When I first set out to make this recipe I wondered if School Cake was now a thing of the past. The boys however informed me that you do still indeed get School Cake at lunchtime, albeit not everyday, nor after a ‘nutritious’ serving of Turkey Twizzlers and chips!
School dinners are something that seems to have a generational divide. For me, a child of the 90s, school dinners were pizza, Turkey Twizzlers, Turkey Drumsticks & Turkey Dinosaurs (basically a lot of turkey!), plenty chips and buckets of beans.
Granny remembers mince, stew, cold meats, sausages and fish pie, all served with potatoes and veg – never chips!
And the boys school dinners these days are made up of macaroni, fajitas, bubble fish, stir-fries, steak pie and lots of fruit & veg on the side.
One thing that is always a hit at school dinners, regardless of what generation you are from, is School Cake! Instantly recognisable, this basic sponge is topped with a layer of icing and a generous amount of sprinkles. And that’s literally it…nothing overly fancy but delicious enough to have an entire dinner hall of kids buzzing with excitement and praying there will be at least enough until their spot in the line.
Similar to our Victoria Sponge recipe, we recommend using margarine over butter for your cake batter. Some believe butter gives a better flavour overall to a cake, but margarine does make a better textured and more predictable sponge. Plus, it’s pretty much guaranteed that any actual school cake would have been made using margarine – mostly because it’s more cost effective than butter.
As with all ingredients when baking a sponge cake, ensure it is at room temperature before starting.
No one said School Cake was healthy and the sweetness is probably why we all love it so! Caster sugar is the sugar of choice here and is preferable over granulated sugar, as it is finer and mixes better into the batter.
Five eggs seems like a lot but this is a big cake! The size of the eggs doesn’t matter too much (I always use medium) but just be sure you’re using free-range eggs.
As with all ingredients when baking a sponge cake, ensure they are at room temperature before starting.
Again, flour is a must in a cake batter and self-raising is used here to allow it to rise. No additional raising agents are required but be sure to sift the flour.
Icing Sugar and Sprinkles
To give your School Cake that iconic finish of white icing, topped with rainbow sprinkles!
- 280 g Margarine (at room temperature)
- 280 g Caster Sugar
- 5 Free-range Eggs (at room temperature)
- 280 g Self-raising Flour
- 300 g Icing Sugar
- Few teaspoons of boiling water
Sprinkles to decorate(optional)
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°c (160°c for fan assisted oven or Gas Mark 4) and a 9"x12" inch baking tin with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at time, ensuring each is mixed through before adding the next.
- Sift in the flour and gently fold to create a batter.
- Transfer the batter to your pre-lined tin and bake in your pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes until risen, golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once your cake has cooled completely; in a bowl, mix the icing sugar with a few teaspoons of boiling water, adding a little water at time until you have a thick pouring consistency. Pour the icing onto your cake, using a spoon to guide it to the edges. Finish with some rainbow sprinkles.
Granny’s Top Tips:
• Bake your sponge the night before you require it. Leave it in it’s grease proof paper, on a wire rack and place into a air-tight bag once cool. Decorate with the icing and sprinkles in the morning. This will give your cake a better texture overall – trust me!