Join us in our DIY adventures! XOXO
Lolly Jane

Latest posts by Lolly Jane (see all)

  • Jordan Biasetti - 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!ReplyCancel

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

  • emily - CUTENESS! Little Dutch is a handsome lad :)

    Love the teal icing!ReplyCancel

  • Gloria @ Simply Gloria - 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!ReplyCancel

  • Alli Miller @ Cupcake Diaries - 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.ReplyCancel

  • Cindy Eikenberg - Kristi, that little cake is beyond adorable!!! Though the little guy trumps the cake in cuteness. :) Happy 1st birthday to the little darling!ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - So cute and fun!!ReplyCancel

  • Shannah @ Just Us Four - 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!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith @ A TIPical Day - This little smach cake is so cute! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Krista @ joyfulhealthyeats - 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!ReplyCancel

  • Liz Rogers - Such a great idea! If using a full cake mix how far do you fill the can up with batter? Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - 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! (:ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - What size can?ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - Oh!-it was a large formula can (:ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - 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!ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - 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! (:ReplyCancel

  • Carine Torres - Great pictures, great tips!ReplyCancel

  • Miastyle Mama | - […] Photo by Lolly Jane […]ReplyCancel

  • capturing Joy with Kristen Duke - LOVE this, just pinned!ReplyCancel

  • 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?ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - 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!! (:ReplyCancel

  • chelsey - 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.ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - 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! XOReplyCancel

    • Lauren - Hi Chelsea, I know this is way past your discussion date, but did you ever figure out how to get around the lip. I have a Similac large can, and it definitely has a lip that would make it difficult to get the cake out. Thanks for your help!ReplyCancel

      • lollyjane - Hi Lauren, We told Chelsea too that you can remove the lip (it should come off without a mess using a clean pair of pliers) or you can do what I did- I just greased the can really well (almost overkill, ha!) with FLOUR baking spray, baked it, used a knife around the edges to loosen it up then cooled it in the fridge for a bit before the cake just slid right out. :) Good luck and lmk if you have more questions! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Irma - This is perfect!!!

    Is it a similac 1.93 lbs formula can? Or Enfamil 1lb can?ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - Thanks Irma, good question! It was the Similac can. Make sure you use a good spray before adding the batter (the baking spray with flour in it would be fab!) Good luck! :)ReplyCancel

  • Blair - Love this idea! I didn’t have a formula tin, so I’m using a metal coffee tin to bake my son’s smash cake this weekend. Do you mind me asking how you got the cake out of the tin without it falling apart? Did you chill it first?ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - Hi Blair! I used a thin frosting knife and ran it around the edges immediately after removing it from the oven then let it cool completely before turning it over. Letting it cool or even freeze for a short while is a great idea! Happy baking and happy birthday to your little man! :)ReplyCancel

  • Rena - Neato! Did you have a hard time getting the cake out of the can?ReplyCancel

  • mary - Thanks for the idea – Just made it this afternoon. Used a Costco Kirkland brand formula can. I maybe used a little more than half of a box cake mix, and had a little bit of trouble with the bubbling of the can going into my cake. However mid baking I pushed the foil back towards the can, and the batter filled back in most of the way. I recommend checking on it often, esp if you use too much batter like me :) When I took it out, I cut the lip off using scissors, and flipped it onto some parchment paper. i noticed that the bottom middle was still not fully cooked, so popped it (still upsidedown) on a cookie sheet and back in the oven. Will have to do a touch of trimming, but overall should look great once I put the icing on. Thanks for the idea!!ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - You are a rockstar, Mary! Thanks for the tips! Babysitting it a bit is time consuming I’m sure but I’m glad you didn’t give up. It’s a crazy out-of-the-box tip with the formula can but the size is too perfect not to try. Thanks much for sharing:)

  • Smash Cake: 1st Birthday Party Must-Have - […] One of the twins over at Lolly Jane posted another cute one for her son:  How to Bake the Perfect Size Smash Cake. […]ReplyCancel

  • Megan - I admit, I was skeptical at first but this is an awesome idea. I used a standard cake mix (funfetti) and poured about 2/3 into a 21 oz tin and the other 1/3 into a 12.5 oz tin. Both tins were very lightly coated with butter, then floured before pouring the batter in. The larger one I baked at 350 for about 40 minutes, the smaller one for about 20 minutes. I did nothing but check the centers to see if they were done during baking. My cans both had a metal lip on them which were easy to cut off with a sharp kitchen knife. They slid out of the cans with very little work on my part.

    I had to do a little bit of tweaking to the initial instructions to accommodate the type of mix and cans but, overall, I’m really glad I found this!ReplyCancel

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