Why you’ll love it
Jam and coconut sponge makes for a delightful addition to your afternoon tea or dessert menu. The sponge itself is soft, fluffy, and buttery — the perfect match for the sweet jam on top! It’s quite simple, but don’t let that simplicity fool you. It’s absolutely delicious and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
- Made with easy-to-find ingredients. You likely already have most in your cupboard.
- The cake’s moist and tender texture will practically melt in your mouth with every bite.
- The combination of sweet jam and coconut creates a wonderful contrast of flavours and textures.
- Impressive enough to serve to guests, yet simple enough to bake up whenever the mood strikes.
This recipe for cake with jam and coconut was inspired by a classic British school dinner cake (more on that later), and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’m using my old school vanilla tray bake but with added coconut, just like the classic. This cake reminds me a little of Aussie lamingtons without the chocolate coating.
If you like classic dessert recipes, you’re sure to adore this coconut and jam sponge.
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What is jam and coconut sponge?
Jam and coconut sponge is a quintessentially British dessert made with a light and fluffy sponge cake that’s topped with jam and desiccated coconut. It is a classic British school dinner cake that was often served with a fun pink custard.
These days coconut and jam sponge is nostalgic for many and just a delicious tea time treat.
Ingredients you’ll need
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Flour: I use plain (all-purpose) flour for this jam and coconut sponge. Remember, for the best results aim to weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. I’ll explain why below. Many recipes will call for self-raising flour which you can use in place of both the flour and baking powder.
- Baking Powder: Acts as a leavening agent, helping your cake to rise. It also contributes to its light and fluffy texture.
- Desiccated Coconut: This is a very fine shredded coconut. It’s added directly to the cake batter and as a garnish on top.
- Butter: I like unsalted. Make sure to soften it before using.
- Sugar: You can use simple white granulated sugar. Refer to my note below about weighing this ingredient!
- Eggs: You’ll need 4 large eggs.
- Milk: Whole milk will give you the best flavour but other varieties will work.
- Vanilla: For a touch of warm and earthy flavour.
- Raspberry Jam: I like raspberry for this cake with jam and coconut, but you could also use strawberry jam or whichever flavour you like best.
How to make jam and coconut cake (step-by-step)
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Combine the dry ingredients: Add the flour, baking powder, and coconut to a medium bowl and whisk to aerate.
- Cream the butter: In a different, larger bowl, add the butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer (photo 1) until creamy.
- Add the eggs: Incorporate the eggs one at a time into the batter and mix until just combined (photo 2). Add the vanilla and milk and gently mix again.
- Next, the flour: Use a spatula to add the flour mixture to the bowl (photo 3).
- Bake: Pour the coconut sponge batter into a baking pan (photo 4) and bake for 25-28 minutes.
- Add the jam: Remove the cake from the baking pan and place it on a wire rack to cool. Spread the raspberry jam over the top and sides of the cake (photo 5).
- Garnish with coconut: Sprinkle the top with coconut (photo 6), slice, and enjoy!
Tips and tricks
- For best results, weigh your ingredients: As cup measures vary and the way people add ingredients to their cups vary, the best way to get perfect results is to weigh ingredients where weight is provided. This is especially important for things like flour. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, spoon the flour into your cup measure, then level off with the back of a knife without packing it down.
- All ovens vary, so what takes 28 minutes in mine might take 26 or 30 in yours.
- Don’t overmix the batter: Mixing too much or for too long can result in a dry or tough cake texture. If you’re finding there are lumps you can’t get out, give it a gentle whisk until smooth.
- Don’t slice the jam and coconut cake until you’re ready to serve, or unless you’re freezing the slices. Otherwise, they may dry out.
- You can make your jam and coconut sponge in a 9-inch square tin as I did here for nice thick pieces. Since there is a lot of cake and only a little jam this way, you may want to serve it with some cream, ice cream, or runny custard. Or, you can prepare it just like my old school vanilla cake in a 9×13-inch baking pan. This will give you a thinner cake, so you’ll need slightly more jam to cover it.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. That said, jam and coconut sponge is best enjoyed fresh as the the coconut will sink into the jam over time.
You can also freeze this dessert for up to 3 months. I like to freeze it in slices — you’ll be able to take just what you need when you need it. It will thaw fairly quickly at room temperature.
Make sure that the cake is completely cool before adding the jam. A cooled sponge is less likely to absorb the moisture from the jam, which reduces the risk of bleeding. It pays to have a bit of patience!
It’s generally better to use butter, which is why I’m using it here. Butter imparts a richer flavor and a more tender texture to the cake. You could use margarine in a pinch, but keep in mind that the flavour and texture will change slightly. That said some at-home bakers swear by margarine. I suggest that you try both to see which one you prefer.
Yes. As mentioned, strawberry is a popular choice for jam and coconut sponge cake. You could also try apricot or another flavour that complements the coconut.
Did you try this coconut and jam sponge recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
FOR THE SPONGE
- 225 g plain flour (all-purp flour) (1 ¾ cups / 8oz) (notes)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 65 g desiccated coconut (¾ cup)
- 225 g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup / 2 sticks / 8oz)
- 250 g granulated sugar (1 ¼ cups / 8.8oz)
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup raspberry jam (or ⅔ cup for a larger pan, notes)
- ⅓ cup desiccated coconut (25g / ~1oz)
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- FOR THE SPONGE:Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan forced) / 350F and line a 9×9 square baking pan with baking paper. Or use a 9×13 baking pan (see notes).
- Combine the flour, baking powder and coconut in a medium bowl and whisk well to disperse and aerate. Set aside.
- Add the eggs, one at at time, beating on low each time until just combined. Scrape around the bowl as necessary. It may look split at this point but don’t worry – the flour will bring it together smoothly.
- Add the milk and vanilla and gently mix through.
- Swap to a spatula and gently mix through ⅓ of the flour mixture at a time until it is all just combined. Careful not to overmix.
- Tip into the tin and gently spread out into a thin layer, then bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a crumb or two attached.
- If the top is very domed, just use another baking pan or small plate or glass to gently press down while still warm to level it a little. Let it cool before topping.
- Remove it from the baking pan, using the sides of the baking paper to lift it out. Place a wire rack to cool completely before topping.
- FOR THE TOPPING: Once cool, spread over the jam, then sprinkle over the coconut.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- All ovens vary – always test for doneness 5-7 minutes before the recipe suggests
- Flour: You can swap the plain flour for self raising flour and leave out the baking powder.
- Baking pan size: I use a 9 inch square baking pan. This results in a higher ratio of cake to jam topping and ends up being nearly 2 inches deep. You can use a 9×13 baking pan and it will be about 1 inch thick. You’ll need a little more jam to cover it and it will be a lower ratio of cake to jam this way.
- Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
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