School Dinner Cake Tray Bake recipe - delicious sprinkle cake

This classic cake used to be a regular at school dinners in UK schools – here’s how to make your own.

Combining delicious sponge with icing and lots of sprinkles, this school dinner cake tray bake recipe requires fewer than 10 ingredients.

The instructions below are super simple and will make for around 9-12 slices.


  • 250g sugar
  • 250g softened butter At room temperature
  • 250g self raising flour OR plain flour + 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional) For best results
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 300g icing sugar
  • Custard (optional, to serve)

How to make School Dinner Cake Tray Bake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees / 160 degrees fan
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Stir in the flour a bit at a time to create a smooth cake batter. If you don’t have self raising flour, you can mix in two teaspoons of baking powder with plain flour and use that.
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  6. Finish by stirring in the milk and vanilla.
  7. Transfer to a lined or greased baking tray and cook for around 25-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Alternatively, you could split the mixture into cupcake cases.
  8. Allow the cake to cool fully before icing.
  9. For the icing, combine the icing sugar with warm water a tablespoon at a time (you can also use milk) until you have a thick but still runny paste.
  10. Spread the icing over the cake and top with sprinkles.
  11. Allow icing to set before cutting and serving.
  12. For the ultimate old school experience, serve with custard.
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