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Vegan Jam and Coconut Cake

This old-school vegan jam and coconut sponge cake is soft, fluffy and nostalgic! It’s a dairy-free, eggless version of the retro school cake, topped with strawberry jam and desiccated coconut.

Square Slices Of Vegan Jam And Coconut Sponge

Ever since I made my vegan vanilla sprinkle cake, I’ve been dreaming about this jam and coconut version!

If you’ve never heard of or seen this cake before, it’s one that was very popular as a school dessert back in the day. I was one of the weird kids who LOVED school meals and this cake was one of my favourites growing up.

It’s a basic vanilla sponge cake, exactly the same as the vanilla sprinkle cake, but this one is topped with a layer of strawberry jam and a generous sprinkling of desiccated coconut.

It might sound like an odd combination but I promise it will exceed your expectations if you’ve never tried it before! You can use any type of jam you like but I recommend strawberry or raspberry jam for the most authentic look and taste. If you like these retro recipes, check out my other bakes below.

More old-school vegan desserts:

Ingredients you’ll need:

Jam and coconut cake is pretty straight forward to make and you won’t need any unusual ingredients. If you’re a dairy-free baker, you will probably already have all of these ingredients in your kitchen.

  • Soy milk. I strongly recommend using unsweetened soy milk for best results but oat milk and almond milk will work OK too! The plant-based milk is used to make dairy-free buttermilk which will help to keep the cake moist and fluffy at the same time.
  • Apple cider vinegar. This gets mixed with the soy milk to create the buttermilk mentioned above. It can be substituted for white vinegar or lemon juice in equal amounts.
  • Self-raising flour. Using self-raising instead of plain flour will help to lift the cake and make it light and springy, just like the school dinner version.
  • Baking soda. This works with the self-raising flour to give the cake a little extra lift. You’ll only need to use a tiny amount here, so as not to spoil the flavour of the cake.
  • Caster sugar. Adds sweetness!
  • Oil. I used oil as the fat in this recipe for ease, rather than using vegan butter like I usually do. You can use melted vegan butter in equal amounts if you prefer, but this gives the cake quite a rich flavour. If using oil, I recommend using sunflower or rapeseed oil for best results. I don’t recommend using coconut or olive oil.
  • Vanilla extract. Gives a hint of flavour that works nicely with the fruity, coconutty topping.
  • Jam. I recommend using strawberry jam for the true retro flavour. This is the way we enjoyed it at school! If you prefer, you can use raspberry jam or something similar.
  • Desiccated coconut. The finishing touch! I used around 50g but you can use as much or as little as you like!

How to make vegan jam and coconut cake

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you’re using a fan or convection oven). Line an 8×10-inch tin with baking paper. I recommend leaving a little bit of paper hanging over each side so that it comes out super easily after baking.

Step 2:

In a small bowl or mug, mix together 250ml of soy milk with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Set it aside for 5 minutes and it will become thick and curdle a little. This will act as your vegan buttermilk.

I recommend using organic, unsweetened soy milk for the creamiest buttermilk. Other milks like almond or oat will work but won’t curdle the same. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use lemon juice or white vinegar instead.

Step 3:

In a large bowl, mix together 230g of self-raising flour, 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), and 180g of caster sugar.

Add the vegan buttermilk to the bowl along with 95ml of oil and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix everything together well until you have a smooth cake batter.

Cake Batter In Bowl

I recommend using a neutral tasting oil such as sunflower or rapeseed. Oils such as olive or coconut have a stronger flavour and won’t work well in this recipe. It’s important to have a neutral base to let the jam and coconut flavours really shine through.

Step 4:

Pour the cake batter into your lined tin and spread it out evenly. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean.

Baked Cake In Tray

Let the cake cool in the tin for around 20 minutes, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Peel the baking paper off the bottom and leave it to cool completely.

Step 5:

Once the cake is cool, spread ~200g of your favourite jam onto it (I used Hartleys’ strawberry jam). I recommend stirring it in a bowl first until it’s softened up a bit. This will make it easier to spread onto the cake and prevent tears.

Once you’ve covered the top of the cake with jam, sprinkle 50g of desiccated coconut (or more if you like) over the top. I used Crazy Jack desiccated coconut.

And that’s it! All that’s left to do is cut into slices and enjoy!

Cake With Jam And Desiccated Coconut On Top


How should jam and coconut sponge be stored?

Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place such as a kitchen cupboard. Do not store it in direct sunlight.

How long will it last?

If stored appropriately as recommended above, it will last approximately 4 days. It might last longer but I can’t confirm as we always eat it pretty quickly!

Can I freeze it?

Yep. This cake freezes well. It can be frozen with the topping already on, or you can freeze the cake alone and top it when you’re ready to serve it. To freeze, pop slices in an airtight container or, if freezing the whole cake, wrap it tightly in cling film. Freeze for up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to defrost it, remove the clingfilm or take it out of the airtight container and transfer the cake onto a plate or wire rack. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour or two, until completely thawed. Do not refreeze this cake.

What can I serve this cake with?

The most traditional way to eat this cake would be the same way as we used to eat it at school- with warm custard! I’ve created a homemade eggless custard recipe that would taste delicious with this cake.

Alternatively, you can serve it with vegan whipped cream, ice cream or just enjoy it alone!

Pinterest pin with image of sponge cake with jam and coconut on top

I hope you enjoy the recipe! If you make it yourself at home, please let me know how it goes by leaving a rating and/or comment below. Happy baking! xo

Thumbnail Image Of Jam And Coconut Sponge Cake Slices
5 from 4 votes

Vegan Jam and Coconut Sponge

Strawberry jam and coconut sponge cake just like the old-school dessert!

Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan jam and coconut cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 270 kcal


  • 250 ml Unsweetened soy milk (1 cup)
  • 2 Teaspoons Apple cider vinegar (you can use white vinegar or lemon juice instead)
  • 230 g Self-raising flour (1+¾ cups)
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 180 g Caster sugar (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 95 ml Sunflower or rapeseed oil (⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract

To top:

  • 200 g Strawberry jam (⅝ cups)
  • 50 g Desiccated coconut (~¾ cup)


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you're using a fan or convection oven). Line an 8×10" tray with baking paper.

  2. Mix the soy milk with the apple cider vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes. This will act as your vegan buttermilk.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and caster sugar.

  4. Add the buttermilk to the bowl along with the oil and vanilla extract. Mix well until you have a smooth cake batter.

  5. Transfer the cake batter into your lined tin and spread it out evenly. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean.

  6. Let the cake cool in the tin for around 20 minutes, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking paper and leave the cake to cool completely.

  7. Once the cake is cool, spread over the strawberry jam then sprinkle over the desiccated coconut. Cut into 12 square slices and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Strawberry jam can be substituted for raspberry jam if preferred. 
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Jam and Coconut Sponge
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 270 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Sodium 38mg2%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 3g6%
* All values are an estimate only and will vary depending on the food brands used.
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Recipe Rating


Thursday 5th of May 2022

Ended up having to modify a lot as only had olive oil, baking powder and almond milk and ended up making cupcakes because I had no baking paper but still baked, looked and tasted amazing!! Great recipe :)


Friday 6th of May 2022

Thanks so much for your feedback Anna! Great to know it works with the substitutions :)

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