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Baking expert's 'nostalgic' school cake can be made in the air fryer – recipe

School days have so much nostalgia with school dinners being one of the most reminiscent memories.

There are so many dishes that remind Britons of their youth – from semolina pudding to arctic roll, however, there is one timeless dessert that takes centre stage across the generations.

The classic school cake is best known for being a square vanilla sponge, topped with white icing and a dusting of colourful sprinkles, and it couldn’t be easier to make, according to Candice Bannister, founder of Candy’s Cupcakes.

Sharing her recipe with Express.co.uk, the baking expert said: “The school cake is a favourite amongst many households, as different generations have enjoyed it over the years. The simplicity of the cake makes it so easy to recreate at home and even better when baked in the air fryer too.

“Why not give the classic school cake a twist, and add chocolate chips to the mixture or change up the toppings with some old school pick n mix sweets – to get you feeling extra nostalgic!”


Preheat the air fryer to 160C for five minutes then make a start on the cake batter. To make this, first take a large mixing bowl and gather all of your ingredients.

Beat together the softened butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating each one into the creamy mixture as you go.

Add the vanilla extract then stir again before slowly folding in the self-raising flour until well combined.

Add milk to achieve a “dropping consistency” – Candice noted that the batter should slowly drop off a spoon. Then, grease a cake tin that fits into the air fryer basket with a little butter or cooking spray.

Pour the cake batter into the cake tin, spreading it out evenly, then place the cake tin into the preheated air fryer at 160C for about 20-25 minutes.

Once the cake is fully cooked (a skewer inserted comes out clean), carefully remove the tin from the air fryer.

Leave the sponge to cool before making a start on the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add some water to create a smooth icing that’s thick but pourable.

Pour the icing over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the side of the sponge in a rustic fashion. Cover with sprinkles then once the icing has set, slice the finished school cake into portions and serve.


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