Ladybug Smash Cake

ladybug smash cake

My 'little love bug' turned 1 a couple months ago...

My ‘little love bug’ turned one a couple of months ago. (Just like everyone warned me, the year went SO fast!) Smash cakes are a first birthday near-necessity (imho), so in the month beforehand I spend hours searching for Ladybug smash cake ideas 🙂 This was the design I decided on, and the recipe's below!  Don't be intimidated by my long-winded detailed instructions - this cake was a fast and easy assembly! I recommend giving the video a quick watch; it's less than a minute long.

My little one loved her Ladybug Smash cake, and I loved watching her with it!  See below - happy baking! 

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!)

FAQs: 

"Your recipe calls for cake mixes? Seriously?" 

  • Okay, all my scratch recipe purists - hear me out on this one! 😉 My favorite scratch recipes are delicious, but they bake too dense to be easily smash-able by little hands. After making many smash cakes over several years, I've found cake mixes to work the best. Kiddos need to be able to smash their smash cakes! 

    If you'd like a scratch recipe though, a half batch of my favorite Vanilla Cake layer recipe is a perfect size for smash cakes! 🙂 

Ladybug Smash Cake

Cute first birthday Ladybug smash cake - fondant ladybugs and a cute topper make this one a cinch to bake and decorate!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Decorating time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ladybug smash cake
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 745kcal
Author: Sarah H

Equipment

Ingredients

Cake

Frosting

Decorations

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 6 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and /or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray.
  • Combine melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Add in cake mix and stir until moistened (about 30 seconds), then beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  • Using a kitchen scale, divide batter evenly between the two 6” pans – I had about 450 grams in each of my smaller pans. You may have a bit less batter if using cake mixes. (Using the kitchen scale guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.)
  • Bake for 35-37 minutes, (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pans to separate the cake from the pans. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. While you’re waiting…make your frosting!

Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  • Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined. (I waited until my cake was stacked and frosted, then colored the remaining frosting for the green ‘grass’ border.)

Assembly

  • Once your cakes are cool, level them - this can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting. Add your second cake layer on top – I like to flip the top layer upside down to make smoothing the edges easier.
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake tiers to keep crumbs out of your final layer. Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth (I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for my final frosting layers).

Decorating

  • To make the ladybugs, roll about ½ a tablespoon of fondant into an oblong circle and flatten slightly on one end. With a dab of water stick about a ½ teaspoon size ball of black fondant to the flattened end. I used a toothpick and the blunt end of a skewer to make the lines and dots on the ladybug’s back, but a paintbrush would work as well. Allow 1-2 hours to dry before transferring to the cake.
  • I flattened the angled end of a picture hanger hook and used it as a stamp to make the little dotted lines on the side of the cake, but an angled paintbrush would work as well. I found it the easiest to put on the lines first and then the ladybugs at the ends. With a leaf tip and the multi-hole grass tip (both the tips I used are in this set or you can use the Wilton grass tip and the middle tip from this set) pipe a rim of short and tall grass around the base.
  • Optional, but I loved this Ladybug Cake Topper in a décor set I found on Amazon!  I thought it looked super cute and finished the cake off really well.

Video

Notes

Make this recipe? Let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 39g

Featured in this recipe: 

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Questions / comments? Send me an email! 

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