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A delicious and simple vanilla school cake with icing and sprinkles – the classic easy bake for everyone! 

YES THAT IS RIGHT… THE RECIPE IS FINALLY HERE! School Cake!! This, again is one of the most highly requested recipes to go on to my blog, and I thought it was about time… just in time for school starting again this year! 

School cake, for those who don’t know… is a really very simple recipe. It’s a vanilla sponge cake, topped with water icing and sprinkles! It really is that simple. If you include the water as an ingredient for the icing, it is eight ingredients.

This cake is iconic – and one of the cakes that no matter how ‘plain’ it is – I will ALWAYS want to eat it. There is just something about it. It’s sweet, but delightful. If you haven’t heard of it… you must try it now!

The cake is light and moist (if I can use that word…) with the vanilla flavour. You simply have to make a basic cake sponge! I have listed 7-8 eggs, as eggs can vary in weight. The best tip, is to weigh your eggs in the shells, to get as close to 400g as possible. 

Say the eggs weigh 411g, you then need to use 411g butter, sugar and self raising flour! The equal ratios create the perfect simple sponge that will bake wonderfully and it’s very hard to get wrong! The vanilla extract is optional, but I LOVE it!

I use a 9×13″ Traybake tin to make this, as I use it for all my traybake cakes. I love my chocolate traybake cake, my gin and tonic traybake cake and so on… but this one?! This school cake may be my favourite of all my traybake cakes. 

To get the perfect bake, you really need to make sure you mix the ingredients properly. I use my stand mixer, but an electric hand mixer works, or even a bowl and spoon. Make sure if you use unsalted block butter that it’s at room temp, but baking spread can be fridge cold. 

You beat the butter and sugar together until creamed, light and fluffy. I then add in all the eggs, self raising flour and vanilla and mix again! If mixing with a bowl and spoon, you may want to add these a smidge slower so you don’t get in a complete mess!

If you aren’t sure on your oven, I always recommend using an oven thermometer so it bakes correctly! An oven I once had to use was 50ºc out! Absolutely awful for baking. After your oven is correctly heated, you want to bake the cake until a skewer comes out clean, and its not making a bubbling/crackling sound when you listen carefully. 

If you cake sinks after coming out the oven, it needed longer baking. It really is that simple! It’s still going to be edible, so don’t be disheartened. Baking is all about learning the science behind it! 

Once the cake is cooled, you can make the icing. It really is as simple as mixing water into the icing sugar, pouring it over the cake evenly, and sprinkling on some sprinkles! It’s as simple as it can get. 

The most painful part is waiting for the icing to set a bit so it doesn’t pour everywhere – but it is worth it! It’s one of the best bakes ever, and I really hope you love it! Enjoy! x

School Cake!

A delicious and simple vanilla school cake with icing and sprinkles - the classic easy bake for everyone! 
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Category: Cakes
Type: Traybake
Keyword: Vanilla
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Decorating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12 People
Author: Jane's Patisserie



  • 400 g Unsalted butter/stork
  • 400 g Caster sugar
  • 7-8 Medium Eggs
  • 400 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • 500 g Icing sugar
  • 4-5 tbsp Water


  • Rainbow sprinkles


For the Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan and line a 9x13" Traybake tin with parchment paper.
  • Beat together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, self raising flour, and vanilla extract and beat again until combined well. 
  • Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until baked through. 
  • Once baked, let the cake cool fully in the tin.

For the Icing

  • Add the icing sugar to a medium sized bowl, and gradually add the water, mixing well each time, until a thick icing paste is made.
  • Carefully spread the icing over the cake evenly.


  • Sprinkle over your favourite rainbow sprinkles!
  • Leave the icing to set for about an hour, and enjoy.


  • I recommend using a 9x13" Traybake tin for this recipe. 
  • This cake will last for 3-4 days once made. 
  • For a 9" square tin - I would recommend a 5 egg/250g sugar/butter/flour mixture. Baked for 35 minutes!
  • You can use any sprinkles you like! 


Find my other Recipes on my Recipes Page!

You can find me on:

J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.


