The woman behind the famous Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook has revealed the one cake that is so hard no parent should ever attempt to make it.

Pamela Clarke has always loved to bake.

She did her first cake decorating cake course at 15. Later on, she got a job at the Australian Women's Weekly in their test kitchen and became head home economist.

Around the time she got that job, a boy called Douglas who lived next door told her he desperately wanted a Tyrannosaurus rex cake for his birthday. So Mrs Clarke did just that.

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During the 1970s, making an animal cake for a child's birthday was a bit of a novelty. But her colleagues at The Weekly loved the idea of her Douglas The Dinosaur cake.

"I came into the office and told everyone, because we're always talking about food and cakes and things," Mrs Clarke told news.com.au in 2016.

"From 1978, after I first made Douglas the Dinosaur, we started talking about doing a children's birthday cake book," she said.

And so the Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook was born.

If you were a kid born in the '80s or '90s, your parents probably slaved away to make you one of the birthday cakes from Mrs Clarke's book.

But it's a book that is as feared as it is loved. Many parents have baked late into the night trying to perfect the often fiddly recipes.

Even Mrs Clarke admits some of the cakes are too difficult for her.

"Oh! Tip truck cake. B**ch of a cake. Don't make it … unless you're really desperate," she joked in a new ABC series called Throwback.

"Mrs S (her food editor) wanted a truck and I was given the task of doing it. It was almost a feat of engineering. She loved it and it was photographed and given a double page spread in the book. The weight of the top would just break all the cake," she said. "Don't go there. Glue the pages together. Forget it."

Pamela Clarke reveals how she really feels about one of her creations. Photo / ABC
Pamela Clarke reveals how she really feels about one of her creations. Photo / ABC
it was the food editor's favourite but Clarke warns against it. Photo / ABC
it was the food editor's favourite but Clarke warns against it. Photo / ABC

Mrs Clarke's favourite cake is Dolly Varden, the Barbie doll cake with the marshmallow dress.

"Everybody loves it. I know how easy it is, and it's so, so simple and effective. The little girls love it," Mrs Clarke told news.com.au.

But she says she's often run into trouble when the doll's legs were too long to fit inside the cake skirt.

Do you remember requesting the Barbie cake? Or the swimming pool with blue jelly and chocolate fingers? Photo / Supplied
Do you remember requesting the Barbie cake? Or the swimming pool with blue jelly and chocolate fingers? Photo / Supplied

"You had to cut them [the plastic legs] off just below the waist. And I've seen little girls cry when the dolly's been fished out of the cake and she's legless." she said.

Mrs Clarke says if you look closely at the photos in the book, none of the cakes are perfect. And that's why they've been so successful.

"When you look back at some of those cakes, they're seriously dated. There is no such thing as a really smart, perfect looking cake in there."