TO THE RECIPE
Take a trip back in time with this retro school cake! Vanilla sponge is topped with icing and sprinkles to make this traybake that will bring back childhood memories and the highlight of the week in primary school lunch terms. This easy one bowl recipe is a fun and easy bake to make with your kids too.
School sponge cake was such a popular cake at school. It made school lunches bareable! A soft vanilla sponge topped with icing and lots of sprinkles makes this school cake recipe one that is loved by older and younger family members alike, whether you have memories of it or not. Following on with my nostalgic journey through memory lane after publishing this almond slice recipe, chocolate tiffin and choc coconut slice I thought I’d turn my attention to this old school sponge.
- Why we love this recipe
- Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
- How to make this sprinkle cake
- My Recipe Tips
- More bakes you may like
- School Cake
Why we love this recipe
- This simple sponge cake recipe is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face; whether you remember eating it at primary school (like me), or love cake with icing and colourful sprinkles (like mini Jones).
- It’s an easy one bowl recipe that uses store cupboard ingredients.
- Using equal weights for eggs, flour, sugar and margarine / butter mean it’s very hard to get wrong. It’s based off the weight of eggs in their shells, meaning whether you use size large eggs or medium eggs, you are pretty guaranteed to get a delicious soft sponge tray bake.
- This old fashioned school cake is great for birthday parties, bake sales and picnics, and when you just want to bake some cake!
- The cake is light and fluffy, but sturdy enough to easily transport, and despite it’s simplicity, so delicious it always brings a smile to your face!
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
- Flour – plain flour or all purpose flour.
- Margarine – as this is a retro cake recipe I have used margarine, as I am pretty confident that is what would be used back in my school days! You can use unsalted butter if you prefer, however it will alter the taste and texture ever so slightly. Unsalted butter will still make a delicious vanilla sponge tray bake, but if you are after that old school taste you won’t get it with butter.
- Sugar – white sugar or granulated sugar.
- Eggs – size large.
- Vanilla extract – or vanilla essence if you want to stick with the school theme. Provides that lovely vanilla sponge taste.
- Icing sugar – confectioners sugar. I prefer to use pure icing sugar rather than soft icing sugar, but either will work.
- Sprinkles – aka hundreds and thousands, sugar strands.
How to make this sprinkle cake
- Weigh the eggs (in their shells) and use this weight for your flour and sugar and margarine. As you can see from picture 1. the combined weight of my 4 eggs is 242 grams.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the margarine, sugar and vanilla and beat with a spoon or use an electric whisk/beaters until soft, fluffy and light.
- Add one egg and stir.
- Mix the flour with the baking powder then add a quarter of this mixture and stir. Repeat with the rest of the eggs and the rest of the flour.
- Add the milk and stir.
- Spoon the sponge batter in to a prepared tin lined with baking paper / baking parchment. Bake until golden and a skewer inserted in to the middle of the sponge comes out clean.
- Once the sponge cake has cooled, make the water icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add the water a drop at a time until you get a thick icing.
- Spoon the icing over the cake.
- Quickly scatter the sprinkles / 100s and 1000s over the icing whilst still wet.
Can I freeze school sponge cake?
Freeze the sponge cake un-iced, for up to 3 months. Cool the cake completely then wrap well. To thaw leave the cake in the fridge overnight, or at room temperature for 2-3 hours before serving. Drizzle over the icing and sprinkles once thawed.
How do you store an iced cake overnight?
The icing prevents the air from getting to the top of the sponge cake, which is the thing that make cake become hard and dry, but to prevent any hairs or specks of dust from getting to the icing it’s best to cover the cake with an upturned bowl or container overnight.
My Recipe Tips
- Don’t overmix the batter. Stop mixing when the flour and egg have just been combined in to the mixture, and then the same with the milk.
- The icing should be thick. If it’s too runny it will run off the sides of the cake. If you add too much water and the icing is too runny, sift in a little more icing sugar / confectioners sugar.
