Birthday cakes hold a special place in our hearts. We eagerly anticipate that sugary confection, topped with candles for us to blow out as we make a wish. But one tradition threatens to turn this sweet treat into a health hazard – cake face smashing.
I recently came across a concerning post on Reddit that revealed many famous bakeries are now including warnings on their cake boxes, cautioning against smashing faces into the cake. The post featured an image of a box from Paris Baguette, a popular bakery chain, advising against “traditional face smashing into the cake” as it “can result in severe injury.”
Curious, I visited my local Paris Baguette to inspect their cakes. Sure enough, those frosted masterpieces came tucked into boxes, urging buyers to refrain from faceplanting celebrants. A spokesperson for the company told me these warnings have been in place for years, aiming to “reinforce proper safety protocols.”
So what exactly are the dangers of cake facers? There are a few varieties of this messy tradition. Newlywed couples often gently smear wedding cake on each other’s grinning faces. But some have taken things to more aggressive levels, as we’ve seen in recent social media trends.
The callous cake smash may start as a playful prank but can quickly turn painful. Videos of the stunt have spread widely across TikTok and other platforms. Trust is betrayed as a friend or family member forcibly plunges the birthday boy or girl’s head into the cake, often from behind—cue gasps and angry shouting as icing splatters everywhere.
Unfortunately, these stunts have resulted in severe injuries. The cakes may look soft and spongy, but many contain thick wooden dowels to provide hidden structural support. Falling face-first onto sharp sticks can mean gashes, puncture wounds, and even lost eyes.
One woman nearly lost an eye when a forceful cake smash caused a dowel to pierce her eye socket. The stick just barely missed her eyeball but still required emergency surgery for removal.
And she’s not alone. A quick internet search reveals many similar horror stories. People have suffered scratches, splinters, and other injuries from concealed decorations and supports when aggressively pressed into cakes.
Even if no sticks are present, falling face-first risks nose and tooth damage; cakes are often more complex than they appear, incredibly elaborate tiered wedding cakes layered with dense fondant icing. Rapid impact on a table’s edge can lead to bruises, splits, and fractures.
There’s also the risk of humiliating, traumatic emotional damage from this deceitful “prank.” What should be a joyful celebration can turn into a distressing betrayal.
So why risk injury and hurt feelings over this dangerous fad? There are much safer ways to indulge our cake-smashing temptations. Gently rub a dollop of icing on willing participants who want to play along but avoid any aggressive shoving. Softly bumping foreheads with gentle pressure is a safer alternative.
Or opt for creative new traditions that don’t involve projectile frosting trajectories. Gently placing the birthday child’s hand atop the cake for a quick handprint is a cute, Instagrammable alternative.
When serving cakes, confirm no hidden skewers are inside. Cut well away from dowels if present. Follow the wise guidance from bakeries urging us to treat cakes with care, not with faceplants.
With some creativity and care, we can preserve the merriment of cake ceremonies without harm. Our birthday memories deserve sweetness, not injury. Be safe, have fun, and please keep faces out of the icing!