Baking is a great way to teach your children important skills such as maths, home economics and good hygiene. It’s also a great way to keep them occupied at home while we ride the tide of this coronavirus! Win, win! So, to start off with I’m teaching my kiddie winkles a school classic… the traybake! This recipe is a simple – but delicious! – sponge cake topped with sugary goodness that takes me back to my childhood. It’s equally delicious on its own or with the traditional school accompaniment, custard.

First off, you know me but let me introduce you to my two little assistants today, Alex aged 6 and Sophie aged 4:

Now you know who we all are, here’s the list of ingredients you’ll need to get cracking:


225g butter/margarine*

225g sugar

225g self raising flour*

4 large (or 5 medium) eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract


250g icing sugar (we used Sugar & Crumbs scrumptious Strawberry Milkshake flavoured icing sugar but plain icing sugar is yummy too!)

4 tbsp cooled boiled water

100’s & 1000’s or other sprinkles of your choice

* you can make this recipe dairy and/or gluten free by substituting butter with a dairy free margarine and the flour with gluten free flour + ¼ tsp xanthan gum. I am dairy intolerant so we swapped out the butter to Flora margarine.

The one thing that was missing from the photo above is vanilla extract. I felt I needed to provide a quick explanation over this litre bottle of vodka – the bottle actually contains my homemade vanilla extract which is super easy to make and IMHO far nicer than shop bought extract. Drinking of vodka may commence though after the kids go to bed!

Now that I’ve cleared up that I’m not drinking while home schooling, let’s get onto the method:

1. Preheat your oven to 140°c (fan assisted) and grease and line a 8” square tin.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and give it another quick mix.

3. Add in half of your flour mixture and half of your eggs and give it another mix.

4. Add the rest of your flour and eggs and mix again making sure there are no floury lumps left.

5. Put the cake batter in the tin and smooth the mixture around so it is level. Give the tin a few taps against your worktop to make sure there are no big bubbles in the mixture. Obligatory lick of the cake spoon once this is done!

6. Put the cake in the oven and check it after 45 minutes. It will probably need another 5-10 minutes but best to check it early just in case your oven temp is slightly out. You will know when the cake is done because the cake tester (a fork will do) will come out of the cake clean and you’ll see that the cake has started to come away from the edge of the tin slightly.

7. Pop the tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before turning the cake out on to the rack. If you leave the cake upside down on the rack it will help to level out any doming that’s occurred.

8. Once the cake is cooled, mix your icing sugar and cooled boiled water together, spread it on top of the cake and sprinkle on your sprinkles!

9. Cut the cake into 16 squares (or less if you want a bigger slice!) and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy baking this cake as much as we did

Kerry, Alex & Sophie