Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book

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….and why everyone should own this book

I’ve had a few emails lately about recipes for children’s birthday cakes after my posts about Miffy cakes, Wild Thing cakes and Possum Magic cakes – because clearly a children’s book blog is a great place to find cake recipes. Happy 50th Birthday Wild Thing

I always gasp when an Australian asks me about birthday cakes for children because I assume that every house in Australia has a copy of the most awesome book ever printed in the country – ‘The Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book’.

Click on title links or cover image to purchase.


I’m not talking about the new versions of the book, with lots of fondant and no imagination…I’m talking about the TRAIN CAKE BOOK PEOPLE, the original birthday cake book. Thankfully it has been reprinted and you can get it here (Mum I can give your well-worn copy back now I suppose). This is a book loved and adored by generations of children and it even has songs written about it  – take the time to watch Josh Earl’s excellent ode to the train cake – I’ve even seen this performed live.

This is the book that children and adults alike spend hours pouring over in the lead up to their birthday. Children go to bed dreaming of the lolly shop cake, the ducky chip cake and of course THE TRAIN CAKE. My sister had the piano cake on several occasions…I couldn’t have this one…I was really bad at playing the piano. I had the swimming pool a few times – I know you all know the one, with the blue jelly centre. Mum made the train cake for dad once and it was as good as the one on the cover.

I use the basic butter cake recipe in this book for almost all my shaped birthday cakes, just occasionally deviating to use Natalie’s excellent Yoghurt Raspberry Cake – see ChickPea shoving it in her gob below at her Cranky Ladybird Party.  I love a good Woman’s Weekly recipe- they never fail – if they do, you’ve done something wrong. My favourite WW biscuit recipe is this one.  Cranky Ladybird3

I’ve made many more than this, but here are some WW cakes that I could easily find a picture of (the shark cake was eaten by Rex Dog halfway through the party – sigh):

IMG_2478 - Copy ladybug cake

P1110318 turle P1030037 - Copy P1030054 P1080004

For all my bookish themed birthday parties, see here:

Very Cranky Ladybird Party


Miffy Party

EJ12 Party

Where the Wild Things Are Party

Possum Magic Party

Pearlie in the Park Party

Belle and Boo Party Afternoon Tea

Magic Faraway Tree Party (Hey Bubbles)

Dinosaur Party

Ninja Party



Megan Daley Bio

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

My book recommendations (for babies to young adults) is here and you can peruse ALL of my reviews (searchable by age, genre and theme) here.

Check out my mini ebook, 'What to Read Next' or sign up for my FREE webinar, '3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever'.

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  1. Mother Down Under on Apr 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I think I need to get this book…it sounds like they won’t even let me sit my citizenship test without it!
    I am a few weeks away from throwing a Peppa Pig themed second birthday party and so one of those pig cakes would be perfect!

    • Anonymous on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      ha ha ha! Yes I think actually that it would be a lovely citizenship present book! I buy it for everyone!

  2. Polly on Apr 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I have that very book and we love it in our house. We have made the 1, the racing track, the 3 and I’ve used the pool cake as inspiration for a farmyard cake. It’s an Australian Classic.

    • Anonymous on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Isn’t it just!? I think you need to own it to be called Australian!!!

  3. Erica on Apr 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    When I first saw this book at a friends house, I realised how inferior my cake baking really is! Its great tho, love it, must get myself a copy

  4. Tracy on May 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    I bought the slightly newer version (still has the train cake in it though!) as about 6 months after becoming a mum – that’d be about 5 yrs ago now. You are so right, my two boys looooove flipping through it in the weeks leading up to their birthdays to pick the cake they want! So far I’ve made the Number 1, Teddy bear, Train engine (with Thomas colours tho), dinosaur and construction site (about 4 times). Loooove this book. And now I’ll try and get my hands on the vintage version- thanks for the tip off!

    • Anonymous on May 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Oh you’re doing well with all your cakes!!!

  5. […] For more book themed parties see PudStars Miffy Party, ChickPea’s ‘Bad Tempered Ladybird’ party (see the running theme with her parties?!) and a round up of my fav cakes. […]

  6. Emily on Mar 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    My mum used to make “The lolly shop” cake for my sister. I now can’t find the recipe or book anywhere.

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