How to Make a Swimming Pool Cake


This makeover of the Australian Women’s Weekly Swimming Pool Cake is sure to make a splash at any birthday party!

Even though I’d already made the train cake and the koala cake from the AWW Birthday Cake Book  as part of my 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days challenge, our god daughter’s birthday provided another perfect opportunity to get down to business with this book. The birthday girl was turning six and celebrating in style at the local swimming pool so the swimming pool cake was a perfect fit.

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We did however use some artistic licence, most obviously swapping the round cake for a rectangular one. This made perfect sense because not only did it look more swimming pool shaped, it was also big enough to feed a crowd of starving six year old swimmers (and their grown ups!)

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I like to use Nigella’s Buttermilk Birthday Cake for the sponge because it holds it’s shape, is so easy to work with and everyone always raves about it’s delicious.

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This cake is not tricky to make at all but it does need to be made into three parts. First there’s the baking stage (I like to be one step ahead and bake in advance and then freeze,) then there’s the assembly and finally there’s the decorating. Try and add the sugar covered sweets as late as you can, otherwise they will start to fizz.

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And talking of sweets, there will be some left over which you can either serve up at the party or eat as you go! You choose!

Now let’s make this cake!

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3 x Nigella’s Buttermilk Birthday Cake

175g strawberry jam


4 batches of buttercream icing


3-4 cubes white chocolate

2 tablespoons hundreds and thousands

1 pack jelly rings

1 pack blue jelly

1 x sour rainbow straws

4 x 114g packs white chocolate fingers

2 x 200g 3D gummy blocks

1 pack sour pencils


You will also need:

1 x 26cm x 30 cm cake tin

1 large tray or cake board

a piping bag and nozzle

palette knife

small baby dolls

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  1. Make the jelly and allow to set in the fridge.
  2. To make the swimming hats for the babies. Melt 2 or 3 squares of white chocolate in the microwave. Leave for a minute of two until the chocolate has started to thicken but has not set. Dip the baby’s head into the white chocolate, ensuring most of the hair is covered. Then dip the chocolate covered head in to the hundreds and thousands. Place on a cooling rack to set.

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How to: Assembling the Cake

  1. Place five blobs of buttercream on the tray, one in each of the four corners, and one in the centre of where the cake will be. This is going to be the “glue” that holds the cake in place. Place the first layer of the cake on to the buttercream “glue.”
  2. Cover the cake generously with jam. Don’t spread the jam right to the edge, leave a border of about 1cm.
  3. Pipe the buttercream over the jam, again leaving a small border.
  4. Place the second cake layer on top, and repeat the jam and buttercream process.

How to make a Moana birthday cake

  1. Place the third cake layer on top.
  2. Once the cake is assembled, carefully cut out a 1cm deep, 18cm x 18cm square from the top of the cake. (It’s great for taste testing!)
  3. Now you’ll need to give the cake a “crumb coat” or what I like to refer to as “dirty icing.” Using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of buttercream first over the top, around the edges of the “pool” and then over the sides of the cake to seal in any loose crumbs. Remove any excess frosting with the palette knife. Don’t worry if it looks ugly, it’s going to get an extreme makeover when you decorate it!
  4. When the crumb coat is done, pop the cake into the fridge for about 30 minutes.

AWW swimming pool cake - crumb coat

How to: Decorating the Cake

  1. Ice the sides of the cake with  buttercream. You don’t have to be too precious about it because the buttercream is going to be covered in white chocolate fingers.
  2. Place rainbow straws horizontally (long side down)  all around the base of the cake (you may need to trim to size) and then place the  chocolate fingers vertically all the way around to complete the border.
  3. Take a few jelly rings and place in the corner. Use a little bit of buttercream to make them into a stack.
  4. Now spread the buttercream over the short sides of the pool and  lay the gummy tiles to fit, if using. If you haven’t got gummy tiles, just add a layer of buttercream and smooth.
  5. Spread buttercream on the long sides of the pool and smooth over.
  6. Just before serving, mash the jelly and place inside the pool. Position the sour pencils to make swimming lanes and pop the babies in for a swim!

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Have you ever made a cake from the AWW Birthday Cake Book? What’s the best birthday cake you’ve ever had?

* Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click to buy the item, I make a little commission but you don’t pay any extra.

AWW Swimming pool cake The Annoyed Thyroid