About two months ago Hussein turned three. His birthday this time was so special in many aspects.First, for the first time everything had to be gluten-free. I wanted to let him choose freely what to eat without asking me if it is allowed 0r not, which takes the fun away.. Second, I decided to have a theme for the birthday party, and it was a JUNGLE PARTY, because of his growing interest in animals ! Hussein was the king of the jungle, the lion. All other family members had to choose a jungle animal mask. It was lots of fun.
I started planning everything about a week before the party, and it was lots of work. The decoration, the masks, the plates, the gluten-free recipes and the garnishing. I made a big plan. It was like a project consisting of several smaller projects. I had milestones, some things could be finished early like cookie dough, fondant, buttercream, pizzas, most decorations had to be done the day before the party so that Hussein wouldn’t have enough time to ruin everything and some things had to be done on the day of the party like the birthday cake and the garnishing of the cupcakes.
I decided not to buy anything for decoration and to make everything at home.. It was time consuming, but worth the effort..
first, the banners..
the Happy Birthday banner
I printed the letters out, my friend helped cutting them out and we stapled them onto real dried leaves which my grandma had collected..Using wooden laundry clips, I hanged them on a green chrismas garland. It looked so professional yet original.. Here is the link where I printed the letters out.
The Jungle Birthday banner..
For this I used some ready stickers as well as printed out pictures and photos
I used the idea of a felt playmat which I found online to decorate the table.. then I added Hussein’s mini animals to decorate it. I also divided different gluten free mini sweets by color and put each color in a small colored transparent bowls, they looked cute.
Now after the party Hussein plays with it as a playmat, we also cut some felt fishes and animals that he can play with…
I collected all Hussein’s stuffed animals and let them put birthday hats
The balloons …
After choosing designs and colors we cut the parts out from felt and sticked them together using the glue gun..
And finally to the important part,
first, the lion cake..
for the chocolate cake:
1 cup cocoa
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch or sweet potato powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
1/1/2 cup oil (I used heart of sunflower oil)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
chocolate buttercream recipe:
1/4 cup shortening (I used natural ghee)
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbsp juice
2 cups caster sugar
cocoa to color and taste
for the decoration:
gluten free marchmallows
Hershey’s chocolate chips
shredded cooking chocolate (or you can use coconut and color it in a plastic bag)
The cup cakes
cup cake recipe:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 tsp. gf baking powder
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups white rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp gelatin powder
Gradually add flour blend alternating with milk to butter mixture at low speed until well blended
easiest fondant recipe: (I think I doubled this recipe..)
4 cups white gluten free mini marshmallows
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp water
put marshmallows and water in microwave-safe bowel and put into microwave for 1 minute, then stir, then microwave again for 30 seconds if still not melted –> stir in sifted powdered sugar –> dust area and hands with powdered sugar –> form into balls –> form each ball into a disc –> put color in the center –> fold into ball around color –> knead
I decorated my mini pizzas into smiling faces..
pizza crust recipe
1 Tbsp flaxmeal + 2 Tbssp of boiling water and whisk
125 g of each: millet flour, potato starch, tapioca flour (I used bob’s red mill All purpose because I was out of tapioca), brown rice flour
1/1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sunflower oil or 50 g butter
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup butter milk
2 tsp sugar
olive oil for brushing
knead –> let rise for 1 hour –> brush with oil –> 220 degrees for 10 minutes –> then add topping (I added topping from the beginning because they were frozen)
I used olives for the eyes, green pepper for the nose and tomatoes for the mouth (and hussein suggested grated carrots for the hair so we added that, too,it looked nice )
Although I had collected tons of animal shapes for the cookies, I ended up sticking to three shapes because they were easier to deal with: the letter H (for Hussein), the number 3 (for his third birthday) and the bear shape.
400 g gf Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose flour
250 g butter
350 g Cheddar Cheese
(of course I had the dough ready in the freezer– then I baked them the day before the party and heated them before the party again)
For the base of the canappe I used the Egyptian Pro-free gluten free All Purpose flour and followed the package instructions, then I cut the toase into small circles, topped them with AHF mayonnaise and then with red and black caviar
Rice Meat Fingers with tomato dipping sauce
Recipe (as I can remember, I didn’t stick to a recipe):
1 kg ground meat
2/3 cup rice flour
1/3 cup chopped dill
2 tsp parsley
2 finely chopped onions
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
I used strawberries dipped into melted chocolate, cantaloupe, marchmallows, grapes and canned cherries
I used grilled shrimps, cheddar cheese coated with smoked salmon, olives, (I looked for cherry tomatoes but couldn’t find them), grilled zucchinis
You may have noticed that I wanted all the food to be easy to pick and eat by hand.. we just used the plastic plates, we even didn’t need the cups because we bought mini juices and water bottles.. I wanted everything to be spontaneous and “childish” and, of course, easy to clean up :).
Now, I wish I still have the links where I collected some ideas and recipes for the party during the brainstorming phase..but I will search for them, and if someone feels I should have referenced his site, pls let me know your link and I will add it as a reference…
The party was great, I had prepared some photos and videos of Hussein as a slideshow on TV and we watched them together, I had also collected some funny youtube Happy Birthday videos for him to watch and dance to and we had fun (Al-Hamdulillah)..