DIY Rainbow Smash Cake

Photo credit Brittany Gidley Photography

Photo credit Brittany Gidley Photography

For Patrick’s birthday, we scheduled a smash cake photo session with our favorite Cleveland photographer, Brittany Gidley Photography. I shopped around at cake shops, and found that most don’t sell smash cakes, and those that do charged more than I wanted to pay.  Some, like our local Giant Eagle, gave a free smash cake with the purchase of a full sized birthday cake, but I just needed a smash cake for the photo session.  His actual party wasn’t until 4 days later, and I didn’t want to keep the cake for that long.  
 
I decided to venture into making my own smash cake!  I had been looking at some of the different ways to make a rainbow cake on Pinterest, but then Dave found this AWESOME tie-dye cake mix from Duff Goldman. We found the cake mix at Target.  They have lots of other fun cake mixes too.  We also used the zebra one for his birthday party. 
What you need:

  • 1   box of Duff Goldman tie-dye cake mix
  • 1   6” round cake pan
  • 1   cupcake pan (you will have enough batter left over to make approximately 12 cupcakes)
  • cupcake liners
  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tbs. oil
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1   large bowl
  • mixer
  • 6 small bowls or cups (each should hold at least 1 cup)
  • 1   1/4 measuring cup
  • 6   spoons (regular tablespoons work best)
  • frosting
  • decorations of your choosing for the cake
  • Hungry child 
 Directions:
 
You will start out following the directions on the box.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites.  Now, I used to avoid recipes that involved separating the egg whites from the yolk because it sounded intimidating.  This was the first time I did it, and it was way easier than I expected.  If you haven’t done it before, here is a video tutorial that teaches you how. 
Blend the ingredients with a mixer for about 2 minutes.  Then divide the white cake batter into your 6 cups/bowls.  You want to put about 3/4 of a cup of the white batter in each of your cups/bowls.  I used the glasses that came with my bunch bowl set, and they worked perfectly.  I also found that stemless red wine glasses (the opening on white wine glasses was a bit to narrow) worked as well.
 
Now comes the color!  The cake mix kit comes with 3 food color pouches, red, blue and yellow. The box tells you exactly how many drops to add to each cup of batter to get the desired color.  I recommend doing one food color pouch at a time.  Clip a tiny bit off one of the corners and add the number of drops below.
Red: 15 drops red (I added a little be more because it looked a little pink)
Orange: 5 drops yellow, 2 drops red
Yellow: 8 drops yellow
Green: 9 drops yellow, 2 drops blue
Blue: 14 drops blue
Purple: 7 drops red, 2 drops blue
Stir each cup with one of your tablespoons, and watch as the white batter transforms into the pretty colors! (This could be a fun teachable moment about colors with your little one too!)
Now here is where we begin to stray from the directions on the box.  The box gives directions for a 2-layer cake, 3-layer cake, 13 in x 9 in cake and a fluted tube pan (what??), but not for our fun smash cake!  Spray the cake pan generously with cooking spray.  Starting with red and working through the rainbow, pour 1/4 cup of each color into the center of the pan.  Between colors, give the previous color a little time to spread out and settle before adding the next. Be sure to to jiggle or move the pan to prevent colors from mixing.  When you are done, it you should see a ring of each color (see below).


Now over to the cupcakes. First, be sure to put a cupcake liner in each spot.  Starting again with the red, spoon a little less than 1 spoonful of each color in each cupcake cup.  You may not see a ring of each color when you are done this time, just because of the smaller cups.

 

Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes and the smash cake for 35 minutes.  Be sure to use the toothpick test to make sure both are done before taking them out.  I have done this 4 times, and the one time they didn’t cook long enough, my smash cake fell apart.  Here is what they look like after they are done! So much fun!


Now it is decorating time!  Be sure to let the smash cake cool COMPLETELY before taking it out of the pan.  I recommend decorating it on the cake stand you plan on using to prevent messing up the cake while moving it.
Have fun decorating your cake!  As I said, I have done this 4 times, and 3 of the times we made it to the decorating stage!  Here is what our first trial run looked like (I had to use the leftover Christmas sprinkles I had around the house).

 
The cupcakes are super fun too!

Now to see these cakes in action!

Here is Patrick enjoying a cupcake from a trial run!

Here is Patrick enjoying a cupcake from a trial run!

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Smash cake session with Brittany Gidley Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

Birthday party pictures by Tonya Ann Photography

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17 comments

  1. jamie.menzie.sumner@gmail.com'
    Jamie says:

    Hi!
    I want to make this for my twins’ first birthday. Did you bake the smash cake and cupcakes at the same time and leave the cake in 10 minutes longer?

    Thanks

    • Kristen Kelly says:

      How fun! Yes, I baked them all at the same time and left the cake in the extra 10 minutes. Be sure to let the cake completely cool before trying to remove it from the pan, otherwise it will crumble. Happy Birthday to your twins!

  2. aleannejones44@yahoo.com'
    Leanne Jones says:

    Omg THANK YOU SO MUCH!! my daughter wanted cupcakes for and I was like ummmm no baking time for them hmmm! You have helped me tremendously thank you very much I am very thankful and appreciative for your perfectly detailed post!! #panthersNation 🏈🏈 #keepPounding

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