Baking · Cakes

School Cake

A true British classic – this is my take on the popular old-fashioned School Cake. This simple, fluffy vanilla traybake is topped with icing and lots of colourful sprinkles!

When it comes to cake, the simplest of cakes is definitely a winner in my opinion.

The cake I have for you today is easy to make and even easier to eat!

School Cake is a nostalgic bake that often reminds many British people of their childhood at primary school. My sister and I went to school in the 2000’s. We actually don’t remember having this cake, but I’ve seen this recipe everywhere!

When talking to my family, we discussed our memories of school food, and obviously, pudding was our main topic of conversation. Sweet treats we remember enjoying at school included chocolate shortbread and flapjacks.

If you love flapjacks, then you just have to try my popular British Flapjacks recipe ASAP!

I bake cakes like this at work very often, so I thought about sharing one on my blog. You can make this cake one of two ways. The all-in-one method or creaming method. I like to cream my margarine and sugar first, then add the eggs, along with the vanilla extract, flour and milk.

I would recommend using margarine over butter. Butter adds amazing richness, but personally, for me, the margarine keeps the cake super moist and tastes more traditional. Plus, a bonus of using margarine, is that you can use it straight from the fridge, unlike butter which needs to be softened.

Decorate this amazing vanilla traybake with a simple white icing. Then follow that with a generous amount of sprinkles (either sugar strands or hundreds and thousands).

Leave the icing to set, then slice into squares as big or small as you like.

We ate this cake as it is, and also with some custard. This divine cake stays moist for days, it’s perfect for all occasions. Whether that be for a weekday/weekend pudding, or for a birthday party.

Take a step back in time to your school days with this fabulous, retro cake!


School Cake

A true British classic. My take on the popular old-fashioned School Cake. This simple, fluffy vanilla traybake is topped with icing and lots of colourful sprinkles!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 16
Author What Jessica Baked Next


  • 300 g butter (salted or unsalted) or margarine margarine produces a lighter sponge
  • 300 g caster or granulated sugar
  • 5 medium or large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300 g self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 325 g icing sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons water or enough for a thick, spreadable icing
  • Sprinkles (either sugar strands or hundreds and thousands) to decorate


  • Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 23cm x 30cm (9 x 13-inch) baking tin with baking parchment.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter/margarine with the sugar for about 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Add one egg, along with the vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of the flour. Mix well to incorporate, then repeat with the remaining eggs and the flour. Finally, add the milk and continue mixing to combine - don't over mix.
  • Transfer the cake batter to the lined baking tin and smooth the top with the back of a spatula or spoon. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden, risen and a cake tester, when inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transport it to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  • Once the cake is cooled, prepare the icing. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the icing sugar with enough water to make a thick, spreadable icing - start adding a teaspoon of water and keep adding until you get the consistency you desire.
  • Spread the icing over the top of the cake, then cover with a generous amount of sprinkles. Leave the icing to set, before slicing up into 12-16 squares. The cake will keep for up to 3 days stored at room temperature.

Try these cake recipes next!

Classic Victoria Sandwich

Chocolate Traybake

Carrot Cake Traybake

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