Revisiting a cherished children's classic

Wacky Rabbit

Only a few cookbooks can stand the test of time. While many works fade away, there are a few that continue to inspire decades after they are published. One of these is  Australian Women's Weekly's Children's Birthday Cake Book. For decades, Australian children have chosen to celebrate with a cake from one of book's whimsical designs like the train or the jelly swimming pool, which "are not just the centrepieces of birthday parties, but the subjects of photos revisited for years to Children's Birthday Cake Bookcome." 

This May, Canberra journalist and home baker Ginger Gorman, along with a group of fellow amateur bakers, will attempt to cook all 104 cakes from the book's latest iteration. The cakes will be sold at a silent auction, with proceeds to benefit Canberra support group Post and Ante Natal Depression Support and Information Inc (PANDSI).

So why have the cakes in this book - which are decorated with items like potato chips, popcorn, and liquorice - been popular for such a long time? Gorman says that the cakes are manageable for busy mums and dads: "I think they're achievable and we feel connected to them. They're not perfect."

Photo of Wacky Wabbit from Children's Birthday Cake Book (Australian Women's Weekly): Vintage Edition by Australian Women's Weekly

2 Comments

  • Foodycat  on  3/31/2016 at 11:09 AM

    It's such a great book! I remember poring over it as a child, and being delighted at friend's parties when they had one of the cakes. Who knew chopped up jelly made such good water? Today's hyperslick, professional looking fondant cakes miss out on something, I think.

  • hillsboroks  on  4/1/2016 at 10:39 AM

    I had never seen this particular cookbook before but it instantly brought back memories of a little pamphlet book that my mother had when we were growing up, "Baker's Coconut Animal Cut-Up Cakes". The cakes were decorated in colored coconut (of course!) with candies as the eyes, whiskers, etc. and ended up looking just like cartoon animals and we loved them. Just like Foodycat we spent hours deciding which cake we wanted for our birthdays. When I had my children I borrowed the little booklet so many times my mother ended up just giving it to me and I still have it. Just paging through it brings back wonderful memories of fun birthday parties. I have photocopied numerous times for other friends and relatives as I am sure it is long out of print.

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