I can’t believe my sweet baby Piero is ONE! What they say is most definitely true.. the days are long but the years are short.
This past year flew by so incredibly fast. There were hard times, tired times, but SO many good and happy times. We couldn’t imagine our lives without our little guy, even if we are tired 24/7. 🙂 He’s truly the light of our lives!
Although life is currently very different in regards to social gatherings (hi, Covid you can go away now), we still wanted to make it a special day and celebrate our little guy with our immediate family.
And let’s get real: not only was it a celebration for Piero, it was a celebration for Alessandro and I, too! Woo hoo- we survived the first year of parenthood! That calls for a big ole birthday bash if you ask me.
Since Piero isn’t old enough to demand a car, firetruck, dinosaur, lego, sports birthday party, etc. We decided to do an Amalfi Coast themed party for his 1st birthday. Think lemons, aperol spritz’, lemon linguine, melon and prosciutto, family, lots of flowers and greenery, and obviously tons of good times. It was honestly perfect and so much fun!!
Setting up the party truly wasn’t as hard as you may think! We ordered mostly everything on Amazon, with a few exceptions, and Alessandro and I hunkered down the night before to get it all set up!
FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MAIN SET UP. THE SUPER FUN BALLOON GARLAND/GREENERY WALL!
I absolutely LOVED how this turned out! Alessandro was the one behind the greenery along the wall and to be completely honest, I wasn’t so sure how I felt about it at first. Once we got the balloon garland and gold Piero balloons hung, I realized it was just the look I was going for!
For the greenery: We ordered 2 packs of these on amazon and Alessandro hung them along the wall using scotch tape a few nights in advance so that was at least done and ready to go!
‘Piero’ Gold Balloons: I ordered these on Etsy and got them within about a week of ordering! They only take about 5 minutes to blow up so we did this the morning of the party.
Balloon Garland: The best part!! I had searched and searched for a yellow and white balloon garland, but none of them were what I was envisioning, so I started doing research on making my own.
I realized that all you really needed to make your own balloon garland were balloons (we ordered 50 white and 50 yellow), a balloon decorating strip, and a balloon pump so you didn’t pass out in the process!
It only took a few hours and really wasn’t that bad! Also much more less expensive than hiring someone to do it! Just make sure to blow up all different sizes of each color and alternate as you go. We used the balloon glue that came with it to stick it to the wall, and had no issues removing it the next day!
NOW LET’S CHAT ABOUT THE BAR CART!
I only added a few small touches to my already existing bar cart to make it jive with the rest of the room and really feel like Amalfi! We added a few vines to the top shelf so they were hanging down, fresh flowers, lemons and limes, and off to the side, a basket full of faux lemons with a sign that read “Fresh Lemon Juice”.
For the sign, I cut cut out a rectangle of one of the many amazon packages that came that week and wrote on it with a sharpie! It would have been cute to do one basket of lemons and one basket of oranges, but I didn’t think of that until the morning of!
MY PERSONAL FAVORITE TOPIC: THE MENU!!
Planning the menu for this party was easy and fun. Mainly because I was only feeding a small group of family members, so there wasn’t any pressure, but also because I could incorporate simple fresh dishes that you might find in the Amalfi Coast area.
Sadly, I didn’t get any photos of the food (I know, i’m a food blogger… unacceptable), but by the time we were eating, we were away from our phones and really focused on Piero and family at that point. But here is a run down of what I served!
Cantaloupe & prosciutto– always a good idea! Simply slice your cantaloupe in half, remove the seeds and then slice off the rind and into half moon strips. My father-in-law, who grew up in Italy, taught me the right way to serve this– Wrap cantaloupe with thinly sliced prosciutto, season with cracked pepper, and serve with lemon wedges. SO refreshing.
Gazpacho– this is actually a Spanish dish, however, it’s so light, refreshing and perfect for summer, so I really wanted to serve this as well.
Lemon Linguine– It wouldn’t be an Italian party without some type of pasta! This 5 Ingredient Lemon Linguine is simple, fresh, and so delicious. I knew it would pair well with the rest of the menu, and it was a hit!
Grilled Chicken– We wanted to serve some sort of protein that was easy to prepare, paired well with everything else, and also delicious! I marinated a bunch of boneless skinless chicken thighs in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried oregano and tossed them on the grill just before serving.
Large Salad– I tossed up a big variety of greens (arugula, romaine, red leaf lettuce) and dressed it in my Mother-in-law’s dijon vinaigrette. It’s so simple, but hits the spot every time. It’s just 2 parts olive oil to one part red wine vinegar, Dijon Mustard to taste, salt and pepper. Whisk it all up until creamy!
Aperol Spritz’: It truly wouldn’t be an Amalfi Coast Party without an Aperol Spritz station! So simple, but so refreshing. I typically wing it when I make these, but for reference I do about 1/2 wine glass of Prosecco, 2-3 splashes of aperol, splash or two or soda, lots of ice, and an orange wedge! SO GOOD!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST– THE CAKE!!
I decided to make my own cake for Piero because #1: I needed to make sure the cake was egg-free since Piero has a slight allergy to eggs, #2: it was way more budget friendly, and #3: the cake I had in mind was super simple garnished with greenery and lemons so I had a feeling that I could make it happen.
I can assure you, I am NOT a professional when it comes to making cakes so you can absolutely do this too, if you so desire!
First, I ordered these cake pans and spatula so that I could make a cute layered cake. Then, I found a good egg free cake recipe (below) and on the first try it turned out fabulous! I let the layers cool completely and even stuck them in the freezer for 15 minutes before icing.
Once I was finished icing the cake, I added some fresh eucalyptus around the base and on top and added a few lemons for good measure! I refrigerated it overnight, but made sure to take it out the morning of the party so it wasn’t too hard for when Piero dug in!
*One thing to note, the cake could have been a tad smaller, so you could always do 3-4 layers, instead of 5, although I did love the look of 5 so maybe just go for the gold! 🙂
Baby’s First Birthday Cake (Eggless)
For the cake:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 T sugar
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 c water
- 2 T vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 2 T vanilla extract
- 1/2 c melted butter
For the icing:
- 3 sticks of butter (1 1/2 cups), room temperature
- 5–6 cups powdered sugar
- 5–6 T heavy cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
Optional Garnishes: eucalyptus, lemons, and a candleScale
- preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cake pans.
- In a large stand mixer with the paddle attachment, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the sugar.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, one by one.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and tap the pans to even it out.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserts clean.
- Allow to layers to cool for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Prepare icing by combining room temperature butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt until creamy. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick.
- Before icing the cake, add the cooled layers to the freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to frost! Then taking a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand. Spread 1/2 inch layer of frosting evenly on top. Top with 2nd layer and repeat, until all layers have been iced. Spread the remaining frosting on top and all around the sides using your icing spatula. I used my multi purpose scraper to scrape around the sides of the cake to make it even. Garnish with greenery and lemons and refrigerate overnight.
- Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 1 week.
I hope you found this post helpful!! If there is anything I left out or that you have questions about, leave a comment below and I will get back with you as soon as possible!!
AS SEEN IN THIS POST:
Greenery on the wall (We bought 2 packs and had them inside and outside!)
Balloon Pump (game changer!!!)
Balloon Decorating Strip (to make the garland- so easy and much less expensive!)
Fake Lemons (we bought 3 packs and had them everywhere!!)
‘Piero Gold Balloons
Number one silver candle
Lemon Burlap Banner for Bar area
Piero’s outfit was purchased in Italy 5 years ago so no link unfortunately!!