Jam & Coconut School Cake

Published by Amy

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Another take on our now-famous school cake recipe… This time we’ve gone for the jam and coconut school cake version. Just as delicious, with or without the pink custard accompaniment!

Jam and coconut school sponge cake. A twist on your infamous school cake recipe.

Let’s flash it back to summer 2020. We’re mid pandemic but between lockdowns in the UK. Baking with Granny has sky-rocketed in the online world (everyone being off work and baking will have that affect!) and I’m looking for a new recipe to share. Everyone is hankering back to their childhoods – easier times! And the thing I keep thinking back to was one cake I would eat as child… School Cake.

I’ve mentioned before that as a kid, growing up with Granny baking all day, everyday, that I wasn’t really a fan of home baking. Too much of a good thing you could say! But the one cake I would always look forward to was the school dinner cake, “lovingly” prepared by our school dinner ladies. The plainest sponge you could get, topped with white icing and sprinkles. Often served with custard (although not for me, thank you) and a favourite with all generations. It’s no wonder that the one cake I always remember loving as a kid, is the long-standing favourite recipe here on Baking with Granny.

I could have never predicted just how crazy people would go for School Cake and the feedback for it has been amazing. One recurring question I get though is whether I could also do a recipe for the jam and coconut version. People pleasing is in my nature – as I think it is with most bakers – so your wish is my command!

Jam and Coconut topped school cake, cut into square sized portions.

This Jam and Coconut School cake recipe uses the same formula for success as our infamous sprinkle School Cake recipe. A simple, light & tasty sponge – in huge quantities! Topped with some tasty favourites. But instead of a white water icing and some rainbow sprinkles, we opt for some seedless jam and desiccated coconut. A different flavour combo but one that works so well.

For serving, custard is optional. I personally think this version of school dinner cake is better suited for a drowning in custard but it’s entirely your choice. As is whether the custard should indeed be pink!

School Cake topped with jam and coconut. Delicious simple sponge, finished with raspberry jam and desiccated coconut.


Similar to our Victoria Sponge recipe, we recommend using margarine over butter for your cake batter. Some believe butter gives a better flavour overall to a cake, but margarine does make a better textured and more predictable sponge. Plus, it’s pretty much guaranteed that any actual school cake would have been made using margarine – mostly because it’s more cost effective than butter.
As with all ingredients when baking a sponge cake, ensure it is at room temperature before starting.

Caster Sugar
No one has ever claimed a School Cake was healthy and the sweetness is probably why we all love it so! Caster sugar is the sugar of choice here and is preferable over granulated sugar, as it is finer and mixes better into the batter.

Free-range Eggs
Five eggs seems like a lot but this is a big cake! The size of the eggs doesn’t matter too much (I always use medium) but just be sure you’re using free-range eggs.
As with all ingredients when baking a sponge cake, ensure they are at room temperature before starting.

Self-raising Flour
Again, flour is a must in a cake batter and self-raising is used here to allow it to rise. No additional raising agents are required but be sure to sift the flour – one, to get rid of lumps; two, to let some extra air into the flour.

This is where the ingredient’s vary from our classic icing/sprinkle-clad school dinner cake. In terms of jam, it really comes down to personal preference. I am a raspberry jam girl, through and through. But strawberry is perfectly acceptable too, and probably what was used in most actual Jam and Coconut School Cakes. You can even go completely rouge and use a blackberry jam, or apricot jam.
One thing I do recommend however is using a seedless jam. It’s not an essential but it does give your cake a better texture and allow the coconut to really shine through, without being lost in the texture of seeds.

Desiccated coconut is what you want to be using. I just use it straight from the packet but could could go a bit extra and toast yours first. But if we’re going for authentic school cake vibes, the heroes that are dinner ladies didn’t have time to be toasting coconut for kids who would wolf it down regardless!

School Cake recipe, topped with jam and coconut.

Granny's Top Tips

• Bake your sponge the night before you require it. Leave it in it’s grease proof paper, on a wire rack and place into a air-tight bag once cool. Decorate with the icing and sprinkles in the morning. This will give your cake a better texture overall – trust me!

• Don’t be too concerned if your jam starts to pull crumbs along whilst spreading. By the time you add your coconut, no one will even notice.

School cake recipe made with coconut and jam.
School Cake recipe, topped with jam and coconut.

Jam & Coconut School Cake

Classic school sponge cake, topped with jam and coconut.
4.88 from 8 votes
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12



  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°c (160°c for fan assisted oven or Gas Mark 4) and a 9"x12" inch baking tin with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at time, ensuring each is mixed through before adding the next.
  • Sift in the flour and gently fold to create a batter.
  • Transfer the batter to your pre-lined tin and bake in your pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes until risen, golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once your cake has cooled completely; warm your jam for about 20 seconds in a microwave (this isn't essential but it does make it easier to spread). Spread your jam over the top of your cake, being careful to get right into the corners and edges. Sprinkle your coconut over the top of your jam to finish.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!
Jam and Coconut School Cake recipe. Classic school dinner cake, topped with raspberry or strawberry jam, and desiccated coconut.

10 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    I love your recipes and have tried many of them all will success. This one is no exception, the sponge has good rise and is lovely and light and moist. I made one tray and iced one side as per your other school cake recipe and the other with jam and coconut, both delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    The most delicious cake remember my school days getting this all my children love this cake very easy to make and not buying any cakes now save money thanks for recipes

  3. 4 stars
    This was a hit with two of the family, the rest of us (3) thought it tasted “eggy” could I use less eggs and some milk maybe?

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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