September 03, 2014

My earliest memory

Some of the prompts that Whitney of Love Letters & Lists are really interesting, and have got me thinking. She suggested 'What is your earliest memory?' for today, and I honestly don't know!

Whenever I think back to early childhood, I see photographs in my mind of different people and places, but these are probably just memories of photos I've seen in my Mum's albums.

I do remember attending preschool and reading book after book after book, I enjoyed reading so much that I didn't want to play outside or take naps.

I also remember food. I have memories of cakes that my mother baked for birthday parties for me from the Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book. (Did anyone born in the 80's not have cakes baked from this book?) For weeks before my birthday parties - I was an only child until I was 10, so always had a small party - I would pore through the book, always begging Mum to make me a pretty doll cake, you know, the ones with a dolly varden tin and an old Barbie doll stuck in the top, wearing the frilly pink-iced cake as a skirt?

Well, I only ever had one or two Barbies, and Mum was pretty anti-Barbie, and I never ended up with a doll cake. Although on the day of the party, I don't think I was ever upset at Mum's choice of cake for me.

The AWW book has been republished in recent years, but I still love looking through the old version because it reminds me so clearly of my childhood. It's also much less slick than the new versions, from a time before Martha Stewart and all the food bloggers/yummy mummies with way too much time on their hands highjacked children's parties and made them so stylish and tasteful and full of matching lollies on dessert tables. See how wonky those licorice steps are on the swimming pool? That would never cut it in the new editions of the book. The cakes in there are much smoother, brighter and use heaps of fondant icing - bleurgh! Find me someone who likes eating fondant, please. It's just horrid (and that's from me, who possesses the sweetest tooth known to mankind).

The book does show its age in some ways. There are sections 'For Boys' and 'For Girls', which I don't think would be tolerated these days, especially as the choice of cakes is rather un-PC. Boys get Indians Native Americans, helicopters, cars and garbage trucks; while girls are offered a sewing machine, sewing basket, ballerinas, a frilly little gingham-dressed dressing table, and all those dolly varden cakes.

Child of the 80's? Remember this book? Tell me, please... did your Mum ever make you a dolly varden cake?


  1. I had the castle cake with upside down ice cream cone turrets and I loved it. Best ever. I bought the vintage reprint earlier this year and blogged about it, lots of people commented with the cakes they had as kids, it was sweet!

  2. Mum made me one of the dolly cakes, yes. My Aunty made all of the other cakes too. :P



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