I’m still humming Christmas Carols but instead of “Fiiiiive goooolden rings” it’s “Fiiiive birthday cakes!” for you all. Today I’m stepping back in time and remembering amazing cakes that my parents created for me. Well, us. My brother and I. Actually, he only gets one cake (but what a cake!) and our childhood next door neighbour gets one, the rest are mine. It’s funny, as an adult I’m not a huge cake person and even as a child I absolutely loved the attention to detail and care that went into our cakes but I would far rather staring at them dreamily for ages than actually eating them. Partly because who wants to see a work of art cut up, but also because I’m not a huge cake person. Although if it was my Nanny’s sultana cake… oh, that was amazing!
Come take a trip down memory lane…
1. Ahhh… this was the epitome of every girl’s dream when I was growing up. The Castle Cake. The amount of work that goes into this had to be seen to be believed. The turrets are ice cream cones on top of a square sponge cake and then extra (smaller) squares and then the cones. See the flags at the top? They are liquourice allsorts pulled to pieces ever so carefully – I’m pretty sure that my Mum ate the licorice parts. She’s still a fiend for black jellybeans to this day… Mr7 rivals her for them!
Oh, and notice the brickwork on the cake? Not only do you stack everything and pull liquorice allsorts to pieces but you also have to sit there with a steady hand and a matchbox to do the brickwork – I remember watching my Dad do part of that and marvelling at it as he went about the job of decorating it. I can’t remember where the candles were placed on it, but I remember watching as the cake was brought towards me at the table and the excitement I felt.
2. The clown cake from the friendly folk section of the cookbook. Funny, I know people who would run screaming at the thought of this cake because they hate clowns so much. But who can resist the little collar/bowtie rolled in 100s and 1000s? How about the ice cream wafer eyes? Or, my favourite, the lollipops with the curved sticks for the smile. I had this for, I think, my fifth birthday… I remember we went to dinner at Cobb & Co for it and the cake was there and other people joined in singing Happy Birthday… I was equally embarrassed and thrilled.
3. I loved this duck! It wasn’t for me though, it was made for our neighbours birthday, I think it might have been her 21st. We were exceptionally lucky with our neighbours and they were amazing – both the girls babysat us, we all put a pool (one of those semi inground, metal edged ones) in during a thunderstorm and if you stood just right you could feel a footprint or two in the base. We were in New Zealand and we’d pool our crackers for cracker night and have an absolute blast (no pun intended) as we enjoyed it all together. Heaps of BBQs and fun moments with the Theodores were had… and our family doing a cake for them wasn’t totally weird, they’d seen our birthday cakes after all! The thing I remember most about this (apart from being slightly annoyed we had to use plain potato chips for the mouth, I would have preferred chicken!) was the skewer going through the carved body to hold the head on and then wondering how much of the icing in the bowl would be needed and how much my brother and I would get to eat!
4. Ohhhh… the swimming pool cake. This was for my eighth birthday. I only remember that because there was mention that they had tried to make it but couldn’t stop it from collapsing and so I was having the number eight with red and pink pinstriping and cool cars on it. I tried to be a good sport but I was so not a car girl and I was (probably not so) secretly disappointed. Then the swimming pool cake appeared! I think I heard there were three attempts to make this one and they had to go really shallow with the carving out for the jelly, otherwise the jelly would split the cake. I don’t know, I just remember being thrilled!
5. The train cake. Oh, the train cake! My brother got this one and I think it was for his first birthday – don’t quote me on that, I would only have been four. I know there was a comment about not realising how big it would be and that we would be eating cake for weeks. We probably were… but such amazing looking cake! I know there are photos around somewhere (of all the cakes, not just this one) and I could pretty much place money on the fact that they would have looked similar.
And, here it is, the inspiration for all those cakes. The original Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. The best part of anticipating your party was when you were handed the book and told to have a look and see what you might like. I was lucky enough just after the birth of my oldest child to be given a copy of this book. Not just any copy but the copy my Mum had that we had used during our childhood. Yes, the staples have come a bit loose in the middle but it’s still great fun to flick through it and remember childhood cakes, parties and friends.
Five days to go.
All photos taken by me from the pages of the cake book. Apologies for the fact they’re not fab, I was too busy flipping the pages in excitement. 🙂