I've never met anyone who does not like or love the children's book The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. It has been a favourite in our home for the last 8 years and my three never tire of hearing it over and over. I think I have read it so often as both a parent and a teacher that I can recite it verbatim.
I love a themed party so when my eldest son turned 4, he was very much into The Gruffalo and asked for (read I strongly suggested he choose) a Gruffalo party.
I looked online at all the party packs and decorations available and there are some fabulous ones out there, but being that I like to make things myself and to save a few pennies along the way, I created almost all of the decorations you are about to see in the pictures.
Here is the Gruffalo cake. It was a chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, the Gruffalo has got to be brown, right? The head is a giant cake pop held onto the body with a wooden skewer.
I used a dome shaped cake mold for the body and carved the cooled cake to the right shape. The arms and legs are small shop bought cakes (like twinkies) that I attached to the body (again with skewers) and then iced. Look out for the step by step pictures of how to assemble this cake in another post.
The leaves, mushrooms and bugs on the forest floor are made from fondant by hand or cutter.
I let my son help me add the details after I had assembled the cake and done the icing. The purple prickles are just purple fondant spikes that we hand rolled. The signpost next to the Gruffalo is just a toothpick with a handmade sign on card which is poked into a mound of white fondant.
A few close ups… a green jelly tot for the wart on his nose, and fondant icing for the rest…
Some green edible glitter to add sparkle to the leaves..just for fun
We were living in a house that was to small to accommodate mostly 3 year and 4 year olds ( we had some older children too) and their parents for the party, so I hired a local village hall and decorated it. I typed out quotes from the book and traced and coloured some of the characters to stick on the walls. It is really tricky to fill such a large space!! I prefer a home party any day.
The characters were placed in the order they appear in the book so that when we went on our Gruffalo walk we could read the story out loud as we walked the outline of the hall.
We also did face painting.the children chose a character or image from the book and we painted their faces.
We played a version of stuck in the mud, but with the Gruffalo (the birthday boy) chasing the children.
This one of the places I bought a Gruffalo themed item…the table cloth. The bunting behind the table is made of colouring sheets of the various characters and printed onto coloured paper. I then stapled them along a length of string.
I had printed out colouring sheets, mazes, wordsearches, paper owl puppets and masks and placed them on tables around the edges of the wall. The children could stand and do the activities during the course of the party.
While I was making the character decorations, I had my children make many butterflies to fill the spaces (there are a few in the book illustrations).
I also made the party food to suit the theme. We had Owl ice cream, strawberry mice, popcorn for scrambled snake, gummy worm sweets as the snake, skewers with mini sausages and chicken pieces as the roasted fox, and a variety of regular treats like crisps, cupcakes, sliced vegetables and finger sandwiches. As you can see, I also bought Gruffalo theme paper plates for them to eat off of. The green table cover was meant to remind the children of the forest. I am a fan of drinks in bottles (these were apple juice) instead of cups for parties with children under 6 years old…far less spills and you can write their names right onto the bottle.
It was a fun party, with lots of energy and activity for the children. They enjoyed getting into character with the face paint and re-telling the story as they walked the hall.
My son wanted a Gruffalo cake for his 4th birthday. It was such fun to make and far easier than I expected! It was a perfect addition to his Gruffalo themed party.
I baked a dome shaped cake in a rounded cake tin and 3 small circle layers. Using vanilla butter cream, I sandwiched the layers together. I used a regular sponge cake recipe, but any dense cake (easier to carve) will do.
The arms and legs are small cream filled cakes (store bought) like Twinkies or brioche rolls which I attached with small (cut) skewers.
The wooden skewer went right through the cake from bottom to top and served as the attachment for the head.
I roughly covered the entire cake in brown chocolate butter cream.
After roughly covering the entire body shape, I used a piping bag and a cake decorating nozzle to make little piped shapes which mimicked the fur look I wanted.
To make the head, I used all the bits of cake I had carved off the body and a decent amount of chocolate and the left over vanilla butter cream. I mixed them all together and then I rolled the mixture into a head shape and had some fun molding the nose/snout? shape.
I made the horns out of white fondant and using a variety of other colours, I used cutters for the leaves and butterflies. I made a few toadstools and bugs to decorate the base of the cake.
I made a huge pile of purple prickles and had my little guy place them all over the Gruffalo's back.
The ears were cardboard cut into the right shape and covered in fondant. I used orange fondant and a circle cutter for the eyes. The black dot is from a small tube of writing icing. The tusks are white fondant again shaped by hand.
The black tongue is black fondant shaped to hang down and the black mouth line is the black writing icing again.
I used a green jelly tot for the wart on his nose, and gave him some scribbled hair using black writing icing again. When it was done I pushed it onto the wooden skewer that was sticking out of the body.
Once he was at this stage, I placed the greenery and bugs around the base so that it looks like he is sitting on the forest floor.
I also used cream coloured cardboard and some felt tips and pencil to make a wooden looking sign saying happy birthday. I attached it to a toothpick and then placed it into a mound of white fondant.
I hope you've been inspired to make your own Gruffalo cake for your child!
Enjoy organising your own Gruffalo party and i hope this have given you some ideas! Thanks for taking a look.
Visit the Gruffalo website for other related activities.
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.