Ghost Birthday Cake

Many Australians of my generation (growing up in the 80s / early 90s) will know all about this – one of the highlights of your birthday was your Mum handing over the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake cookbook and you got to choose which cake you wanted. Awesome!

So much to choose from! My Mum was a bit of an expert at these cakes and there are not many in the book that weren’t made by Mum and devoured at a Jackman family birthday party over the years. I remember having the piano one year, and several years having a Dolly Varden cake with a Barbie sticking out!

My sister told me a while ago that she’d always wanted the Ghost cake. Luckily for me, Mum found a copy of the original book (pictured above – it has since been reprinted with a new cover and not all the same cakes) at a market a few years back and gave it to me. So I made the Friendly Ghost cake for Kirsten for her 30th last weekend.

The most challenging part was the ‘fluffy frosting’ which is pretty much just a meringue. The only difference was that I had to boil sugar and water to soft ball stage and pour it into the mixer where the stiffened egg whites were waiting, mixing on high speed and pouring slowly. Scary! The first attempt with store bought egg whites was a disaster, but when I tried with fresh egg whites it worked perfectly. So glad I persisted – the frosting was a luscious (and super sweet!) marshmallow-y triumph!

For the eyes I used Oreo biscuits (cookies) and some little blue round sweets, and the mouth is red licorice. Simple! This would also be a great cake for Halloween.

The current version of the book is this one, but if you see the original in a second hand store GRAB IT STRAIGHT AWAY! They are quite rare. Although chances are if you are Australian your Mum or Nan might have one floating around 😉

Lots more creativity here today.

15 thoughts on “Ghost Birthday Cake

  1. My Mum still has her original copy of this! I'm one of three and I think Mum's made just about all of them over the years.. we still make Dolly Varden cakes but now they are done up as brides and I bring them to Hen's Nights/ Kitchen Tea parties.. I hope she hands it on to me when I've got little ones of my own, but I think she'll struggle to part with it!

  2. I've got one of these books it's awesome… so many memories of what my Mum made us as kids! You won my giveaway by the way! (Congrats!) Can you please email me your postal address?

    Jen x

  3. I was talking to a friend about this book recently and she was telling me how her Mum had it and let the kids pick what cake they had for their birthday each year. She would make a note what year it was and who had it. She has now passed it onto my friend to carry on this tradition with her kids. I reckon it is the coolest tradition I have heard of 🙂

  4. That book is a treasure, my mum made all my and my sisters birthday cakes groing up. SHe still has the original book, which I keep trying to steal from her. I loved all of them, I had the mouse, the bear, the elephant and that train.
    Your ghost is absolutely wonderful just like the book, a classic wonderful kids birthday cake

  5. I remember that book from when I was a kid. I think I was lucky enough to have the castle made one year! Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Ros, your cake looks yummy! TAsh

  6. I have inherited my Nans copy 😀 I had the pool cake, and the piano cake, and of course, the dolly cake. I'm keeping it for when i have kids, hopefully by then kids will still want recing car 8 cakes lol. The ghost looks awesome, i might have to try that for halloween

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