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Vegan School Dinners Sponge (traybake)

Vegan jam and coconut sponge traybake is perfect for afternoon tea, picnics, parties and lunch boxes. So easy and quick to prepare with every day store-cupboard ingredients.

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School Dinners Vegan Jam Sponge is a plant-based remake of the old British school dinners favourite.

The term old school dinners refers to the school dinners of  the 70s, 80s, and 90s. And the traditional bakes, desserts and meals that were served up during school dinnertimes.

Vegan school dinners jam sponge is an easy, quick and delicious traybake using everyday store cupboard ingredients. So it’s possible that you already have the ingredients for this tasty traybake.

vegan school dinners sponge

Best of all this cake tastes just as good as the traditional old school bake.

The sponge recipe for this traybake is adapted from a recipe I discovered years ago eggless sponge cake from the book Rose Elliot’s Book Of Cakes (1984). 

You can check out Rose Elliot’s website and some of her recent books over at roseelliot.com.

vegan school sponge with afternoon tea spread
Enjoy old school sponge with an afternoon tea spread. So fun and tasty, Find vegan recipes for old school chocolate concrete cake (cookie/chocolate crunch) and empire biscuits below.

I bake this traybake for picnics, afternoon tea, pack lunch, and whenever anyone comes to visit.

Jam and coconut sponge is also ideal as part of buffet or pot luck spreads, parties, cake sale, and really any celebration or special occasion where food is involved.

The topping can be adjusted to your favourite frosting or decoration. Try a thick water icing and finish with vegan hundreds and thousands sprinkles. So pretty.

How To Easily Prepare Jam and Coconut Sponge:

vegan school dinners sponge

Vegan Old School Dinners Jam and Coconut Sponge (traybake)

Print Recipe
Enjoy a slice of history with this delicious old British School dinners vegan jam and coconut sponge traybake.
So simple and quick to bake and irresistibly moreish with its light, fluffy, and moist sponge.
Especially good for including within an afternoon tea spread, picnic or lunch box.
Course Afternoon tea, Dessert, Party, pudding, Snack
Cuisine British
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Cooling 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Servings 12
Calories 234
Author Jacq


  • Rectangular baking tray with deep sides/brownie pan. Size roughly about 10/11 inch by 6/7 inch.
  • Greaseproof paper if needed.


  • 225 grams self-raising flour Sieved.
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder Sieved
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 225 ml water

Jam and coconut topping:

  • 8 tablespoons Jam Give the jam a good mix with a spoon so it's easier to spread.
  • 4 tablespoons desiccated coconut


Prepare the sponge:

  • Preheat oven to 160 Fan/ 180 Celsius/ 350 Fahrenheit/ gas 4.
  • Grease baking dish and line with greaseproof paper if necessary.
  • Add dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  • Add wet ingredients.
    Mix to a smooth batter.
  • Scoop the cake batter into the baking dish. A spatula is amazing as it helps scrape all the batter off the bowl.
  • Place baking dish on the middle shelf of the oven.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.
    Cake is ready when risen, lightly golden and a knife inserted comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake for about 20 minutes and then carefully remove from the tin. Or simply leave in the tin to cool. It will be fine.
    Carefully peel away the baking paper..
  • Once cool finish the sponge by adding the decoration.

Jam and coconut topping:

  • Whip your jam with a spoon to loosen it up and make it easier to spread.
    Spread over your cake.
  • Sprinkle coconut over the jam to cover.
  • Slice into 12 pieces.


  1. Store jam sponge in a covered airtight container for up to 5 days in a cool, dry place. The container can also be placed in the fridge.
  2. Un-decorated sponge can be frozen, well wrapped, for 3-4 months. Defrost at room temperature, with wrappings removed. Once at room temperature toppings can be added.
  3. For an iced topping with sprinkles: Sieve about 12 tablespoons of icing sugar and mix with a few drops of water at a time until the desired consistency. Spread over your sponge. Scatter sprinkles over. If only decorating half the traybake with icing just use about 6 tablespoons of icing sugar.
  4. If your icing is too thin just add some more icing sugar and mix until its how you like it.
  5. For icing that is too thick add tiny drops of water and mix.
  6. For a lemon traybake, you could add some grated lemon zest to the sponge mix. Use lemon juice to prepare the icing instead of the water. Decorate with sprinkles or more lemon zest.


