Birthday: My divine second son Harry – turning 3.
Organised by: Mum Alison of Alison Lawson Cakes.Location: Our temporary home in Bowral, NSW – we are in the midst of building our dream home having moved to Bowral from Sydney one year ago.
Theme: Deciding on a theme for Harry’s 3rd birthday celebrations came easily this year. We had to look no further than his favourite book The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
The next job was to choose a colour scheme. Brown, white and green came to mind quickly, to represent the ‘Gruffalo’ as well as the ‘deep dark wood’.
Invitation: When it came to the invitation, it was obvious to introduce our star character – the Gruffalo! My sister and I worked on the invitation, and Harry was thrilled with the concept of a Gruffalo Feast. He proudly carried his own copy of the invitation around the house for days!
Cake: Besides the colourful array of Gruffalo inspired treats on the party table, the real hero was the ‘Gruffalo’ cake. One of the key elements in planning a party table, is to create a focal point. The cake is an obvious choice, because it is usually the most expensive item on display, and is the result of many hours of
work – it deserves to take centre stage! The three-dimensional design of the cake captured the ‘giant’ nature of this much loved literary character. The Gruffalo sat up tall, in all of his ‘giant’ glory, watching over the entire party. The cake was chocolate mud between layers of chocolate ganache. The ‘Gruffalo’ shape was carved by hand, and took quite a while!
Party Food: Creating the ‘Gruffalo Feast’ menu was fun. It was such a ‘hoot’ to see the children embracing the treats in their ‘Gruffalo’ form. The menu was as follows:
- Owl Ice-cream, otherwise known as ‘Cookies and Cream’. I displayed the cones on a cake stand to add some extra levels to the table.
- Vegemite sandwiches were disguised as Roasted Fox Sandwiches – a sure crowd pleaser at any toddler party.
- Scrambled Snake – popcorn displayed in gorgeous little pine cones.
- Gruffalo Crumble, otherwise known as Apple Crumble, was very popular among the mums and dads!
- Orange Eye Balls, made famous by the Gruffalo. I made these by placing rockmelon balls in little shot glasses.
- Purple Prickle Jelly cups with Blackcurrant jelly as the secret ingredient.
- Gruffalo Tonic – water served in funky recycled bottles
Given my love of baking, I couldn’t resist whipping up some decorated cookies. I honoured the character of the Owl, as well as the setting of the Forest. Cookie Wands are popular with the children, and I love the effect of being able to stand them up on the party table. The red and white ‘mushroom’ cookies looked ever so sweet, and were hard to resist.
Decorations: Good quality decorations are expensive to buy, so I try to make my own. Bunting creates a fun party atmosphere and you can incorporate the papers and colours of your choice. Martha Stewart has a fabulous tutorial on her website on how to make your own ‘party flags’. I found the free printable template incredibly simple to use, and before I knew it I had a long length of beautiful bunting ready to hang – thanks so much Martha!
- Take some inspiration and plan your party table around it.
- Select some feature colours
- Make the cake the star attraction of your party table
- Use favourite plates, cake stands and jars to create different levels
- Include tags and labels to dress the table up
Something Special: Party favours. The ever-so-stylish Sambellina brand party bags were a great addition to the overall scene. Inside I included an individually wrapped ‘forest’ cookie, as well as a personalised chocolate bar – very cute!
Details of where you can find bits and pieces from the Gruffalo party table:
- The Gruffalo cake from Alison Lawson Cakes
- Forest and owl cookie Wands from Alison Lawson Cakes
- Mushroom cookies from Alison Lawson Cakes
- Personalised chocolate bars from Alison Lawson Cakes
- Deep dark wood cakes from Alison Lawson Cakes
- White serving platters from Barbara’s Storehouse, Bowral.
- Cane box with lid from Barbara’s Storehouse, Bowral.
- Glass bottles – recycled San Pellegrino bottles
- Pine cones and mini spoons from Sweet Style
- Party favour bags, pine boxes from Mon Tresor
- Mini cups for serving jelly and crumble from COLES
- Disposable shot glasses from COLES
- Gruffalo labels and tags – a home project with my sister
Thank you so much Alison for sharing this amazing party with us. If you love Alison's cakes and party styling, pop over to her Facebook page to say hi.