Growing up in the 1980’s it’s fair to say that my recollections of school dinners are less than rose-tinted. There was the odd thing I liked, but most of it was probably nutritious but not very memorable. What I do remember though, were the puddings. From cornflake pie, chocolate cake with chocolate custard and peppermint crunch slices, every day was a puddingy treat. One of my favourites then, and indeed now is school dinner style sprinkle sponge cake.
As far as really easy recipes go, this has has got to be up there. It’s a simple vanilla sponge cake topped with easy icing and then sprinkled generously with hundreds and thousands. I make this pretty regularly at home. It’s a very quick bake; easy to throw together, minimal mess, it travels very well for picnics and bake sales, and it’s always popular with my tribe!
This recipe makes 12-16 squares, depending on how generous you are with your cake cutting.
School dinner style sprinkle sponge cake
200 g caster sugar
200 g softened butter or margarine (I use Stork)
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tbsp milk
200 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g icing sugar, sifted
Tepid tap water, approx 2 tablespoons, see how it goes
Sprinkles, millions of them!
How to make your school dinner style sprinkle sponge cake:
Heat your fan oven to 180c. Line a 20 x 30cm cake tin with baking paper. I use a medium sized roasting tin. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until fluffy (I used a hand mixer). Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and combine, then add the flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a smooth batter.
Pour your cake batter into your prepared tin. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 40-45 mins until golden and cooked. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
While your cake is cooling, sift your icing sugar into a bowl to remove the lumps. Lumpy icing isn’t the best, so it’s worth taking a minute to do this. Once it’s sifted, drop some of the tepid tap water into the icing, do this a teaspoon at a time and do not make it too runny. Ideally you want a fairly stiff icing and this should use a little less than 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well until all the icing sugar in incorporated and then pour over the top of your cake. Spread the icing evenly, be aware that it will spread a little of its own accord.
Once the top of the cake is covered in the icing, sprinkle over your hundreds and thousands until you’re happy with how it looks. Use fancy sprinkles or standard sprinkles, whatever you like. Leave the icing to set for an hour or two and once the icing is firm to the touch, you can cut it into squares and share it with friends.
This really is the easiest cake to make. It’s a real crowd pleaser and it’s definitely not just for children. This vanilla sponge is delicious, but if you wanted to ring the changes, you could add a bit of lemon zest to the cake batter and make the icing with lemon juice instead of water. That really would be a lemony teatime treat!