When we first started planning my daughter’s recent 1st birthday party, I had no intention of creating my own smash cake recipe. I figured why re-invent the wheel? I was planning to find one on Pinterest and call it a day.
But when I actually went to find a recipe, I realized I wouldn’t be reinventing the wheel, because there wasn’t already one out there! I couldn't for the life of me find a fruit-sweetened smash cake that looked worth making.
There were smash cakes with all sorts of random ingredients, as well as ones with tons of sugar. Lots of adorable ones that were clearly professionally made, and just too fancy for us.
There were also those that said no sugar, but had maple syrup, or honey, or whatever other combination of non-sugar sweeteners you can come up with. All of which at the end of the day are pretty much the exact same thing as sugar!
Sugar or Not?
I have absolutely nothing against sugar, and my daughter won’t be restricted from sugar at all. But I also see absolutely no need to give sugar in a first birthday cake when my daughter doesn’t know what it is, and has no need for, or interest in it, to begin with. I’m all for pushing off the parade of sweet things until much later!
So with that in mind, I was looking for a birthday cake with no sweeteners other than fruit, and no questionable or unnecessary ingredients. So when it comes down to it…a muffin really! And as with all my recipes for babies, I wanted to enjoy eating it myself.
Enter this cake. I had been working on a muffin recipe for awhile, but just never managed to get it quite right. When I started thinking about it more from a cake side, it became clear what the recipe should be!
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This cake is sweetened with bananas, but I wanted something more than that for the main flavor.
Fresh fruit didn’t give enough flavor throughout the cake, but freeze dried fruit did! I had some freeze dried strawberries hanging around in my pantry, and they turned out to be the perfect addition. They impart a bit of a sweet and sour flavor to the cake, and really take it to the next level.
I haven’t tried it with any other fruits yet, because we liked how the strawberries tasted so much, but I’m sure others would work, too.
As for the frosting, I tried a couple of different sugar free variations. Keep in mind, one of my goals for this cake was that I wanted to eat it, too! The winner, by far, was fresh whipped cream.
No stabilizers or sugar needed, but I did throw in some of the freeze dried strawberries, and it became one of my favorite frostings! So many frostings are much too sweet for me, so this one is right up my alley!
It has that same sweet yet slightly sour flavor as the cake does, and just adds so much! It makes it a fun pink color, too.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is by no means limited to a smash cake! It would be great as muffins, or as a type of banana bread. Without the frosting, of course.
I trialed this recipe with white whole wheat flour, and while I didn’t like the end result as much when my goal was a cake, it would make a great muffin. Some of my trials definitely ended up as muffins for our breakfasts!
Delicious Fruit-Sweetened Smash Cake
- 1 ¼ cup (180 g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 large bananas (about 1 cup pureed)
- ¼ cup freeze dried strawberries, powdered (a little more than 1/2 cup strawberry slices)
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp-1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries, powdered (about 1/2 cup strawberry slices)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two 6" cake pans by placing parchment paper in the bottom of them. Grease and flour the parchment paper and sides to prevent the cake from sticking and ensure an even surface.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. Set aside.1 1/4 cup (180 g) all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda
- In a small bowl, mash bananas with a fork until they are a fairly smooth puree texture.2 large bananas (about 1 cup pureed)
- Add freeze dried strawberries to a zip-loc bag and seal. Use a rolling pin or a drinking glass to crush the strawberries into a fine powder. Some bigger chunks are ok, but you want them as small as possible.1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries, powdered
- Add powdered strawberries and remaining wet ingredients to the bananas and mix thoroughly.1/4 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix until just combined.
- Pour half of mixture into each of the prepared pans and place in oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (My oven takes 22 minutes.)
- Remove pans from oven. Let cool in pan for five minutes before running a knife around the edges to remove the cakes from the pans. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Add whipping cream to the bowl of a mixer, and beat on medium to high speed (depending on your mixer) until stiff peaks form. For best results, place your bowl and beaters into the freezer to cool before beating.1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Add sliced strawberries to the zip-loc bag and crush into powder, as above. If you plan to use a piping tip for your cake, be sure to crush the strawberries into a very fine powder or they will block your tip.2 tbsp-1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries, powdered
- Gently fold powdered strawberries into whipped cream until evenly dispersed. Start with two tbsp, adding more to taste.
- Place one completely cooled layer onto a plate. Ensure the top is level by slicing off any domed area.
- Add a spoonful of frosting to the top of the bottom layer and spread evenly. Place the next cake layer on top.
