Recipe | School jam and coconut sponge cake

Fluffy sponge cake smothered in jam and sprinkled with dessicated coconut: a classic from the old school canteen. Custard optional!

Classic old school jam and coconut sponge cake easy uk recipe

Another old school classic I’ve been meaning to make for ages. This school jam and coconut sponge cake is made using a basic sponge mix with some jam and dessicated coconut to decorate. You can use any size or shape of shallow baking tin you have, just tweak the ingredient quantities up or down as necessary.

I believe some school canteens used to serve this as a dessert with (pink!) custard. But I’d rather eat it as it is!

Ingredients (makes 18-24 slices of old school jam and coconut sponge cake)

  • 170 g / 6 oz butter (at room temperature) or baking margarine
  • 170 g / 6 oz caster sugar (granulated sugar will work if you can’t get caster)
  • 170 g / 6 oz self-raising flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs (large or medium)
  • Seedless jam/ jelly jam – I used strawberry, but choose your favourite!
  • Dessicated coconut. You’ll need at least 50 g / 2 oz, so just buy the smallest bag you can find.


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/ 160 degrees C fan / 356 degrees F / Gas Mark 4.

Line your baking tin(s) with greaseproof baking paper. The ingredients I’ve listed here will make a jam coconut sponge to fill a rectangular tin measuring 18 x 32 x 2.5 cm (7 x 12.5 x 1 inches). If your tin is smaller, use 2 eggs and 4 oz (115g) of the other ingredients. If bigger, go up to 4 eggs and 8 oz (225g) of everything else.

Use a stand mixer or electric hand beaters if you have them. Beat the butter or baking margarine for 3-4 minutes until it goes pale. I’d recommend baking margarine over butter for this recipe. However, if you can only get butter just beat it for a long time until it starts to go white so you get a good rise on the sponge.

Add the sugar to the butter/marg and beat for another 3 minutes until the mixture starts to look fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring the mixture gently between each addition until combined. Finally, add the flour and fold in gently. Pour the sponge cake mixture into your prepared baking tin and use a spatula or knife to spread out evenly.

Old school jam and coconut sponge cake easy uk recipe

Put in the oven for 18-20 minutes until risen and golden brown. You can insert a skewer or knife into the middle to check the cake is done – it will come out clean without any gooey mixture on if it’s cooked (see knife hole in the centre of the cake in the following picture!).

Old school canteen jam and coconut sponge cake easy uk recipe

Leave the sponge cake to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes. Spread on the jam while the cake is still warm (it helps it to spread evenly) and sprinkle on a first layer of coconut.

Wait for another 15-20 minutes and remove the cake from the tin. Now that it’s almost completely cool, sprinkle over some more coconut (the first lot will have partially “absorbed” into the jam).

Old school jam and coconut sponge cake quick easy uk recipe

Slice your school jam and coconut sponge cake and serve (warm with custard if you prefer!).

Old school jam and coconut sponge cake easy uk recipe custard optional

This school jam and coconut sponge cake will keep well for up to 5 days after baking in an airtight container stored in a cool, dry place. However, it’s quite a sticky one to store, so I’d suggest baking it for a time you know you’ll have lots of eager mouths to help you test it!

And if you’re looking for more childhood baking nostalgia:

Picture of old school sponge cake with white icing and multicoloured spinkles


Old school sponge cake with white icing and multicoloured sprinkles.




Make melting moments custard powder cookies biscuits recipe


Melting moments: custard powder and icing sugar butter cookies.




Claire Huston / Art and Soul

56 thoughts on “Recipe | School jam and coconut sponge cake

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    • Hi. Thanks! If you need an eggfree version of this basic sponge cake, there are lots out there if you do an internet search for “eggless vanilla sponge cake” or similar that’ll give you a recipe for the cake. Then just add the layer of jam and coconut as before πŸ™‚
      Hope that helps!


  4. Oh this is my childhood! I’ve been meaning to make it too, but I never seem to have both jam and the coconut in my cupboard at the same time ..I remember it as young as five years old at school. Didn’t like it then …but now I do! The kids used to clamour for the skin on top of the metal jugs of pink custard!! πŸ˜‚ Madness!

    Liked by 1 person

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