** Update - the AWW children's birthday cake book has been rereleased! Hooray! See here. **
Growing up in the 1980s, the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake book was a big part of my childhood. When I was planning Ali's birthday party I borrowed my mum's copy, and Mark and I spent ages looking through and remembering the cakes that we had growing up. My favourite was always the swimming pool - I think I had it two or three years in a row.
It must have been quite tiresome for my mum, because my birthday's in the middle of December and inevitably really hot, so it would have been hard to make the jelly set. Looking back, I'm not really sure why I loved this cake so much as I wasn't a huge fan of either jelly or swimming, but I think the little dolls in jubes really appealed to me.
The AWW book has been republished in recent years, but I still love looking through the old version because it reminds me so clearly of my childhood. It's also much less slick than the new versions, from a time before Martha Stewart and Co highjacked children's parties and made them so stylish and tasteful. See how wonky those licorice steps are on the swimming pool? That would never cut it in the new editions of the book. The cakes in there are much smoother, brighter and use heaps of fondant icing.
The book does show its age in some ways. There are sections "For Boys" and "For Girls", which I don't think would be tolerated these days. Especially as the choice of cakes is rather un-PC. Boys get Indians Native Americans and helicopters...
while girls are offered a sewing machine, sewing basket...
For Ali's birthday I went with a safe option, the numbers.
I thought that for a novice-birthday-cake-maker a banana cake number 1 with lemon butter cream and smarties seemed managable. And besides, there's no point tearing my hair out over something really elaborate until he's old enough to notice, right? I cut the icing and smarties off his piece, and he was extremely happy with his banana cake, although a bit baffled by all the singing and candles.
Does anyone else have fond memories of the AWW cake book? What was your favourite?