- Use the remaining frosting to cover all cake surfaces. Pipe decoration around the edges and top if desired. The recipe makes enough frosting to cover the cake generously, if you plan to do a lot of decorative work you will need to increase the amount of frosting.
- Keep the finished cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
How many muffins or mini muffins does this recipe make if I’m making them for party guests as well?
I am looking forward to making this for our daughters 1st birthday. How would you adjust the baking time for 4 inch cake pans?
I tried to make this and I am not sure what I did wrong. It is super dense and almost bread like. Super disappointed.
Thank you for this! I made this for my daughters 1st birthday and she loved it! Tastes like banana bread!
hi, can i opt out frozen strawberries as I cant find them at my place? Thank you
Hi! Can this be made into a “normal” size cake using bigger cake pans?
Yes! You may have to double or triple the recipe to get it to the size you desire.
So glad you loved it!
Do you think this would work with coconut flour, almond flour, or a combination of both? Looks gorgeous and delicious!
Both times I’ve tried making this the batter is very thick. Any ideas?
Can you use frozen strawberries instead of freeze dried?
I have not personally used frozen instead of freeze-dried, but I’m sure that you could! It may make the recipe wetter and you might have a harder time turning these into powder.
You could possibly try increasing the milk. This recipe is closer to a muffin type batter versus a more airy cake.
Thank you! I have not personally tried using these types of flours in the recipe so it might be a little trial and error making these changes with the recipe.
I made this last week and I am no baker but it was DELICIOUS. It came out quite compact though so was just wondering how easy it had been to smash for your little one?
Also, if I make this a day or two in advance, will it be ok to keep in room temperature in an airtight container as I found it got more stiff in the fridge.
Would it work out to trade out the freeze dried strawberries to freeze dried blueberries?
Can I make and frost the day before serving? I’m worried the frosting will break/melt.
It would be best to frost the day of based on the ingredients in my opinion.
Yes, that should work!
It is a little bit more of a heavier cake, but that makes it easier to grip as well. I have not left it out so long so I am not sure what the outcome would be.
Could you make this into cupcakes, as well?
Any luck using coconut flour? Same amount??
Dos the cake freeze well, if I made it in advance? Thanks!
Yes, you could make this recipe into cupcakes.
Hi Kerry! I have not tried freezing this cake, but I believe that it would fair fine. I would run a test on this before the big day though!
Hello Tanya, I’ve never used coconut flour, but from what I’ve read, you actually have to change the recipe and use around 20% coconut flour that you would regular baking flour.
You can use other forms of strawberries, you just might have a different result. you could also replace with different types of berries as well.
I have only made it as a cake so I am not sure the number.
I am not sure, you would probably want to watch them a little closer.
I’m sorry you were disappointed. It is more of a muffin type of cake so that it is easier for little hands to grasp.
This was super easy to make! I ended up using yogurt for frosting & he loved it!
Can I make this cake a day ahead of time?
Is it possible to replace eggs with flaxseed or something else to make it vegan? Also have you tried making coconut milk whip cream?
This is so good! I just made it for my daughter’s birthday. We haven’t even put the frosting on yet and it is still really good. I split it between three 4 inch tins and it ended up a bit more domed than I expected, I wonder if I should’ve cut the recipe in half….But I’m good with having to trim some so that I can eat it! Haha
Glad you enjoyed it!
I haven’t tried it with this recipe, but yes often flax or chia can be used as egg replacers. It would be worth a shot!
That should be fine.
This cake was a hit with my one year old and the rest of the family really! It is so good!
Omg thank you so much for doing all the trial and error required to make this recipe! My daughter’s first birthday is coming up and like you I have been searching and searching for an all fruit sweetened cake with no added sugar. And the proportions are just right for a smash cake instead of a big cake! I’ll be able to use this for her mango sponge and her strawberry frosting and anything else that comes up down the line. You know how exciting it is, as a fellow mama, to find something that will actually work!
Thanks for the recipe! I used fresh strawberries and berries. Tasty even for adults. Very simple to make too. Perfect for juggling kids haha! I made it 2 years ago for my first and making again now for my second LOs birthday!
Glad you enjoyed it!
Do you think it would work to replace the banana with strawberry purée?
I’ve never tried it, but texturally it would be worth a try! You might find it fairly sour though as bananas are much sweeter usually, so it depends on what you are going for.
I’ve never tried it, so can’t say one way or another. I would imagine the flavor would be much more sour, but might be worth a shot! I would normally say go applesauce as a first sub instead.