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg


School dinners jam sponge is traditionally served with pink custard.

Usually pink custard would be made with a packet of strawberry or raspberry blancmange mix. But I haven’t been able to source one that is dairy free and vegan.

Below is my usual custard recipe:

Vegan Custard Recipe:

A tasty, easy plant-based custard that can be ready in under 20 minutes and used to compliment all your favourite vegan puddings.

Serves 3-4.

  • 2 tablespoons of custard powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of granulated sugar or any sugar, syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 400-500 ml of plant-based milk. (The amount depends on whether you prefer a thin or thicker custard).
  1. Mix the custard powder and sugar together in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of milk and mix thoroughly to a smooth paste.
  3. Over a medium heat slowly add the rest of the milk to the paste, whisking with a wooden spoon or fork to avoid lumps.
  4. Bring to a gently boil, stirring all the time.
  5. When simmering turn heat to low.  Cook and stir for a minute or two.
  6. If the custard is too thick just add a little extra milk and stir. If its too thin then simmer for a bit longer to thicken up.
  7. Stir all the time to avoid burning or sticking to the pot.
  8. Serve immediately or cover the surface with a piece of parchment paper to try avoid a skin forming.
  9. If a skin does form just whisk it into the custard. If you leave your custard and it becomes too thick just use a fork and mix through some extra milk to thin. Gently reheat if necessary.

For a traditional pink custard vegetarian recipe, check this one here at littlestuff.co.uk. 

However, this recipe isn’t vegan so only suitable for the vegetarians, etc in your life! Unless of course you can source a vegan blancmange mix and use plant-based milk.


Looking for more traditional vegan bakes and afternoon tea time treats?

Vegan Chocolate Concrete Cake (cookie/chocolate crunch)

vegan chocolate concrete cake (cookie)


Traditional Vegan Empire Biscuits 

vegan empire biscuits cookies

Classic Vegan Fruit Loaf Cake

vegan fruit loaf cake


Traditional Rustic Edinburgh Fruit Scones

Vegan Edinburgh fruit scones

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Tag us @traditionalplantbasedcooking #traditionalplantbasedcooking
So I can admire your lovely cooking or baking!

26 thoughts on “Vegan School Dinners Sponge (traybake)”

  1. At last, a vegan sponge recipe that works! I made it plain to test. Thanks for sharing. So versatile. Will use this recipe for small cakes and Victoria sponges as well.

  2. 5 stars
    I bet my boys would enjoy this cake very much. Looks quite delicious. And easy to make. I’m saving the recipe. I’m excited to give this a try.

    1. Hi. Would like to try this recipe but when I bake with vegetable i usually cam taste it which can be o empowering for me.

      Is there an alternative that I can use, could still be an oil….

      1. Hi, Thanks for your comment. For this recipe I usually use rapeseed oil which generally comes in a bottle stating that it is vegetable oil but the ingredients state rapeseed, and I can’t taste the oil in the finished cake. Nor can any one else that I bake this recipe for so a mild-flavoured, every-day vegetable oil should be fine. Also make sure that the oil you use is not too old as it may have gone a little rancid and that could affect the flavour of the finished bake. Store your oil in a cool, dark area as sunlight can make it go off quicker. Let me know how you get on and if you have any other questions.

  3. 5 stars
    I have recently started eating vegan more regularly, and I love jam sponge, so can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve never had this before. I’m glad I gave everything on hand to make these. They sound perfect!

    1. Aww that”s so lovely. I did wonder while writing the post if it would bring back fond memories for some visitors. Hope you enjoy the jam sponge πŸ™‚

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