Christchurch dad bakes incredible Bunnings-inspired birthday cake

When Olivia turned 2-years-old a few days ago, her parents had a good reason to make a big deal out of it. Due to a chronic lung condition, her mum Emily had spent her daughter’s first birthday in hospital last year so the family had some making up to do.

While trying to come up with ways to make this birthday special, mum and dad George Gribbin and Emily Arps saw baby Olivia play with her Bunnings forklift.

“The day before her birthday, we were still deciding what to make when I saw her forklift toy and joked with George that we should make a Bunnings cake,” the mum told the Herald.

“It was actually super fitting – Olivia hasn’t ever been attached to any special toy, character or thing, but we’ve noticed she’s always been keen on working out how things work. She’s also more than happy to come to Bunnings with me and push one of their mini trolleys around.”

Once they settled on the idea, it was time to get baking. Olivia’s dad George is a great cook and baker so spent a few hours the night before making four cakes to make up the layers of Liv’s cake. In the end, they only used three of them but the dad wanted to make sure they had all they needed.

The epic cake creation had two layers of banaka cake, with a middle layer of chocolate cake. It was then covered in chocolate ganache and the Bunnings-green fondant that Emily says they were lucky to be able to buy, rather than have to make.

Olivia shares her mum’s passion for DIY activities and can often be found helping mum create things. Her parents have since found she also loves giving a helping hand when it comes to cake decorating, as she wanted to be involved during the “few hours” it took to decorate the Bunnings warehouse.

The incredible cake includes the iconic Bunnings sausage sizzle – featuring Liv putting a “barbie” on a barbie – as well as a carpark billboard with Liv in her first Bunnings onesie, the entrance featuring a photo of Liv at Bunnings pushing a mini trolley and a Bunnings truck and forklift.

The parents even created accessible parking, including a wide “midlife crisis” parking spot for the oversized sports car.

The cake combined the family’s passions. George is, by Emily’s account, “an excellent cook” while Emily passionate about DIY and woodworking. Little Liv just loves helping mum and dad with their projects.

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“On weekends you’ll typically find George cooking up a storm in the kitchen while I’m out making something in the garage. Liv is often not far away helping one of us out. We’re stoked she’s showing interest in a wide range of activities,” the mum said.

The family lives in Christchurch and both parents work in mental health. Emily is a mental health promoter for the All Right? and nationwide Getting Through Together campaigns, while George works as a counsellor in a high school, and is building his private practice supporting wellbeing in workplaces.

Emily, who has always been passionate about upcycling and DIY, says she always wanted to be a builder and is starting a joinery course next month to upskill. Her goal is to eventually merge her two passions, “using DIY as a way to facilitate conversations about mental health and wellbeing”.

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The parents have shared images of the cake on social media and tagged Bunnings in their posts but have not heard any feedback from the company.

Their biggest concern, however, is the fact that, having been so successful with their first joint birthday cake creation, they may have set the bar way too high for years to come.

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