CWA cooks up a masterpiece

26 Oct, 2015 04:00 AM
State president Linda Bertram (front) with 32 of the 52 contributors to the Calendar of Cakes book. • Photo: Jacqui Way and Sarah Quinn.
State president Linda Bertram (front) with 32 of the 52 contributors to the Calendar of Cakes book. • Photo: Jacqui Way and Sarah Quinn.

A BLENDING of tradition and innovation has always defined the SA Country Women's Association.

This has continued with the recent launch of their latest cookbook - Calendar of Cakes.

The book comes after two years of work compiling recipes from members throughout the state alongside the seasonal theme.

Its origins started with the formation of the Adelaide evening branch two years ago.

Co-creator and food editor Fiona Roberts said the idea was a way for the branch's members to put their professional skills to work for the organisation.

"Each branch has to set a fundraising project to raise money for the organisation to go to charity," she said.

"Our branch decided to pull together a lot of our professional skills as a branch."

She said the branch pitched the idea to Wakefield Press, then put the call out to members throughout the state for submissions.

The association's first cookbook, released in 1936 by the Burra branch, sold for two shillings a copy.

The original Calendar of Cakes was released in 1950, and state president Linda Bertram said the first run sold out quickly.

Linda said that while the updated book followed a strong tradition of the association, it was also a new step for the group.

"Most (cookbooks) in the past have been done in-house," she said.

"This is the first glossy, coffee-table cookbook we have produced. The finished product is wonderful, and we're very proud (of it)."

Fiona said the original Calendar of Cakes had 365 recipes, one for each day.

"Because people have busy lives we decided on 52 recipes - one a week," she said.

The brief went out to members to look for recipes with seasonal ingredients that ideally had SA links.

"We also wanted to showcase the produce of SA," she said.

This seasonal theme includes festive cherry and mixed-berry ice-cream cakes for December, a gluten-free lamington recipe for January and a zingy marmalade cake for winter months.

It also uses rarer ingredients such as a quandong and walnut cake.

Each recipe includes a story about its background and meaning to the author.

"There was a lot of nostalgia attached to the recipes," Fiona said. "Some have been passed through generations - they're all very well tested."

It also served as an educational tool.

"The cookbook provides information that would have historically come from a mother or grandmother," she said.

It was compiled entirely from voluntary labour, including those who typed the recipes, the recipe testers and bakers for the photo shoot.

Even the photography was done in-house with co-creator Jacqui Way a professional photographer.

This work all had to fit in with working lives, with photo shoots held on weekends.

Fiona said it was not all smooth-sailing on the baking front.

On the second shoot, the team of bakers was working on a Friday night, a full moon.

"We had very competent bakers but on this particular night we had so many failures," she said. "The next day we had to rebake them and they all turned out fine.

"All we can put it down to is baking on a full moon."

Linda said the project also fitted-in with some of the key components of the CWA.

"The most important part is sharing friendship, learning new skills and helping the community," she said.

Throughout the process of putting the book together, there was plenty of opportunity to learn new skills, or put existing skills to work in new ways.

She said the proceeds from the book would go towards the organisation's projects throughout the state.

"Lots of the benefits go back to regional areas," she said.

Details: Calendar of Cakes is available at the CWA state office in Adelaide, online at or, from November, at SACWA branches.

Elizabeth Anderson

Elizabeth Anderson

is Stock Journal's magazine editor


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Sorry did i get it wrong..? Rankins Springs is still open..?!
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No doubt a few frosted Freddies out there who will wish they had taken a closer look at the AGC
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Matthew, I was wondering if you had followed up this story with the farmer after the whole