Welcome back to our breakdown of the greatest and most confusing cookbook ever published – the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. It’s the most Australian creation since Vegemite on a barbie; more Aussie than a sitting prime minister throwing back a schooner at the cricket.
Last week I dealt with some of the worst cakes the AWWCBCB has to offer. The Duck was a disgrace, The Piano was pathetic, and The Jack-In-The-Box just downright terrifying. But this time, I think we all deserve a dose of sugar-laden positivity. Because there are some absolute bangers in this book – cakes to bring a tear of jealousy to the eye of a 2002 primary schooler.
Who among us hasn’t gone to a birthday party and given a sharp gasp when the cake was wheeled out? No amount of cheap lolly bags could hide your disappointment when you found out Amy got The Swimming Pool and all you got for your eighth birthday was a cream sponge. It stings.
This list will let you revel in memories of cakes gone by, or bring back bitter rivalries. I’m happy for both, honestly. So, counting down from five to one…
5. Humpty Dumpty
Look at this dapper gentleman. Look at him. The only thing better than this egg’s bow tie is the seemingly out-of-context tartan print that leads to his dangly cardboard legs. Ten points if your mum went the extra mile and put a dash of moss or lichen on this baby. Creativity unbound. In 2017, feel free to remake this cake with a road sign to Mexico and a sombreroed Humpty.
4. The Choo-Choo Train
Ah, the cover girl herself. According to the AWW, this locomotion was the most popular cake in the book, which honestly just means that Australian readers are incredibly lazy and didn’t really read past the first page. Nevertheless, the sugary popcorn smoke tower is a veritable accomplishment, meant only to be a giant middle finger to other mums at a birthday party: “Does your child get smoke that floats? Didn’t think so.”
3. The Castle
Now, other publications have dubbed this cake the “most-loved” out of the array in this book. I don’t disagree, per se. Personally I feel that the overall look of this cake is a bit cheap, and I would have had none of this cake were it wheeled out at a party during my childhood. Again, we see the engineering mayhem that is the upside-down ice cream cone; honestly a marvel of culinary prowess that we’ve yet to see in modern cooking.
2. The Doll
Holy marshmallow. This tower of pink takes second place purely for the sacrifice of a toy, the intricate balance of marshmallow/doll/sponge cake, and the overall wow factor. Well done, AWW, for coming up with a genuinely impressive style of cake that’s still relevant, largely edible, and brings tears to the eyes of six-year-olds.
I never got this cake as a kid. I was a bit of a tomboy, but I had never been more likely to relinquish my ‘boyish’ ways than when my best friend Sarah got this doll cake. Ugh. Anyway, yes. Well done.
1. The Swimming Pool
Well OBVIOUSLY. There was no way that the pool cake wasn’t going to top this list with flying, jelly-dampened colours. Tiny figurines lazing in jelly rings. A ladder made of liquorice and musk sticks. A fence made of those chocolate finger things. To whomever conceived this cake, I hope later in life you entered and won MasterChef. And if you didn’t, I implore you to consider it.
There should be a national day dedicated to The Swimming Pool Cake. Just have a think about it, Malcolm.