  1. Alisha on May 30, 2022 at 9:29 am

    Hi Jane,
    I made this recipe and it tasted amazing, however I wanted to know what weightings to use if I was to bake it in an 8inch square tin, as I could use a smaller portion size for home! x

  2. christine on May 12, 2022 at 9:33 am

    Hi Jane,

    Tried this recipe yesterday and it tastes amazing but I feel like the sponge isn’t as soft as it should be. Do you think this is purely down to over baking or could it be my mixing? I used a spatula and a bowl rather than a mixer? X

    • Jane's Patisserie on May 17, 2022 at 1:46 pm

      Hiya! This could just be down to over baking! Hope this helps! x

    • Wilma on May 26, 2022 at 12:06 pm

      I’ve had a disaster with this. I used a 9 x 13 tin but it obviously wasn’t deep enough as a lot of the mixture ended up on the floor of the oven. Did I just not have a deep enough tin!!

  3. Madeleine Pike on April 27, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    Hi there

    Could I make a chocolate sponge instead? Remove vanilla and replace with an ounce or 2 of cocoa powder? Maybe some chocolate chips.

    Thank you

  4. Anjy on April 13, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Hope you are well 🙂
    Hoping to make this tomorrow for my daughter’s 3rd birthday in a 9 inch round cake tin. What quantities would I need and how long should I cook it for in a fan oven?
    Of note – I’m going to try and split the batter into 6 and colour them and then port into the tube one on top of the other. Do you think that will work?
    Thanks so much – I REALLY APPRECIATE 🙂

  5. Al on April 12, 2022 at 7:09 am

    5 stars
    Probably the best sponge Ive made., thanks Jane for a perfect school cake bake!

  6. emma on April 2, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    5 stars
    absolutely gorgeous, so light and fluffy was a massive hit 🙂

  7. Danielle on March 24, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    If I replace the eggs for aquafaba would it be 3 tablespoons per egg measurement? I will also be using dairy free margarine.

  8. Lizzie on March 22, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    Hi can the school cake be frozen?
    Loving the recipe 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 23, 2022 at 12:00 pm

      Yes absolutely you can freeze this for up to 3 months! Enjoy! x

  9. Jo on March 11, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe. Such an old time fave in this house! So easy to make and fun for little ones adding all the sprinkles!!!

  10. Phoebe Hayes on February 11, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    5 stars
    Hey Jane, what’s the best way to add the icing so it cuts neatly instead of running down the sides after being cut ?

    • Jane's Patisserie on February 16, 2022 at 9:06 am

      Hiya! Try adding slightly less water to your icing so it is slightly thicker and therefore hopefully won’t run. Enjoy! x

  11. Karen on February 7, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    Would the 9×12 tin work for this too with no adjustments?

    Thank you

  12. Jess on February 3, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    5 stars
    Made this with my little one this morning and we absolutely love it! so delicious- thanks for sharing the recipe!

  13. Niamh Cox on December 22, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Hi Jane,

    Can you use large eggs in this recipe? If so would that change the weight of the other ingredients in the cake.


    • Jane's Patisserie on December 23, 2021 at 11:39 am

      Hiya! Yes, use 6-7 Large eggs, everything else will stay the same. Enjoy! x

  14. lisa cook on November 15, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Can this be frozen ok

  15. Allison Ferguson on November 14, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Could I use a 10″ by 10″ tin without altering the ingredients? xx

  16. Natalie on November 1, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    I am wanting to use this recipe to make a Spongebob Cake for my daughter’s birthday. Can I make two cakes and stack them, or will it be too big and fall apart?

  17. Julie Jones on October 30, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Jane, congrats on the book, my colleagues got it for me and I’ve already made a few bakes from it, all yummy! I’ve just made the school tray bake and decorating it in a Halloween theme for the grandchildren . My daughter made it a while back and said it’s the best cake ever so I thought I’d have a go too. Yes, it’s fab!

  18. Lisa on October 29, 2021 at 8:57 am

    Could I put a food colouring into the mixture my grandchildren love this cake so was going to do a Halloween theme on top thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 1, 2021 at 9:41 pm

      Yes you can! Just make sure to use good quality colours!

  19. Amanda Jayne on October 21, 2021 at 8:03 am

    5 stars
    This sounds amazing. How can I make it gluten free please. Itll be my first attempt of a GF cake. Thank you

  20. Veronica on October 18, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Could I use dairy free butter and the same ingredients for a dairy free version?

  21. Vicky on September 18, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    5 stars
    Amazing cake! Only made half what the recipe said (as we didn’t need it so big ) and cooker for less time and it Turned out perfect!

