It’s been the inspiration behind Aussie kids’ birthday parties since 1980. Now author Pamela Clark has told the ABC’s Throwback program about how the “daggy” book changed childhood celebrations – and revealed which cake you can
take off your baking list.
“Oh! Tip Truck Cake. B***h of a cake, don’t make it unless you’re really desperate,” she says.
“Glue the pages together. Forget it!”
Ms Clark also says she broke “a lot of rules” to make the 106 cakes that fill its iconic pages – including packet mixes and (shock) basic buttercream for the icing.
The book also had separate boys’ and girls’ sections – which went down like a lead balloon.
“The phone did not stop ringing in the test kitchen with people saying, ‘How dare you segregate boys and girls? How sexist of you’.”
But the book found a special place in the heart of Aussie families and Ms Clark loves that people still bring her their copies – complete with pages stuck together with buttercream – to sign.
“Often, it’s the book that their mother made cakes from, and they’ve passed it on to their daughter, and then their children are now looking at these cakes.”
Of course – who can forget the joy of deciding which cake you were going to inflict on your poor parents?
The Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book has become an Australian childhood staple. Author and baker extraordinaire Pamela Clark takes us back to the test kitchen where it all began.
Throwback is a new series looking at the creators, authors and entertainers who helped shaped Australian childhood pop culture.
With over 35 years working on The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks, it’s no wonder Pamela Clark is a household name in Australian cooking.
If you’ve ever cooked or baked, chances are you were using a recipe tested by Pamela. Having worked in the food industry for over 50 years, Pamela is an encyclopedia of all things cooking. Pamela started off as chief home economist in the Weekly’s Test Kitchen creating recipes, making sure the recipes worked and were triple-tested. This included working on some of the classics such as Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook, The Original Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook and the book that everyone has a story about, The Children’s Birthday Cake Book.
Since then Pamela has remained close to the famous Test Kitchen in various roles. Today, Pamela is the Editorial and Food Director of The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks, producing over 50 cookbooks a year.
Source: Lauren Broomham