How to Shoot & Style a One-Year Cake Smash

How to Shoot & Style a One-Year Cake Smash

Tips on how to style and shoot a baseball-themed one year cake smash including making the cake, settings, and taking pictures that will last a lifetime.

Soooo not really a food or a farming post. Ha.

But today my little man turns one, I am both sad and excited about this. He is growing up, which is a wonderful thing!  But a little sad because he already needs me less. Willful, determined and independent little man that he is, I’m positive he will do great things.

When you have a baby, EVERYONE from your grandma to random people on the street tell you that “time flies” “they get big so fast” “they’re only little for such a short time.” Et cetera et cetera.  At the time, you’re running on no sleep, a schedule determined solely by feedings and dirty diapers and you maaaaaay have not showered in a couple of days (thank god for dry shampoo).

But you nod your head politely, roll your eyes internally and watch dispassionately as some random older lady on the street squeezes your baby’s cheeks, trying desperately not to give her the evil eye while you wonder what she touched last before placing her hands on your precious bundle of joy.

But, the worst part about it is- they’re all right.  Time does fly and they do get big so fast.

So here we are at life one year in. We officially have a toddler on our hands. So what should we do? Smash a cake to celebrate of course.

So we went with a baseball theme for the little dude and I’ll break it down for you what we did.

– THE CAKE – © Dana Kieffer | The Grey Bell. Do not use without permissionMake sure you use a cake stand or plate that is not going to break if flipped over.  I found a great metal cake stand at my local thrift shop for just this purpose.

To go with the theme I made him a baseball cake and even though it goes totally against my religion, I made the cake out of a box,  Like really, why spend time on it when it was going to be smashed.

I baked the entire box of cake in a 2.5 qt. glass pyrex bowl for about 55 minutes and this gave me the rounded shape I was looking for.

I frosted the cake using this recipe for buttercream, (this recipe does call for raw egg whites so follow proper food safety procedures.  If you are just not comfortable with using raw egg whites you can purchase pasteurized egg whites or use another recipe for frosting of your choice).

Apply a crumb coat to the cake and let set for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Apply a thick layer of frosting (remember more frosting = more messy cuteness). Let set another 30 minutes in the fridge.

Dye about 1/2 cup of the frosting red using gel food dye. Dye remainder of the frosting green. Place into separate piping bags.

Draw laces on the baseball using the red frosting and a plain and thin tip (Wilton 2) Draw two curved lines and then make a v-pattern down the lines.

Using a star-shaped tip, “plop” the green frosting onto the visible remainder of the top of the cake plate to represent grass.

And voila! Baseball cake.

– THE SET © Dana Kieffer | The Grey Bell. Do not use without permissionI shot outside since my house has minimal natural light, but in front of a large window with lots of natural light would work well too.

For height, we bought some helium balloons.

We used a beautiful and colourful quilt and placed the cake on a overturned crate. This was great for my little guy since he isn’t walking yet but pulls himself up really well.© Dana Kieffer | The Grey Bell. Do not use without permission– THE CAMERA –

Since we shot on a cloudy day with the sun peeking in and out, I shot on portrait mode of my DSLR. (This was a really hard pill for me to swallow as an almost exclusive manual- mode shooter.  But with the constantly changing light I was too busy adjusting my settings and was missing shots.) I shot a mixture of landscape and portrait shots.© Dana Kieffer | The Grey Bell. Do not use without permission– GENERAL TIPS –

– Get help!  My sister came and helped me and was invaluable. You need someone to corral the kid while you work.

– Shoot at a happy time of the day when your model isn’t tired or hungry. 1:00 was perfect for my little dude.

– If they are not smashing the cake, cut it up and offer them a piece My little guy was waaaaaay more into it once he realized it was edible!

– Have fun and be bubbly, your kid will respond to you having a ball.© Dana Kieffer | The Grey Bell. Do not use without permission © Dana Kieffer | The Grey Bell. Do not use without permission