By Alkira Reinfrank.
It was the book that changed the shape of birthday parties across the country and on Saturday, all 107 cakes from the Australian Women’s Weekly birthday cookbook went on display for charity.
From the jelly-filled swimming pool to the popcorn train, birthday cakes from the whimsical Women’s Weekly cookbook have wowed Australian children for almost four decades.
These cakes could make or break a birthday party with pressure resting on parents to bring to life the colourful and sometimes tricky creations.
All 107 of the cakes from the famous 1980s cookbook were put on show in Canberra in a bid to raise money for local post and antenatal depression support service PANDSI.
More than 1,500 people came to see the nostalgic display baked by volunteers, with all the cakes being auctioned off on Saturday afternoon — raising more than $9,000.
Cake judge Pamela Clark is no stranger to the cookbook.
She was the original creator of many of the Women’s Weekly’s most recognisable cakes including the Swimming Pool and the Dolly Varden.
“I’m responsible for the pool,” she said.
“I don’t know where the idea came from. I just thought ‘wouldn’t it be great to turn a round cake into a swimming pool’.”
From 1969 to 1983, Ms Clark was in charge of the Women’s Weekly test kitchen, overseeing the creation of thousands of baked goods.
“I organised all the recipe testing, all the photos, everything that went on to make sure a perfect recipe was produced,” she said.
“I tested over half of them in the original book.”
After almost four decades, Ms Clark still works at Women’s Weekly, now as the food and editorial director of cookbooks.
Under her guidance, Women’s Weekly has published dozens of books.
But she said none had been as successful as the beloved 1980s publication.
Ms Clark said the book has stood the test of time due to the simplicity of the recipes.