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womens weekly cake book feature

PANDSI’s 107 birthday cakes

Veronica Giddings

107 birthday cakes (up from an original 103) under one roof? I’ll be there.

There are not many books that evoke childhood memories like The Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Cook Book.

If you’re an 80’s or 90’s kid, chances are you’ll remember lusting over the delicious masterpieces that graced its pages. If you were the parent… I’m sure you remember subtly trying to convince your child to choose the easiest cake. What do you mean you don’t want the farmyard cake?

They’re the cakes that everyone has a story for. Maybe you were the mum that stayed up all hours of the night trying to form misshapen, slightly burnt cakes into the shape of a shoe. Maybe you were the lucky kid that got the Candy Castle cake with the biggest lolly to cake ratio. Maybe you were the one flicking through the pages dreaming up your next birthday’s masterpiece.

Me?…I was the kid with the Dolly Varden, the creepy doll atop a cake dress. Though I always wanted the pool cake with the jelly water…

They’re not fancy, not by today’s standards at least. There is no hidden cocoon of exploding Smarties or cascading swirls of toasted meringue dusted in gold. But these cakes do hold some of the warmest and fondest memories when times seemed a little bit easier.

The train cake

The train cake

On Saturday 7 May the Post and Ante Natal Depression Support and Information Inc. (PANDSI) are holding a cake challenge where you can show your parents how they should have made that rubber ducky cake with the popcorn feathers or you can finally live out your dream of covering that candy castle completely in lollies. Why not, right? You’re an adult.

The challenge was the brainchild of Ginger Gorman (patron of PANDSI) who absolutely loves the vintage book full of delightfully politically incorrect kids cakes.

“No one’s ever seen all of the cakes under the same roof—imagine that!” says Ginger.

Seven year old Ginger Gorman cuts her butterfly birthday cake

Seven year old Ginger Gorman cuts her butterfly birthday cake

She eventually convinced Christine Spicer, President of PANDSI, and the event was born. “I realised that people have such a love for the book, there are so many memories for so many people,” says Ginger.

Christine, who loves the rubber ducky cake with a potato chip beak, says it was hard to turn down the idea when she realised how keen people still were on the book.

As the icing on the cake, PANDSI were delighted to announce that Pamela Clark, Editorial and Food Director of the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks, will be joining the team on the day as a judge and will be supporting PANDSI into the future as a patron for the charity. 

Pamela Clark

Pamela Clark

“I am delighted to become patron of PANDSI. Attending the PANDSI Cake Off will be a serious trip down memory lane, starting in 1978 for me!” says Pamela. “I know which pages from the Children’s Birthday Cake Book should be glued together so that kids can’t ask long-suffering parents to make those cakes for them.” 

Pamela will work with PANDSI’s current patron, Senator Katy Gallagher, as they look to the future and continue to support families in Canberra experiencing perinatal depression and/or anxiety.


The duck cake

The cake challenge calls for people to nominate themselves to make one of the 107 cakes listed, before bringing them to the Hyatt on 7 May to be judged by a panel including Senator Gallagher and our very own Amanda Whitley. Yes, that means all 107 cakes from the AWW Birthday Cake Cook Book will be under the same roof!

Before we all melt into a drooling mess, this event is about much more than a cake competition. PANDSI is a local non-government support group with a focus on improving the perinatal health of women, men and their families.

The butterfly cake

The butterfly cake

They offer ongoing telephone support, drop-in services and facilitated support groups for anyone affected. PANDSI offers non-intimidating support with a focus on a nurturing and safe environment where people can feel free to share their experiences without criticism or judgment. PANDSI need support to continue and expand their services, which help so many people.

PANDSI hope the event will be a major fundraiser for the organisation. The competition cakes will be sold via silent auction with bids starting at $10. There will also be a professional cake live auction, with local chefs putting their mark on the cult classics.

Registration has already reached capacity, so all that’s left now is to get along and bid on the cake of your choice!

the essentials

What: The PANDSI Cake Off
When: 2pm to 4pm, Saturday 7 May.
Where: The Hyatt Canberra, 120 Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla
How: Put your name against a cake at


Veronica Giddings

Born and raised in Canberra, Veronica is a makeup artist by trade with a background in sales, business and marketing- creative at heart with a corporate soul. Veronica is also an avid foodie, writing at in her spare time. When she's not eating food, she's writing about it, taking photos of it or talking about it. A love of Canberra has brought her to HerCanberra where she loves having the opportunity to interact with the Canberra community. More about the Author

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