The ritual started weeks before our actual birthday. Mum would take down our well-thumbed through copy of the original Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Cook and we would spend hours poring over the pages and finally picking out which cake we wanted our mother to make for the big party.
It’s not the same these days with Instagram and Pinterest showcasing sophisticated cake trends – Unicorns, anti-gravity and towering drip cakes. But really, nothing beats the innocent creations that captured our attention from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Cook.
My favourite cake ever was the fairytale castle cake with four turrets, topped with white fluffy frosting and sprinkled with smarties and liquorice allsorts. I know it must have been a way-past-midnight effort for my mum but the result was spectacular.
I also loved the colourful typewriter, stove and the candy store cake, which was another pure masterpiece. I remember my brother picked the piano one year and he even made a miniature music book, with teeny weeny notes.
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The Genius Behind The Book
Pamela Clarke is the face behind the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. She shares some insight into her famous bestseller.
Pamela is the first to admit that some of the cakes are even too difficult for her.
Worst Cake Ever
“Oh! Tip truck cake. B**ch of a cake. Don’t make it … unless you’re really desperate,” she joked in an 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.”
Surprisingly, Pamela’s favourite cake is the jelly swimming pool cake.
“That one actually happened to be mine, and the one in the book is the one that I made as a prototype.”
The most popular creation in the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Cook is Dolly Varden, the Barbie doll cake with the marshmallow dress.
My worst cake out of the book was the yellow duck decorated with popcorn and crisps. Even today, I balk at the idea of sweet & savoury together and I just couldn’t understand how anyone could possibly pick a cake which married sweet icing and salty snacks. Ugh!
She 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!”
What was/is your (or your kids’) favourite creation from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book? Tell us in the comments below.