Old Gold

Make no mistake I am no baker. A baker I am not. Whenever I have to go somewhere and take something sweet it is packet all the way. And or purchased from somewhere that has some idea what they are doing. I do want to be a better baker, and am trying, but it’s slow and steady. I just prefer to cook ‘proper’ meals. Savoury meals. Meals that are eaten with wine.

But. There is one exception: Birthday Cakes. In my humble opinion, part of being a parent is whipping up a shitty birthday cake for your kid on their birthday. Not some fancy schmancy store bought cake but home made. See? I am fickle! It’s part of the parenting of a child’s life over the course of a year. The baths, the feeding, the dressing, the teaching AND the cake making. I will not judge the packet in this instance, I roll a 69cent Aldi plain vanilla cake myself, but so long as the decorating and the presentation is home made and a little dodgy, then your work is done.

Those who are friends and family and long time readers of this blog will know all about some of the cakes we have made. Daisy’s 1st Birthday for instance.

And then for her 2nd when the Cake off’s began. My husband had the audacity to tell me that a Humpty Dumpty cake sounded pretty easy and he could do better, and thus the ‘cake off’ was born. As suspected, the kid totally fell for the jelly sea and chose his over mine. Whatevs.

Her third birthday saw 2 cakes being made. You would think he was done with the jelly, but oh no, it got another run. I won this year though. Of course!

And this year we stuck with just the one cake – things were out of hand, the competition was a little too fierce between us, and I had my 15 year School reunion the night before the party so one cake (made by Dad it was).

Let’s not mention the pathetic packet number poor Harper got – come on we had just moved in!

See! Dodgy? Check! Home made? Check! Adored by the children? Check! MENTAL PARENTS? Bingo!

But. There is something about birthday cakes that I just love. I think it might have something to do with my love for them when I was a wee girl. The trawling through the Women’s Weekly Birthday cookbook months before my actual birthday. The comparing at other kids parties to see what their Mum’s had made them and what their skill levels were – Mrs Mattick rocked at the Castle cake and Mrs Witter did an OK job at the Witch cake with french fry chip hair. My Mum peaked at the Maypole and did a pretty dodgy pig cake for my 4th birthday – just sayin’.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I walked through Big W yesterday and spotted this bad boy on Quick Sale for $10! TEN BUCKS! A reprinted VINTAGE edition nonetheless! I have not seen one of these for a very long time (exception being my Mum’s very tattered copy).

Remember these cakes people?!

 THE CAKES! Ohmygoodness the cakes!

Needless to say I handed over a lobster and picked up 2 copies – one of me and one for YOU! That’s right, because I am generous and a lover of the birthday cake I want one of YOU to have one! Just leave me a comment telling me what your favourite birthday cake was as a kid and I will choose someone randomly and send it your way.

Finer (boring) details:
I am not a fan of the long giveaway – this will be drawn on Friday morning 7am (just before we head to Sydney) so leave your comment on before then. If you are just one of my mates through Facebook who reads my posts you can still win – just comment on the post in my feed. Because I am feeling extra generous this is ALSO open to overseas readers – it means an exciting trip to the Post Office and I need outings like that these days. I was not sponsored or paid for this post – I am just a lovely person who was willing to fork out 10 bucks for you, my dear readers, and loves me some birthday cake. I am not sure if this is something at just my Big W or if you could get one anywhere – the rural ones do tend to have little bits of Gold in them!

Comment away…good luck…and Go!


  1. Oh my, I adore that book!
    My mum was neither a cook nor a baker, so she never made me a birthday cake. I used to go to my best friend’s house and we’d pour over that book and choose ‘our’ cakes. In fact, I’m going to that same person’s house today for cake to celebrate her daughter’s birthday, I’m thinking it’s going to be the cat.

    To make up for my mum’s lack of cake baking, I’ve insisted on homemade cakes for all my girls’ birthdays. They’v been dodgy, strange but all made with love.

    The only cake I remember from my childhood was when my mum got the local baker to make the castle out of the WW book. I had dreams of gorgeous turrets with roses climbing up. I ended up with a cake that looked bodgier than a homemade one!

    LOVE all your cakes, much more professional than mine!!

  2. Such a CLASSIC book! I never had any cakes from it, but I remember being super jealous of my friends that did. My mum usually got me an ice-cream cake.

  3. I am from Alaska and have never seen this book before.

    I completely and utterly agree about the cakes though. My mom was the best and my brother and I got: horses, dinosaurs, pigs, etc. (She could also make hotcakes shaped like moose!! Talent lady). My favorite was the horse!