    • Helen on October 23, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Made this cake for my family , they said it’s the
      Best evwr cake . I added a little butter to the
      Icing , WOW made a difference soooò yummy

  22. Shirin on September 15, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Hello! Love your recipes! I wash just wondering when we weigh eggs, is it better to be under or over the recommended amount. Because honestly, I can never get recommended amount, heheheh! Thank you 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on September 16, 2021 at 10:10 am

      When you weigh the eggs, you want them to be as close to the recommended amount as possible. So say the mixture its 250g, and your eggs weigh 260g, use that. Then, match the other ingredients to the weight! Ideally its not too far away from the recommended weight (even if its a little less, or a little more) x

    • Sam on September 30, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      Should eggs be weighed in the shell? 😬

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 1, 2021 at 3:39 pm

      Yes they should!

  23. Jo Fredericks on August 27, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    5 stars
    Just made this cake for the second time in a week, safe to say everyone in my family loves it! Children currently lingering while the icing sets haha! Perfect for school lunchboxes x

  24. Becky on August 25, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Hi Jane,
    I love all your recipes, thanks for sharing them with us. Once you have creamed together your butter and sugar and then added the rest of the ingredients, how long do you mix it for? I know the recipe says ‘well combined’ but I’m unsure what this means. I’m so worried about overmixing!

  25. Maria on August 25, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Hi Jane

    Congratulations on the book!

    If I wanted to make this a a loaf cake, do you think it would work?

    Love your recipes! Xxx

  26. Claire Cox on August 24, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. So simple and satisfying. Family winner with this. Made relatively large cuts and still got about 16 pieces put of my square cake tin. My son loved helping put the sprinkles on. Just love your recipes.

  27. Penny Turner on August 23, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Hi my mum made this when I was little I’ve continued to do this for my children and grandchildren. She made it as it was a quick cheap cake to make when money was short .

  28. Zara on August 22, 2021 at 1:18 am

    Looks like a great recipe! Is there a good way to stop the coloured sprinkles from leaking their colour through the icing?! Thanks!

  29. mrs joan ryan on August 21, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    hi i just got your book i have not had time to sit down and give it a good look have gave it a quick flick truth is your school cake in the book thank you for reading this email youes faithfully joan ryan [Mrs ]

    • Lyndsey Campbell on August 23, 2021 at 4:18 pm

      Can this be frozen?

  30. Karen Hales on August 21, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    5 stars
    Can I ask why the school cake recipe asks for light soft brown sugar? I made this tray bake today, it is lovely but my sponge is definitely deeper in colour than the pictures you’ve shown no doubt because of the light brown sugar.

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 22, 2021 at 10:32 am

      Oops sorry was meant to be caster haha!

  31. Danielle on August 21, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Perfect as always! I made this today and took your advice and weighed the eggs, good thing really as it took 10 eggs xx

  32. TERRYE HEATLEY on August 21, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Can you provide dry measurements in cups for those of us without a kitchen scale?

  33. Angie on August 21, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    I’m going to ask a no doubt stupid question 😬

    If I set the oven to 160c fan should the thermometer read 180c or 160c?

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 22, 2021 at 10:33 am

      The thermometer should read the temperature that the oven should be x

  34. Julie White on August 21, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    I have tried this with 9 inch tin and less ingredients but wasnt cooked in 35 minutes

  35. Esh on August 21, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Think it will be okay if I just sprinkle choc chips on top of I don’t want the icing sugar?

    • Sarah-Jane on January 8, 2022 at 1:59 pm

      5 stars
      First time making this recipe, it’s absolutely amazing!!! Turned out perfectly, lovely light sponge 👌😋 Never have any issues with your recipes, always turn out sooo good!! XX

    • Amy on March 1, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      I’ve tried this recipe twice now and it isn’t cooking in the middle? Any tips on what I’m doing wrong?

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 6, 2022 at 1:33 pm

      I’d buy an oven thermometer and check its actually correct – sometimes oven temps can be out by a large amount which can affect cake mixes really badly! x

    • Debbiw on March 18, 2022 at 11:14 pm

      We did this today and used choc sprinkles as coukdnt find the normal ones. Still tastes lovely!

  36. Abby on August 21, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Hi Jane

    Iv noticed you’ve used light brown soft sugar for this recipe – interesting! What difference does that make to the cake as opposed to Caster Sugar? X

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