- Have the sprinkles ready to sprinkle over the icing as it will soon dry enough and the sprinkles can fall off, and your old school tray bake will not look as colourful!
- Smaller square cake: You can make this tray bake cake in an 20 cm x 20 cm (8″ x 8″) square tin. Use three eggs, weigh them and use this amount for the flour, sugar and margarine. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days, after this time it begins to dry out.
- If you want to freeze the cake, freeze it un-iced.
More bakes you may like
If you are a fan of tray bakes, these easy slices are all guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
- Bakewell Blondies
- Chocolate Hedgehog Slice
- Malteser Tray bake (Malteser Slice)
- Biscoff Rocky Road
Take a trip back in time with this retroschool cake! Vanilla sponge is topped with icing and sprinkles to make this traybake that will bring back childhood memories.
4.91 from 11 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes mins
Cook Time 35 minutes mins
Servings 20 squares
Calories 231 kcal
- 4 eggs, weighed in the shell. Mine weighed 242g ($1.40 / £0.72p)
- 242 g margarine or butter, softened ($1.35 / £0.58p)
- 242 g white sugar ($0.27 / £0.15p)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence, or vanilla bean paste ($0.08/ £0.04p)
- 242 g plain flour ($0.30 / £0.13p)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder ($0.20 / £0.06p)
- 1-2 tablespoons milk ($0.13 / £0.02p)
- 200g (2½ c) icing sugar / confectioners sugar ($0.72 / £0.36p)
- cold water ($0 / £0)
- sprinkles / 100s and 1000s ($0.28 / £0.30p)
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan / 180˚C / 320˚F convection / 356˚F
Line a 20cm x 27cm (8" x 6") tin with baking paper / baking parchement
Weigh the four eggs in their shells and use this amount for the margarine/butter, white sugar and plain flour.
Cream the margarine and sugar with vanilla until pale and fluffy (you can do this by hand with a spoon or in a food processor).
Mix the flour with baking powder.
Add one egg to the margarine / sugar and stir lightly before adding ¼ of the flour.
Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour.
Add 1 tablespoon milk and mix, adding a little more if the mixture looks dry – it should just drop off the spoon.
Spoon in to the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out to a wire rack to cool completely.
When completely cold, prepare the icing: sift the icing sugar / confectioners sugar in to a bowl and add a little water at a time, until you get a smooth thick icing.
Spoon the icing over the cake then sprinkle with sprinkles straight away whilst the icing is wet.
Cut in to pieces and enjoy!
Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Estimated costs: Australia $4.73. Per serve = $0.24.
UK £2.36. Per serve = £0.12
America – I am yet to calculate the estimated ingredients costs to make this recipe in the US. If you would find it useful please contact me and I’ll get calculating 🙂
Flour– plain flour or all purpose flour
Margarine– as this is a retro cake recipe I have used margarine, as I am pretty confident that is what would be used back in my school days! You can use unsalted butter if you prefer, however it will alter the taste and texture ever so slightly. It will make a delicious vanilla sponge tray bake, but if you are after that old school taste you won’t get it with butter.
Sugar– white sugar or granulated sugar.
Eggs– size large.
Vanilla extract – or vanilla essence if you want to stick with the school theme. Provides that lovely vanilla sponge taste.
Icing sugar– confectioners sugar. I prefer to use pure icing sugar.
Sprinkles – aka hundreds and thousands, sugar strands.
Don’tover mix the batter. Stop mixing when the flour and egg have just been combined in to the mixture, and then the same with the milk.
Theicing should be thick. If it’s too runny it will run off the sides of the cake. If you add too much water and the icing is too runny, sift in a little more icing sugar / confectioners sugar.
Have thesprinkles ready to sprinkle over the icingas it will soon dry enough and the sprinkles can fall off, and your old school tray bake will not look as colourful!