    So far I have created:
    a cupcake caterpillar, a train and a Buzz Lighter year cake for my son
    A Winnie the Pooh for my daughter

    I would LOVE to win this!!

  4. Hilarious! I grew up in a household of The Plain Chocolate Cake for birthdays… my Mum was clearly on some sort of feminist rant at the time because she’s a regular Marg Fulton in the kitchen otherwise! I have vowed to do better for Leo – God only knows how I’ll rival your attempts though!

    Angela x

  5. Cmon now you know that book belongs to your little sister. Surely now that I have all that to look forward to, babies baking and the like that you should assist me in my role…plus I need that book so I can stop my husband from making a cake that has a complete working race track built into it as I’m sure we both know he will….

  6. All excellent cakes, that includes your husband too I have to say the jelly was inspired!
    I’m a big fan of making a cake, or letting my Mother in-law make one, and just going a bit OTT on the little ones’ big day. Why not?! You’re creating memories, and celebrating, and we all need more stress in our lives. 🙂
    Humpty Dumpty was incredible, but you just couldn’t get that shark/jelly combo, or pink piggy face in a store could you?! Priceless!!

  7. Awesome cakes you’ve done there. I am so jealous and amazed every time I see how mums seem to be able to do it all, and I can’t, all those crafty stuff and now this! I hope I can win that book as my daughter’s/family’s birthday cakes are always so pathetic. Her recent one I bought & had the word “mud” on it. (Baker run out of nice bdaycakes). Need I say more.

  8. it has to be the swimming pool cake, complete with jelly and a swimming miss piggy figurine, that i had for my ninth birthday (i think) – i was so proud and had all my friends gather round as i prepared to cut the cake (at this point, i will remind you that i was nine) only to witness the spilling of jelly ALL OVER THE PARTY TABLE. needless to say, birthday. ruined.
    i hope i win so that i can inflict the same joyful memories on my own someday offspring.

  9. Haha so that’s where my mum got all of her ideas from…until the other kids came that is 😛 The cake I remember the most is a beautiful castle cake for my 4th birthday though by the look on my face in every photo you would think it was a poisonious!
    I think the cakes you have made are awesome…and not many little girls can say that there daddy made the cake 🙂

  10. My grandmother in law has this book but half the pages are missing and torn etc. What a find!!

    Best cake ever? Hmmm, that’s tough. My mother isn’t a baker either. In fact, I have no memory of any homemade cakes in my house. A family friend owned a bakery though, so we always had fancy cakes with crap on top.

    There you go, give me the pity win! haha. Abi wants a Toy Story 3 cake this year, so wish me luck!

  11. I had a piano cake one year! I don’t play piano, I don’t actually like pianos but I just had to have this piano cake.

  12. My Mum was a CAKE GENIUS! I had all the oldie but goodie ones, the barbie cake, the butterfly cake, the basket of lollies cake. I loved them all but I think my favourite would have to be my 10th birthday. Mum got tired of hosting 25 screaming girls for a frantic afternoon so she arranged for us to go to a bread factory instead, it was awesome, we say dough being made, loaves formed and baked. And… yes, Mum made me a LOAF OF BREAD CAKE! Best ever… seriously!

  13. What a bargain book and how generous of you to have a giveaway! I used to love choosing my cake as a little girl too, my Nanna always made ours. My favourite was a piano she made me when I was 9. My little girl is turning 2 next weekend and I’m actually planning on making the ladybird cake for her (fingers crossed all goes well!!)

  14. We were away on a family holiday in a Winnebago and so my Mom (who is usually a fantastic baker) had no oven and therefore couldn’t bake (not that I thought this through aged 8.) I vividly remember being sent out in the afternoon for a bday ice-cream and walk with my Dad, siblings and Grandad while my Mom and Grandma stayed in the ‘bus’ to make my ‘cake’… I was sooo excited about what I was going to get especially as Gma was helping out too – I was dreaming of a flower shaped chocolate cake with chocolate icing, chocolate sprinkles with a side of chocolate ice cream!!! After we got back and had a BBQ dinner outside it was finally ready for cake time!!! So out came the plastic platter with my initials spelt out in KIT KATS!!!!!!!!!!! (incidentally this is when I started to be called KK.) They had managed to put candles in the kit-kats but it overall was a real disappointment…. However my Mom did point out that I had the same initials as the chocolate bar which seemed to impress me and I forgot very quickly about not getting a traditional cake…. However every year after that I would trawl through my Mom’s very old UK version of the WW cake book and would clearly show her which cake I wanted to ensure I didn’t get another KK KIT KAT cake!!!

