Healthy gluten free smash cake is a moist combo of chocolate and vanilla cake and decorated with creamy homemade buttercream frosting. Perfect for little fingers to smash into!
It’s quite hard to believe, but Kennedy is officially no longer a baby and has moved into toddler stage. Our little girl is now one!
I know so many parents say that time goes by so fast, and I never truly understood it until we had a kid of our own.
I will forever be so grateful that we were able to have her before sh*t hit the fan and everyone went into lock down. It meant that both families were able to visit us in the hospital and my aunt, uncle and grandpa and grandma were able to visit her when she was just two weeks old.
While this first birthday party looked quite different than the one I had always imagined for our first baby, it was still extremely special.
We celebrated with both sets of grandparents, my brother and sister-in-law and Burken’s brother and girlfriend. We Zoom called in a few additional family and friends so they could watch all the fun on the smash cake.
Speaking of cake, this healthy gluten free smash cake is one I am so excited to share with you!
Kennedy was skeptical at first, but once she got her hands in there, that girl had a blast with the hot pink buttercream frosting and getting cake crumbs everywhere. Winston was especially happy about this as well.
While I could keep talking about the cuteness of Kennedy getting into this smash cake, I think it’s time we get down and dirty ourselves on how to actually make this cake.
How to make healthy gluten free smash cake
Creating the marble batter
Okay, marble might be a bit of a stretch here. It was of my best intention to create a marble batter for this smash cake, but didn’t quite turn out.
The mix of chocolate and vanilla did however turn out super well. So we’re sticking with that concept.
Almost any time I make a gluten free recipe, I lean on King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. It’s the one flour that I feel is less grainy than traditional gluten free flours and bakes just like traditional all purpose flour.
A mix of olive oil and buttermilk makes this cake extremely tender. Since this was one of Kennedy’s first “real” sweets, I wanted to use less refined sugar. So pure maple syrup and raw cane sugar naturally sweeten this gluten free smash cake.
Once the vanilla batter has been whipped up, you just need to split it between two bowls. Add some cocoa powder to one bowl to create the chocolate cake portion.
Here’s where my marbling didn’t quite turn out. The chocolate batter was a little to heavy for the vanilla batter. Plus with these adorable mini bundt pans, it was hard to spread the chocolate throughout the vanilla like you traditionally would with a marble cake.
But that’s totally okay! Because these cakes turned out even better than I would have imagined. Moist with a nice exterior, which made them perfect for the buttercream frosting.
Making homemade buttercream frosting
This buttercream frosting is one I have pretty much perfected now. It’s just the right amount of stiffness, but pillowy soft at the same time. It held up well to decorating, but when you put a bit in your mouth it just melted.
What’s important when making the perfect buttercream frosting is to make sure your butter isn’t too soft. If you can just barely make an indent in it when you press your finger in, that’s perfect!
Using a hand or stand mixer is also going to make this the best homemade buttercream frosting. You need to whip the butter until it’s completely smooth before adding the powdered sugar.
Add the powdered sugar about a half cup at a time to really create the perfect combination of stiff and fluffy.
Decorating healthy gluten free smash cakes
This is honestly one of my first attempts at decorating a cake with fun designs. With the exception of a ninja turtle cake I made for Burken’s 30th birthday, but that was a whole different level of decoration.
I used two different decorating tips and colored the buttercream frosting pink and left one white.
The best part is that you can really get creative here and decorate the cakes any way you’d like.
If you like less frosting to cake ratio, less decoration. If you’re more frosting to cake (which was me this round), then heavy on the frosting decorating.
For Kennedy’s particular cake, I wanted as much frosting on there for her for a truly fun smash cake. Get that pink frosting everywhere girlfriend!
Smash cake for parents and freezing
Not only was this such a fun gluten free cake to create for Kennedy, but it was also absolutely perfect to share with the parents.
While these are mini bundt cakes, there’s really enough for two with just one cake. Everyone enjoyed the fun decorations and the moist crumble of the cake. Many had no idea it was actually gluten free.
If you have a first birthday coming up and want to make these cakes in advance, they freeze beautifully. You can fully decorate the cakes and then place them in an airtight container in the freezer until you’re ready.
Since the buttercream has enough fat in it, it holds together nicely in the freezer.
Just pull the cakes out the night before you’re ready to enjoy them.
Kennedy’s personal smash cake
I’ll just leave you here with multiple photos of Kennedy thoroughly enjoying her smash cake and the wonderful presents she received. Happy first birthday no so baby, baby girl!
- 1 ½ cups 1:1 Gluten Free flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup raw cane sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups butter softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar*
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease four mini bundt pans with baking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, maple syrup, raw cane sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine.
Split the batter among two bowls. In one bowl, stir in the cocoa powder until combined.
Pour a quarter of the vanilla batter into the bottom of the pan, pour a quarter of the chocolate, and repeat once more, ending with chocolate.
Using a butter knife or toothpick, swirl the batter in each pan.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
Beat in the powdered sugar, once cup at a time, until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Divide the batter among two bowls and color one bowl with red food coloring until pink.
Spoon the batter into two separate piping bags fitted with 4B and 2D tips. Pipe each cake with the pink and white frosting as desired.
*Note: to make this cake healthier, you can sub out the powdered sugar for Swerve powdered sugar.
**Note: these cakes freeze really well even once decorated. Let cakes cool completely, decorate and place in an airtight container. Remove the night before to thaw.