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.

Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book stove cake

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.”

Favourite Cake

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.”

Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book jelly swimming pool cake

Popular Cake

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.

Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book dolly varden cake

Just NO!

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!

Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book worst cake

Not Perfect

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.

  • Like the different birthday number cakes, for something to look forward to. Agree the duck is not too great.


  • How can u pick just 1


  • So many great cake creations in this book, too hard to pick a favourite. The thing with these cakes is they’re relatively simple to make with easy to follow step by step directions and they turn out super impressive. Not like a lot of cakes I see today


  • Ahahaha I remember seeing some of these cakes as a child – my friends’ mum’s would make them for birthdays.
    My favourite was definitely the doll one (or barbie as one had for hers).
    Looking at the ones pictured, I love the stove one!!!
    Might be brave one of these days and try and tackle it as bub turns one next month!


  • I loved looking through this book. My Mum made the train one for my nephew :)


  • I loved these cakes as a kid and are now replicating them for my own. The train and the sowing machine are my favs


  • I absolutely loved getting some of these cakes for my birthday as a kid!


  • I’ve only ever tried the doll cake and it was very easy and pretty.


  • I remember that I so desperately one of the pool cake, as all my friends parents made it for their birthdays. But sadly never got it. Haha


  • Omg hahahaha I never got any of these cakes when I was younger ????


  • Wow


  • I never got a choice of cakes when I was growing up. For my girls now I don’t make them myself but let them choose on what they like.


  • Mum would make us one every year for our birthdays. My sister and I loved getting to pick one out. So many great memories !


  • Every birthday my mum would let us pick, I loved the butterfly cake and doll cake and my sisters favourite was the pig with its curly tail. We still have this book today


  • My Nanna used to make a sponge cake for birthdays. I made my boys a football, hockey oval, ufo, train, snake and, my best one of all, a ghetto blaster with detachable speakers. Not sure where I got the recipes from though


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