Birthday cakes rise to the challenge

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The Friendly Ghost cake with its eggshell eyes, marshmallow icing and pink coconut.
The Friendly Ghost cake with its eggshell eyes, marshmallow icing and pink coconut.

EVERY cake from the classic “Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book” will be on display and for sale in a fundraiser to help families experiencing post and antenatal depression.

Christine Spicer, president of local support group PANDSI, says there’s something about the non-perfection of the book and some of its 107 cakes are wacky, such as the monster and the doll.

“I personally love the duck cake, though it’s controversial because of the savoury bill,” she says.

Christine is organising the Cake-Off in the ballroom at the Hyatt Hotel on Saturday, May 7, where the sale by silent auction of every cake from the cookbook will help raise funds for PANDSI and awareness of postnatal depression.

Members of the public put their hands up to bake a cake each for the fundraiser.

Christine Spicer... “I personally love the duck cake, though it’s controversial because of the savoury bill.” Photo by Andrew Finch
Christine Spicer… “I personally love the duck cake, though it’s controversial because of the savoury bill.” Photo by Andrew Finch

Christine says there will also be 10 cakes made by professional bakers, inspired by the cookbook with an “essence” of Women’s Weekly – and created with expertise.

“Not taking anything away from the cookbook, but I’ve heard that there will be a clock cake that will be actually hanging,” she says.

“The professional cakes will be auctioned off via a live auction.”

Christine says the idea for Cake-Off came through PANDSI ambassador Ginger Gorman, who loved the book herself and had written an article on it that had gone viral.

“We were all thinking, well, if we make five cakes each, we should be okay,” says Christine.

“But the response was amazing – within 40 minutes of releasing the cakes to the public, every cake had been assigned.”

Christine says she has experienced perinatal depression herself, and describes it as like having the baby blues, but with no end in sight.

“With my first baby it went undiagnosed, but when it happened again with my next baby I was more prepared and responded to it quicker,” she says.

“It’s a feeling of knowing you’re meant to love your baby, but not feeling that bond or being able to cope.

“For me it was like my resilience went down, and I just couldn’t cope with things I would usually be fine with.”

The birthday cake book.
The birthday cake book.

As president of PANDSI, a support group for local families suffering from post and antenatal depression, Christine says the PANDSI Cake-Off has become a way for people to say thank you.

“I think it’s hard to talk about, but so many people are touched by postnatal depression,” she says.

“Some people who put their hand up to make one of the cakes has said, I got help from PANDSI, so this is a way for me to give back,” she says.

“It’s like we have given mums an avenue and a way to express their gratitude.”

PANDSI Cake-Off, Saturday, May 7, 2pm-4pm, Hyatt Hotel Canberra. To donate to the Cake-Off, visit gofundme.com/PANDSICakeOff. There will be raffle tickets and pansies for sale on the day. More information at  facebook.com/groups/pandsicakeoff2016

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist with a particular interest in homes and gardens.

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