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Workplace Trends: Smash Cakes In the Break Room

Another day, another birthday party for a Millennial at work. They want their smash cake, and they're going to eat it, too!

Smash cake? Yes. A "smash cake" is a mini whole cake (about the size of a Costco cupcake and averaging around $10 in cost) that's presented to the highchair-bound birthday boy or girl at their first birthday party so they can "smash" the cake all over their face (get it?) while everyone takes pictures. Because serving a simple slice of cake is so 2012.

Apparently, the somewhat cloying "smash cake" phenomenon isn't confined to the toddler set anymore; it's a thing with grown Millennials, too! Today's 20-somethings (and those turning 30) are donning tiaras and sashes and smashing their faces into small cakes as professional photographers preserve the moment for social media posterity.

The Millennials aren't ready to put away childish things just yet. As The Washington Post reports today:

That's the underlying message in most of these photos: They're turning 30, and they are totally fine with it, no really. People have done smashes for other monumental birthdays, like 25 or 50, but it's 30 that seems to trigger the most tutu-wearing and buttercream frosting angst.

Angst? At turning 30? Wow, the Millennials are going to love 50.

What is driving this "trend"? The new thinking is that modern "adulthood" starts at age 30, and so why not have a little preschooler fun when you're turning 25? It's a last hurrah before getting "old" at 30. Sure it's silly and more than a little bit narcissistic, but it's also a testament to the passage of time, the youth-oriented demographics of the workforce, and the impending encroachment of adult responsibilities facing the late-20-something working professional.

You laugh now, but the Millennials out-populate all other generations on the job. This generational shift means the threat of smash cakes showing up at work is becoming a real, dreadful possibility.

Is it professional, though? We can debate this question all day while smash-like "farewell cakes" trend as something to give employees who are leaving the company. Some Millennials are using their best smash cake photo as their Facebook profile picture, too.

So it's not out of the realm of possibility that you could soon endure a "smash cake" party in the company break room. Let's hope it isn't your 40th birthday, because you will feel quite silly eating cake with your hands. Surprise! We have some Wet Wipes on standby! Just don't act surprised when nobody hands you a fork, or you will look old.


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