Vegan School Dinners Jam and Coconut Sponge is a retro traybake, that is still a popular family favourite today, dating back to the 70s', 80s' and 90s' British school dinners. It is perfect for afternoon tea, tea time, picnics, parties and lunch boxes. So easy and quick to prepare with every day store-cupboard ingredients. It's likely that you already have the ingredients for this quick and easy traybake.
Our Vegan Jam and Coconut Sponge is light, moist, airy, spongy, despite being egg and dairy-free. Its also has a lovely buttery vanilla flavour. The classic topping of fruit jam and desiccated coconut is also very delicious.
🥬 Vegan School Dinners Jam and Coconut Sponge
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.
School Dinners Vegan Jam Sponge is a plant-based remake of the old British school dinners favourite. 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 we 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.
We 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 sales, 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 Prepare
📋 Recipe Notes
Store this cake within a cake tin or covered food container for up to 5 days, in a cool, dry area. Or cover with food safe wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Undecorated cake can be frozen for up to 3-4 months.
It is traditional to serve jam and coconut sponge with custard especially pink or green! Usually pink custard would be made with a packet of strawberry or raspberry blancmange mix. But we haven't been able to source one that is dairy free and vegan. We have a vegan custard recipe outlined in the next question. You could try adding some pink or green food colouring if you want a more authentic old school dinners experience!
Yes, the following recipe is the one our family uses on a regular basis.
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.
- 2 tablespoons of custard powder
- 2-3 tablespoons of granulated sugar or any sugar, syrup or sweetener of choice
- 400-500 ml (2 cups) 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.When simmering turn heat to low.
5. Cook and stir for a minute or two. If the custard is too thick just add a little extra milk and stir.
6. 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.Serve immediately or cover the surface with a piece of parchment paper to try avoid a skin forming.
8. If a skin does form just whisk it into the custard.
9. If you leave your custard and it becomes too thick just use a fork or whisk and mix through some extra milk to thin.
10. Gently reheat if necessary.
👩🏽🍳 More vegan school dinner bakes
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Old School Dinners Jam and Coconut Sponge
- Rectangular baking tray with deep sides/brownie pan. Size roughly about 10/11 inch by 6/7 inch.
- greaseproof paper
- Mixing bowl
- 225 grams self-raising flour [or plain or all purpose flour with an extra ½ teaspoon of baking powder, so use 2 ½ teaspoons in total]
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 175 grams caster sugar [or granulated]
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil [such as rapeseed or sunflower oil]
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 225 millilitres water
Jam and coconut topping:
- 8 tablespoons fruit jam [give the jam a good mix with a spoon so it's easier to spread]
- 4 tablespoons desiccated coconut [use more if required]
Prepare the sponge:
- Preheat oven to 160 Fan, 180 Celsius, 350 Fahrenheit, Gas 4.
- Grease the pan with a little oil, and line with greaseproof paper.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, and mix through the sugar.225 grams self-raising flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 175 grams caster sugar
- Pour the oil, vanilla, and water into the mixing bowl, and mix everything to a smooth batter.6 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 225 millilitres water
- Scoop the cake batter into the baking dish. A spatula is amazing as it helps scrape all the batter off the bowl.
- Place the baking dish on the middle shelf of the oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check how its going after 25 minutes, its ready when risen, firm, lightly golden, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Leave the cake for about 20 minutes to cool in the pan and then carefully remove to cool on a wire rack. Or simply leave in the tin to cool. It will be fine.Carefully peel away the baking paper.
- Once cool finish the traybake by adding the topping.
Jam and coconut topping:
- Whip your jam with a cutlery spoon to loosen it up and make it easier to spread. Spread the jam over the top of the traybake.8 tablespoons fruit jam
- Sprinkle the coconut over the jam, using more coconut if necessary to nicely cover.4 tablespoons desiccated coconut
- Slice into 12 pieces.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- 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.
- 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.
- For an iced topping with sprinkles: Sieve about 12 tablespoons of sieved icing sugar (powdered 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.
- If your icing is too thin just add some more icing sugar and mix until its how you like it.
- For icing that is too thick add tiny drops of water and mix.
- For a lemon traybake, 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.
- Check out the recipe notes for an easy custard recipe which is the perfect accompaniment.
Prepared our Vegan School Dinners Jam and Coconut Sponge? Do pop back and drop us a comment below and click the star ratings as we would love to know how you got on with the recipe. Thanks so much! Love Jacq x