Cake Smash Bakery Recommendations

After choosing a photographer (hey, hopefully me!) and a theme for your cake smash photo session, selecting a bakery is the next step. Your baby is the star of the show, but the cake comes in a close second. I highly recommend you have a professional baker make something beautiful, even if it is a simple design. Not only is the look of the cake important, but certain things (like the type of icing used) will impact how the cake photographs. An experienced bakery will be able to guide you through making your selections, and will guarantee that you have the cake ready to go on and looking great the day of your shoot. While grocery store bakeries do offer free 1st year birthday cakes I can not tell you the number of times these cake orders were misplaced and parents were scrambling the day of their shoot.

New for 2021: Faux cake options! We had some talented bakers make us absolutely adorable, absolutely non sticky “cakes” on styrofoam molds. We can dab a little icing here or there for the full effect or skip that part all together and results are great. If you don’t want to deal with cake order or want to avoid all that sugar, this is the option for you! (YES, those are fake!)

faux cake smash styrofoam

The design can be fun, creative and very decorated – stripes, dots, sprinkles, rosettes, unicorns – the more the better! Or simple and sweet with a thin layer of icing depending on your style. A few helpful tips:

  • White cake is a better option than chocolate. Plain old vanilla sponge cake crumbles perfectly. Chocolate looks like…poo.
  • Light/bright colors work better than darker/saturated colors (which will often stain the skin). If there is a dot of black icing on the cake, your baby will have black lips for their photos. (Red looks like a crime scene).
  • Choose a buttercream style icing vs. fondant or whipped.
  • I have cake stands available for you to choose from in studio so no need to bring one unless you have something specific in mind (and often do a few photos with the stand and then remove it since they do tip easily).
  • Have your baby try icing before the session in the weeks before the session – that is the only way you can anticipate how your little one will react to a sweet, new texture and ensure that there are no allergies
  • 4-6″ size cakes work perfectly, for a little extra pizazz make it 3 layers tall.

The Raleigh – Durham area is full of great options. These bakeries listed below were either recommended by clients or I have worked with them directly but please follow up with each one individually to make sure they are the right fit for you and your design ideas. And please comment below with your suggestions as well!

Cakes and Cookies by Dena – Wake Forest, NC

Sweet Traditions – Wake Forest

Once in a Blue Moon Bakery – Cary, NC

Lyla Jones BakeryCrabtree Valley Mall Raleigh, NC

Burney’s Sweets and More – Raleigh, NC

Edible Art BakeryNorth Hills Raleigh, NC

Cupcake Shoppe Bakery – Raleigh, NC

Bestow Baked Goods – Holly Springs, NC

Sweet Cherry Bakery – Apex, NC


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