Smaller square cake:You can make this tray bake cake in an 20 cm x 20 cm (8″ x 8″) square tin. Use three eggs, weigh them and use this amount for the flour, sugar and margarine. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Calories: 231kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 170mgPotassium: 32mgFiber: 1gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 482IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg
Keyword retro cake, school sponge cake, sponge tray bake, sprinkle cake
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Please clarify the tin size. Recipe states 8×6 tin, 4 eggs and then further down, smaller tin 8×8, 3 eggs.
The recipe in the recipe card makes a rectangle cake that cuts into approx 20 squares. The recipe uses 4 eggs, and requires a tin size 8×6″.
In the post and notes section I have given the option to make a smaller cake that would cut in to approx 16 squares. This smaller cake uses 3 eggs and an 8×8″ tin. Hope this helps. Robyn
Let me know your thoughts!
The natural colours aren't bright enough so their colour disappears into the cake when baking. This completely defeats the purpose of a Funfetti Cake! So you need to make sure the sprinkles have artificial colours and to be bright to start off with so the colours stay once the cake has baked.What is the name of the sprinkle cake? ›
Pillsbury owns the trademark to "Funfetti" so the cake is generally called confetti cake, or can also be referred to as a sprinkle cake.Why didn't my school cake rise? ›
My cake has sunk in the middle.
There are three main reasons for this: a/ the oven door has been opened before the cake has set, b/ the cake didn't go in the oven as soon as the mixture was ready or c/ there's too much raising agent.
The Oven. The main factor in managing the cooking time of your cake is the oven temperature. It's not unusual for an oven to run below temperature, often by at least 25 degrees, and some ovens run hot; if the sides of your cake brown before the center is set, you will need to lower the temperature.Do you put sprinkles on a cake before or after baking? ›
If you'll be adding frosting, icing, or glaze to baked goods but also want to add sprinkles, do this while the frosting, icing, or glaze is still wet. It will be impossible to get sprinkles to adhere to these things after they've dried or hardened.What is bomb cake? ›
We offer chocolate, Butterscotch & more from ₹1399. Order Now for Free Delivery. Chocolate Truffle Bomb Cake - 500 Grams. 500 grams. Bomb cakes are wonderful for all occasions try our Chocolate Truffle Cake, where cake is placed inside the bomb shaped container that is lighted up to open with an unintended explosion.What sprinkles won't melt in cake? ›
Regular old ice cream sprinkles (called 'jimmies') are perfect for baking in cake layers. They're often used as an ice cream topping because they won't melt away easily with moisture. You can find them with the ice cream toppings at your local grocery store, or in the baking section.How many sprinkles do you need to cover a cake? ›
To Decorate the Cake With Sprinkles
Fill a small bowl with about 1 1/2 cups of sprinkles. You may use less, but you'll want extra. Press sprinkles by the handful all the way around the sides of the cake.
Quins and jimmies are the most common cake sprinkles since they hold their shape and color when baked.Is Funfetti just vanilla with sprinkles? ›
Yes, Funfetti is vanilla cake with sprinkles, but it's so much more. Funfetti cake is a festive confetti cake filled with nostalgia. It was invented in 1989 by Pillsbury. Funfetti is a vanilla-flavored white cake stuffed with colorful candy bits that, when baked, look like confetti or colorful dots.
If it's dry, but still edible, add a heavy layer of buttercream frosting to bring some moisture. If your cake is dry to the point of being inedible, you can always crumble it up and mix it with buttercream to make cake pops!What does it mean when your cake stops working? ›
The baking powder is expired
Maybe the baking powder (or baking soda) is not working. An expired baking powder won't give too many benefits to the cake batter so your cake might not rise well. In some cases, maybe your baking powder is supposed to be still good. It's not too close to the expiration date.
An overmixed egg foam will look dull or broken, like cottage cheese. With the addition of flour, an undermixed batter will have uneven streaks or visible pockets of flour. When properly combined, the batter will be satiny, a little glossy, and able to make luscious peaks or ribbons.