I have ordered something online (again) that is potentially a family game changer. It could in fact make me ‘Mum Of The Year’. I may go from zero status to hero status when it comes to cooking for my tribe of beautiful children. I have ordered The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. Yes! I know! Well played, me! The bible has recently been republished in its original glory, complete with the choo- choo train on the cover. A bad mistake from old Women’s Weekly if you ask me as I think the swimming pool would have been the most popular of all the styles. However, I am still I am grateful this little gem from our childhood is back in our lives. The cake cook books was first released in 1980 and today it still sits in 1 million households around the country.
We all have primal memories of what cake we had – or did not have – for our birthdays. My best friend Nicola had the Dolly Varden cake. Oh how I coveted that cake! Nicola also had a Cabbage Patch kid and the entire smurf collection. I remember when I was about 7 everyone seemed to have the Old Lady In A Shoe cake. And of course who could forget the beautiful butterfly or the Humpty Dumpty cake? Those days were simpler when it came to parties. We had cordial. We played red rover in our undies under the sprinkler and we had cake. And the cakes were not deconstructed, they were not croquembouche, they were not 6 tiers with lime infused macaroons and flowers on each level. No! They were big and bold and full of colour and they looked homemade.
But spoilt brat adult me of course never had the cake I truly wanted! My mum was too busy raising 3 children by herself and working herself to the bone to feed us basics other than cake! I do remember one year Mum made me the Hickory Dickory Dock cake. I was so excited. We talked about it for weeks. But Mumsy could not find a chocolate lolly mouse to put on the cake so she made one out of our prunes. Can you imagine my embarrassment and disappointment when I saw the rodent sitting on my cake made of gross prunes? But now I have the chance to relive my childhood and make all the classics for my kids. My kid’s parties have been well documented in the past for how ridiculous they are and completely inappropriate for, well, children. When my daughter turned one I order 40 inflatable flamingos for the pool and we had a sea of pink flamingo feathers over the entire back yard pretty much. The kids were more interested in eating bark than the photo booth or the face painter. I have learned along the way and life has got busier and these days I love a good outsource. My middle boy is turning 5 and we are invading the Kawana Aquatic Centre to celebrate, which makes me so happy I do not have to clean my pigpen house or worry about the toilet seat being left down. He wants a shark and scuba diving cake so hopefully my cookbook arrives and I can make his birthday with my newfound Martha Steward skills. And if the cake goes pear shaped (there is a pretty good chance it will) well we can say it’s an exploding blue volcano. The kids will not actually care as long as there is heaps of cream and lollies and not a single prune!