Swimming Pool Cake (Vanilla + Chocolate + Jelly + Candy)



This post is dedicated to the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. Shout outs to my Australian pals!

Hopefully for those living in the great sunny land down-under this image should stir nostalgic delight within each and every one of you.



Perhaps I should explain for my international friends. This book was held precious to many families in the 90s with its simple instructions and how-tos for creating adorable cakes. It’s so popular that a commemorative Vintage Collector’s Edition was released in Februrary this year. It’s so popular it has a number of Facebook fan groups and fan pages. It’s so popular this book has barely aged; it’s incredible to see how many people continue refer to this gem of a book for fun cake ideas. It’s simply amazing.

Amongst its pages of how-tos for the Teddy Bear cake, Train cake, Piano cake and Butterfly cakes lies the most infamous cake of all – The Swimming Pool cake. It was every kid’s dream cake when I was younger, and why wouldn’t it be? Delicious cake slathered in buttercream and jelly (or jell-o for my American pals) covered in lollies and candy. It was a dream come true. I might go as far as to call this an Australian Icon.

Thankfully, however,  the culinary world has evolved from using algae-green jelly and nailpolish as decorating components.

My version is a little different from the recipe listed (I didn’t use “1 packet butter cake mix”, for example) so here’s my step-by-step guide to creating this iconic Australian cake. It’s best started a day in advance to prepare the cake, and more importantly the blue jelly. I hope you have lots of lollies ready in your pantry!

Swimming Pool Cake

(Alana’s Illustrated Guide)

1. BUY LOLLIES AND CANDY. Blue jelly, desiccated coconut, Teevee snacks (or long chocolate covered biscuits), jelly babies, gummy bears, snakes, kool mints and cocktail umbrellas. GO NUTS!

2. Prepare blue jelly according to packet instructions. Place in fridge and allow to set completely.

3. Prepare a 9-inch round cake. I used my standard vanilla cake recipe and added a chocolate swirl by adding a little cocoa in some of the remaining mixture. Once baked (180°C for around 50 minutes), wrap in plastic so it doesn’t dry out and place in the fridge until your jelly is ready.

4. Remove cake from fridge. With a sharp knife trim the cake to remove the dome that has probably formed in the baking process to create a nice, flat surface.

5. With the sharp knife, cut around the top in a circle to represent the wall of the swimming pool. Hollow out the centre if the cake to form a recess for the jelly.

6. Prepare chocolate buttercream by beating 125g butter, 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 50g melted chocolate and a tablespoon of cocoa. Spread around the cake covering the edges and around the wall of the recess.

7. Prepare green coconut “grass” by combing desiccated coconut with a few drops of green food colouring. Gently place or spoon around the rim of the cake ensuring not to spill any on the sides (a little overflow is fine though as they will be covered by the biscuits). I know it’s looking a little silly now but just bare with me, it will be worth it, I promise!

8. Create the fence of the pool by arranging the Teevee snacks (or biscuits sticks) around the edge of the cake. Be sure to leave a 1 1/2 inch gap to make room for the ladder.

9. Construct the ladder out of must sticks and thin candy strips, I used thin sour laces. Use a little of the buttercream to attach the pieces and lean against the cake.

10. Remove your set jelly from the fridge and mash with a fork to represent water. Carefully spoon into the crevice of your cake, ensuring you don’t spill any onto the coconut grass (once it sticks, it stays!).

11. It’s time for the decoration! Adorn your cake with cocktail umbrellas, jelly babies, gummy bears, kool mints for balls or anything else you like. I had my brother make create some lounging jelly babies floating in pool toys constructed from snakes. Place them in and around the pool edges!


Note: you may have a LOT of sweet treats leftover if you bought as much as I did.

It’s a sight to behold, isn’t it? It’s just so adorable taking a knife to is seems almost blasphemous…

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

Oh well. Good night, sweet prince.

You were everything I ever dreamed of and more as a 5 year old.

Tags: , , , , ,

  1. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen’s avatar

    Either i’m a kid or this is not for kids cuz i looked at it for 30 seconds without blinking…

    Reply

  2. Amelia’s avatar

    Yes yes yes yes yes. This book is my comfort item. If I’m ever feeling sad I just take it off my shelf and go through it. I am a child of the 90s (well, 80s, but I went to primary school in the 90s) so this book is nothing but beautiful nostalgia for me. The best one my mum ever made was the train cake. How epic.

    Reply

    1. alana’s avatar

      YEAH! I feel this, I was born in ’87 so most of my fondest memories are set in the 90s. I bet your mum’s train cake was the best ever.

