The clever lady behind the famous Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook shares some inside knowledge on the best and worst cakes to make.

Pamela Clarke tells how she did her first cake decorating cake course at 15 with a neighbour.

Later on, she got a job at the Australian Women’s Weekly in their test kitchen and became head home economist.

Pamela admits they broke a lot of rules making the cakes.

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If you were an Australian kid born in the ’80s or ’90s, your parents probably slaved away to make you one of the birthday cakes from Mrs Clarke’s book.

womens weekly cake bok

Now a bestseller that’s sold millions of copies, the Birthday Cake Cookbook is being celebrated as a modern Australian icon.

We have all baked late into the night trying to perfect these creations.

Mrs Clarke admits some of the cakes are even too difficult for her.

“Oh! Tip truck cake. B**ch of a cake. Don’t make it … unless you’re really desperate,” she joked in a new ABC video looking back at the cake cookbook.

“Mrs S (her food editor) wanted a truck and I was given the task of doing it. It was almost a feat of engineering. She loved it and it was photographed and given a double page spread in the book. The weight of the top would just break all the cake,” she said.

“Don’t go there. Glue the pages together. Forget it.”

Mrs Clarke’s favourite cake is Dolly Varden, the Barbie doll cake with the marshmallow dress.

Mrs Clarke says if you look closely at the photos in the book, none of the cakes are perfect. And that’s why they’ve been so successful.

“When you look back at some of those cakes, they’re seriously dated. There is no such thing as a really smart, perfect looking cake in there.”

“You’re only limited by your imagination!”

Do you still make the famous Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cakes for your kids?

Share your comments below.

  • I loved picking out a cake from this book!


  • Women’s Weekly cookbooks are fabulous,l do have a quite a few!


  • I love all these vintage cakes, everything is perfect and made by mums that have hidden cake professions these days! Then there’s me, who struggles to get the cake right at all!


  • I always wanted the pool cake. It looked so good :)


  • We always got one of these cakes and had so much fun picking them out. I hope to continue it with my children.


  • I’ve had a few cakes from that book when I was a child, and my kids have had some too


  • I’m not a baker so whilst I have admired from afar, I’ve never made one of these cakes. I’m always so impressed by those that do.


  • I love all Women’s Weekly cookbooks!
    The recipe cards from 20-30 years ago are the best! I grew up with my mum using them and then I inherited my mother in-laws and they were still new in packaging.


  • My mum had these books when growing up. It’s great how technology has encouraged people to freely exchange crafts and knowledge. Although it puts pressure on not so creative parents


  • No I never made these. I actually hardly use a recipe for a cake and make it often up myself.


  • I just had to google the pic of the dreaded tip truck cake and couldn’t even recognise it as one! I must say my hubby and I are quite good in the cake dec department, we have made a john deere tractor for a friend’s son’s first birthday and our son had an excavator cake


  • I hope Mouths of Moms got permission to release this article or they may get themselves in strife.


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