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Birthday Cake Book

Defining Moments in Australian History

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The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, 1980

The iconic and extremely popular The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book was first published in Australia in 1980. The Choo-Choo Train cover is an instantly recognisable symbol for generations of Aussie kids, who pore over the book each year agonising over which cake to choose for their special day.

cake in the form of a train
Train cake from the Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook. Photo: Ginger Gorman via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Pamela Clark and Maryanne Blacker, the book features more than 100 cake recipes and icing patterns to suit every taste. Some of the more popular creations include the Rubber Ducky, Castle, Swimming Pool, Teddy Bear, Robot and Dolly Varden designs.

By the early 1990s, the book had already sold more than one million copies worldwide.

Despite its success, Women’s Weekly stopped printing the book in the late 90s, until the release of the new ‘collector’s edition’ in 2011. This meant that, desperate for a copy, people often paid more than ten times the original purchase price on eBay during this time.

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1891: First commercially produced meat pies
1923: First jar of Vegemite
Early 1900s: The Lamington created
1830: The ‘Black Line’ – settler force attempts to corral Aboriginal people on the Tasman Peninsula
1868: Convict transportation to Australia ends
2004: US free trade agreement