      Reply

    2. Alexandra’s avatar

      This is so fricken cute! It makes me super happy :)

      Reply

      1. judith woodman’s avatar

        omg soooooo cute I am making this cake for my daughters 42nd birthday— she loves tgo swim and loves poolside paries—- hey anyone oy there have any tips or ideas for a log cabin cake////// I am making one for a friends bday in sept I plan on using pretzel sticks for the logs, with royal icing to hold them together— I am going to use a emory board to ‘ rough” them up a bit — also so the salt wont make it hard to work with–/ the roof is going to be those sugar cookes that look like wafers with the icing in the middle— pink! then I will make a couple windows ou of yellow lollies, also tiny gingerbread men in the yard — also candy pumkins on te deck, and a gate or fence made out of tginy pretzel sticks.. a tiny ceramic cat and dog in the yard— plastic maple tree and graham crackers for sand and coconut tinted green for grass…. any more ideas are welcome I am judy woodman on facebook— Conway, nh

        Reply

      2. Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan’s avatar

        Dear Alana

        This swimming pool cake looks awesome and I can just imagine the look on children’s faces when they see this!

        Reply

      3. JasmyneTea’s avatar

        OH, I would have killed for a cake like this in the 90′s. Alas, my birthday was in the school holidays and no one would come to my parties, so it was packet cake for me :(

        Reply

      4. Laura’s avatar

        When you say to cook the cake for 50 minutes at 180 degrees celcius, are you sure you don’t mean 15 minutes?? Mine is still a work-in-progress but it’s looking good

        Reply

        1. Ayden @ Himalayan Salt’s avatar

          I might give this a go too Laura!

          Reply

        2. Laura’s avatar

          I get it, it’s 15 minutes for cupcakes and 50 minutes for cake. woops

          Reply

          1. alana’s avatar

            Yep, 50 minutes – give or take a little depending on your oven. Good luck!! I’d love to see your pool cake once it’s finished.

            Reply

          2. Юлия Голованова’s avatar

            Такой красивый тортик, сразу захотелось сьесть, аж слюньки потекли…

            Reply

          3. Lucy’s avatar

            Your cake looks terrific! I’m in the process of making one for my 7 yr old – ours will be gluten free, which limits the choice of lollies, but I’m sure it will still be fabulous!

            Reply

          4. Bridget’s avatar

            Ah my mom had this book and made my brothers and i such greta cakes growing up, this is taking back to good memories:)

            Reply

          5. Rodianne Vella’s avatar

            Great recipe and great cake. A big well done. I’m afraid that the jelly will make the cake wet, Any suggestions pls?

            Reply

            1. Alana’s avatar

              Hey Rodianne, Thanks very much! The jelly should be set before you place it into the cake which removes a lot of the wet-factor. When I made this I believe the leftover cake sat in our fridge for a couple of days and it didn’t seem to turn too soggy, but, I would recommend assembling this cake just before serving. Let me know if you have any more questions!

              Reply

            2. Elisabeth’s avatar

              This is fantastic! I want to make this as part of my 30th birthday cake but have a couple of questions: as I plan on using number tins (3,0) – will the jelly work in a hollow space or do you really need the whole round cake so you can scoop out and have the jelly resting in something?
              Also, what do you recommend to use to stick the snakes together for the jelly baby lounges? Is this best done “on the day”?

              Reply

              1. Alana’s avatar

                Hi Elisabeth! Thanks for stopping by. I would suggest using the round because the jelly needs some walls to keep it in place. Maybe you could turn the 0 into a pool? I used some buttercream to keep the snakes in place. The cake can be baked the day before (which is what I did), it can also be scooped out and iced earlier however if possible it’s probably best to place the jelly inside on the day, or close to serving. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

                Reply

              2. jake’s avatar

                My mum is moving to Tasmania this year so she has one last birthday with my brother and I, to celebrate in style she is making this cake. After years of looking at it as a child and going “whoa!” I finally get to experience it. For context my brother is 29, he’s going to love it though. Thanks for sharing this.

                Reply

              3. Tammy’s avatar

                Hi Alana. Amazing cake!!! I have a quick question. I am making this for my friends 16th birthday upon request, and the party is on the 22nd of Jan to the 23rd, but i have been asked to stay from the 21st. I will be assembling the cake at my place on the 21st and bringing it to the party on the same day, we will be all eating the cake on the 22nd, will the cake stay good over night if kept in the fridge?

                Reply

                1. Alana’s avatar

                  Thanks Tammy! Sounds like a good plan but I would suggest spooning the jelly in just before serving. The rest of the cake will be fine in the fridge overnight. Happy baking!!

                  Reply

                2. Pru’s avatar

                  Thank you! Awesome site that saved my cake. Great photo-reciepe :)

                  Reply

                3. judith woodman’s avatar

                  wowie— my daughter is getting married july 21 and I am doing a lot for thewedding but her bday is august 1O and I want to celebrate that in a big way. too this will be perfect one question how do u make the blue jelly for the water?? Is it a combination of blue lollipops and what else ?? Please advise

                  Reply

                  1. Alana’s avatar

                    Hey Judith! It’s just packet jelly/jello mix, easy peasy.

                    Reply

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>