The History of the Cake Smash!

The History of the Cake Smash!

Since I am the biggest history nerd on the planet, yup, I totally am. I decided to write a little  piece on the history of the 1st birthday cake smash! I’m a huge South Jersey history buff, but why not include some photography history?

I’m sure a lot of you will ask this… but where in the hay did this cake smash tradition come from? It seems to have had a BIG, I mean ENORMOUS, following within the last 6 or so years. Almost every 1st birthday session, with any photographer, involves the famous cake smash.

Generally a smash cake is a smaller cake. It ranges about 4 to 6 inches. It’s usually a single layer cake and often times, accompanies an elaborately decorated main cake. The smaller cake allows the child to do anything they want with it. Drool on it, get boogers on it, eat it, throw it, and smash it in their own faces. It sounds like a lot of fun and it’s meant to be destroyed by the birthday boy or girl.

cake smash

This little girl (from South Jersey) went all out!

Where on earth did this tradition originate from?

Well, there are two theories…

The first theory is that it originates from the Mexican tradition… As it is the largest growing population in the United States, so this would make a lot of sense!

They celebrate what is called, the Mordida.  The Mordida is a tradition when the first birthday boy or girl’s face gets shoved into the cake (usually by the parent) to take their first bite of cake.  Everyone around them sings, Mordida! Mordida! Mordida! It means bite in Spanish.  Mom or dad will come up behind the child usually after blowing out the candles and boom… face in the cake. Everyone then cheers and lots of pictures are taken.

cake smash 4

This little guy, in Cherry Hill, was such an adorable doll baby with his cake smash!

The second theory originates from the tradition of the bride and groom on their wedding day.  With this tradition, is the classic smashing cake into each other’s faces or the other option of feeding to each other nicely. Now, if the bride and groom are “nice” and no cake flying.. it means that they have a willingness to share a household together and their commitment to take care of one another in the duration of their marriage.

Now, the throwing of the cake at each other… is suppose to suggest that the man is dominant and a woman is submissive as a master and servant relationship. This is according to a Dear Abby article I read. It’s a four step ritual according to a book called, “Curious Customs,” written in 1987. I find this story very odd. In this book, they say that this “tradition” should have been stopped over 50 years ago. As women are suppose to be equals. Yet, this cake smashing is still going strong! Most folks, I know find this in good fun and during the cake cutting, you never know how it is going to play out.   

Another rumor is that if the bride and groom do throw cake at one another, that they will be headed for divorce down the road. These are some of the crazy facts I found in researching for the history of the cake smash.

cake smash2

The cake smash was meant for the little one, but she really didn’t want much to do with it… So.. guess who comes to the rescue? Big sister!

Another fun fact…

In ancient Roman times, the throwing of the cake at the bride was to insure her fertility and for her to be fruitful and bear many children. Sounds like a waste of yummy cake to me!  I’d prefer to devour it. 

My conclusion…

This cake destroying, smashing, eating like an oink oink piggy thing, has been going on for quite some time. The first birthday cake smash is a trend with photographers now. My guess there’s probably truth to both theories I mentioned. It seems like some sort of cake demolition has been going on for centuries so this doesn’t surprise me that this is the newest trend.

For me personally, I find it a lot of fun! I did it with my own children. I also enjoy capturing it for other’s children. It’s always fun to see the child’s reaction and if they will tear into it or not!!

Happy Shooting and don’t forget to say, “MORDITA!” “MORDITA”! “MORDITA”!  for your next cake smash session!  It’s always fun to sit back and watch the show, isn’t it?

Happy Shooting, my friends!


  1. I know it might seem fun but how can one waste so much of food especially when 1/7 people are hungry and 1/3rd of food is wasted according to the food aid foundation. The simple thought of it gives goosebumps to me then the question of fun should be questioned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

join the tribe