    As my bday is coming up I would LOVE this book so I can pre-warn and email my Mom with which cake I would like for my 27th birthday!!!!!

  15. total book envy!!

    I cooked a cake from this every year for each of my three much younger sisters for years and years, starting when I was about 8 years old… They still remember them and were just discussing over Easter which one was the best one I made.

    Have been looking for a copy!

  16. I still make cakes from this book – though my girls have just about outgrown it. Like you I have always felt the need to make my girls birthday cakes. They aren’t the most pretty but they love them none-the-less. Just this year my 12 yr old dd said she was making her cake herself so it looks like my days are numbered :-(.

  17. I loooooved this book! My nanna used to make ours and our favourite was a snowman with an icing coated tennis ball as a head! Your cake-offs with your husband are pretty funny.

  18. Ok..so I consider myself a pretty good cake-maker. In fact I make all the cakes for my kids birthday parties. We’ve had Spot the dog, butterfly’s, Thomas the tank, ladybirds, flower pots,bugs and spiders; all sorts of pretty extraordinary and fabulous creations..or so I thought….Until my delightful daughter told me 2 years ago as her 8th birthday approached; “I just want a normal bakery cake, like the other kids!!” What the??!! Talk about being pulled back down to earth in a hurry!

  19. This is the best book of cakes ever published. My sister was the first with kids and she stole it from Mum (complete with 20 year old icing stains).

    The jelly pool, with green jelly, my favourite from my fourth birthday. Of course now we could actually have blue jelly, rather than swamp.

  20. Love the WW birthday cake book! My mum made us cakes every year, no bought birthday cakes in our house!

    I’d love to win – can’t wait to make the twins’ b’day cakes.

  21. You R O C K! Your kids are lucky to have you both. I loved this post because it made me laugh, snort and chuckle. It reminded me of the great fun I had with my own little ones and the outrageous birthday bashes we held.

    I think the entire point of having children is to give us the opportunity to go ape shyte over birthdays and anything else we want to celebrate! Oh yeah, the little monsters are also good for after dinner clean up, mowing lawns, washing cars, doing the laundry, short shopping trips for milk and bread (it gets dicey with eggs), sweeping floors . . . wait, I’m awake now. Nevermind.

  22. Oh I do love that book! My Mum still has her copy & is refusing to hand it over. Maybe she’s left it for me in her will? Anyway, I too remember pouring over it months before my birthday trying to decide what to have. My most memorable cake was not made by my Mum but my dear Nanna – it was the ballerina stage! I so loved that cake!

  23. My mum never had this book despite having every single other Womens Weekly book at the time. I still have not forgiven her.

    She did however attempt to make me a dolly vardin cake for my 2nd birthday. I don’t remember it, just seen the photos but it cause that much heartache she never attempted another cake like it again.

  24. We didn’t really do big birthday celebrations in our family, so never got a fancy cake like those! However, a friend made me a cat cake for my birthday last year. – I loved it to bits.

  25. oh, oh , oh I love birthday cakes! I am making kids style birthday cakes for my husbando – because I dont have kids to make them for yet! But as a kid I had the train, the piano, the swimming pool and I think a favourite may have to have been the pink pink (pink as that awesome piggy) rollarskate my mumma made (not from the book unlike all the others) I also received pink rollarskates for my birthday and so the beautiful theme was complete. I must find photos next time i go home!! Please pick me! *s*

  26. Anonymous says

    I think both your attempt to garner more blog comments as part of your continued self esteem improvement program AND your readers attempts to win this sacrine book are well, sweet. An apt word for the topic of the day.

    However the worst thing you could possibly do is to reward this book to someone who, and I have to be uncharacteristically honest here, simply won’t have the skills to do Judy Felton (the unheralded chief decorator of the original AWW 1979 edition) justice.

    To give you the confidence that I indeed do have the skills I submit two exhibits.

    I have been an active contributor to the editorial committee of the “The Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book is Awesome” Facebook page. Here you will see some genuine homage.


    And because we all have to from time to time break free, personalise and show some true ingenuity and skill I attach a photo of a cake I made for a dear, old friend for his 21st.


    Mr Anonymous

  27. Ohhhh Emmmmm Geeeee! Love, love, love this book, it is my childhood in a nutshell. My mum was one of those crazy cake making mums too, every year from my first birthday onwards (when she was only 17!) mum made each of her four kids a special Women’s Weekly cake. I used to love looking through the increasingly tattered and sticky pages. I recently searched for this on Ebay and saw it going for over $50! I bet those ebayers will be pissed at the re-release. Me? I’m delighted. Hope I’m a winner. Bless your blogging heart.

  28. don’t include me because I have my mum’s original and my kids love it just as much as I do. I used to sit for hours picking out my next birthday cake! but can I say wow to the cakes! i have another friend whose hubby is the one who does the birthday cakes! you guys are impressive – cake shop next? I did see there was a big w down there which is good because it’s a bit of a one stop shop for me! nappies, formula, undies, towels, lollies and good book prices!

    have a great trip!

  29. Oh gosh I love that book. My darling mum still has hers but will not share it with me! My parents have made quite a few soccer balls, a barbie with an edible skirt, and the almighty train on the cover.

    Foolishly they made the train first, for me, the oldest child, on my 2nd birthday. There are a few photos that testify that they did in fact make it, but apparently I looked at it for about 2 seconds then wandered off to play with some wrapping paper, so they vowed never again.

    What I really want to know is if anyone has made the duck cake covered in popcorn, with chips for beak, and if so, why?

  30. I promise to spend my Tai Tai days making children’s birthday cakes for the children I don’t have should I strategically manage to win this giveaway! Does Daise have a mobile yet? Maybe she could rig it for me….

  31. Oh my goodness, my post today included my third home made birthday cake I have made in 32 days! And the first one was THE.TRAIN.CAKE!!!! All three cakes are blogged in the last month, because like you, I love the all night stress that the novelty cake presents. I borrowed this book from a friend to make the train cake and went to buy my own copy and the local newsagent had sold out. So pick me! pick me!

  32. Love love love this book. I just bought my own copy from Big W so I don’t need to win yours! The sad thing is I adore making and decorating cakes (and have made some pretty special ones over the years if I do say so myself!), but my boys have decided that they don’t “do” cake anymore (unless it’s ice cream cake which really isn’t the same thing!). So the book is for me to look at and reminisce over the many cakes that mum made for us over the years (including the swimming pool, the rabbit and the train) and hopefully I’ll convince my kids to let me make them something special this year.

  33. 1. I so remember that book!!! I’m in!!!

    2. Come and join in at my place too.

    3. Monday’s acoming… Monday’s acoming! x

  34. Haha! I love your cake off’s! You’ve gotta cake off again next year ploise.
    Love the Women’s Weekly cakes… however I already have 2 of their cake books, so feel it would be rather greedy of me to go in the comp for another.
    Great giveaway though lady :o)

  35. I LOVED that cake book too! And I’m sure my Mum has her copy laying around somewhere up in Qld (tattered, absolutely!). Mum made my brother and I cakes from this every birthday! I had the rabbit for my first birthday!!! My FAVE cake was the princess castle – Mum made it and decorated the icecream cones a little early.. So of course they went soggy and by the time my party rolled around, we were singing ‘happy birthday’ to a beautiful princess cake, with collapsed towers! Hehe!

    I’d ADOOOOOOORE a copy of this cake book!!! 🙂

  36. WOW I am heading over to Big W today in my lunch break to see if I can steal a bargain too.

    I must admit we too are birthday cake people too.

    It gets tough though when you have 2 kids born on the same day and you have to make 2 very different cakes (boy/girl. I think my favourite was the tarantula (6th bday) and the dinosaur (4th bday) and a close 3rd would be the yellow digger for Jnr’s 3rd bday.

    Have a great holiday and safe travels.

  37. Anonymous says

    My kids are grown now but we till have that cake book although it is a bit tattered. I made three cakes from it every year. The piano and the treaure chest were done more than once! Now I am a foster mum and the book is in use again.

  38. i always had the boring cake… nothing exciting. My poor children are victims of the store bought cake because I have ZERO skill. I think this book might help!!!

    Your cakes are VERY impressive.

  39. I’ve just discovered your blog and just adore it! Especially as you have a Daisy, as do I. 🙂

    How amazing are your cake making skills? I remember the WW Birthday Cake book very well. I had many a cake from it as a child. My favourite was the Sweet Shop that my mum made, and the other favourite was the Piano. Mum made the little sheet of music and all.

    I can’t wait for my little Daisy to be old enough to request different cakes. Her 1st birthday I made the Number 1, but I think for her 2nd I’ll get a little more creative. 🙂

  40. I was actually dreaming of this book the other day and wondering where I might be able to find it! I’m a child of divorce and remember the birthdays that Mum would bake cakes from this book, when she left the book disappeared. It has not been seen for years. i told my American husband about it who suggested i just youtube how to make these cakes. He doesn’t get it!
    I’m about to have our first child and would love to be able to start his life with cakes that were dotted through mine

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