School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge

Saturday 13 January 2024

School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge

  



School Dinners.   Just those two words are enough to elicit either a sigh of longing or a groan of disgust depending on who you are speaking to.    I have spoken to people who loved them and I have spoken to people who loathed them. I suppose it all boils down to a matter of taste and experience.



The school lunch program has a long history, and is one which is still practiced in many countries today. It's main purpose was to ensure that all school children, (subsidized for the poor), received at least one nutritional hot meal a day.  In many places this was the only hot meal that some children would have. 





School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge 




When poorly done they could be characterized by overboiled cabbage, stringy meat and lumpy custard.  But, when well done, I am sure they were quite delicious.  


I, personally, never got to experience a hot school lunch.  My lunch was always brought to school in a brown paper bag by myself and consisted of a sandwich, a cookie and a piece of fruit. I would have loved to have been treated to the option of having a hot lunch.  

School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge 





In recent years, they have come under great scrutiny for containing far too many processed foods, high in salt and sugar, and criticized for being nutritionally unsound. Jamie Oliver launched a huge campaign in 2005 to try to change that and inspire schools to provide better meals for their children. 


At first he came under great criticism for doing so. People don't like change. Eventually he was able to change the minds of government, schools and students so that these days school dinners are back to being much more nutritional, as was the original intention when first instituted.



School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge






I think, in talking to people, the best part of school dinners, whether in the past or in the present, the puddings/desserts were always the most popular bits of the school lunch.  



Today I have recreated the traditional School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge served with lashings of custard.  I adapted the recipe from one I found on Claire Huston.  


I did cut the recipe in half and am sharing the half recipe. If you would like the full version, you will have to get it on her page.


Basically it is a delicious sponge cake, baked and then topped while warm with seedless jam and coconut.  It is fabulously tasty and very simple to make.


School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge 







WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE SCHOOL DINNER JAM & COCONUT SPONGE


Simple ingredients put together in the most delicious way.  You probably have everything in your kitchen right now to create this delicious dessert. Don't like strawberry or raspberry jam?  Use a jam you do like and enjoy in it's place!



  • 1/2 cup (85g) butter, at room temperature
  • Scant 1/2 cup (85g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup +1 tsp (85g) self rising flour, sifted (see note)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • seedless jam (strawberry or raspberry)
  • 1/3 cup (25g) desiccated coconut

School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge  




I find when making cakes that it is best if all of your ingredients are at room temperature unless otherwise specified.  Simply take them out of the fridge an hour or so before you plan to begin baking.


I have given a recipe to make your own self raising flour in the recipe notes. This is what I use as self raising flour is not readily available where I live now.   It works a charm. I make it up several cups at a time, and it always gets used up.


I like to use free range eggs if possible.  I abhor the caged hen industry.  That is a personal choice. You have to go according to the dictates of your own conscience and your budget.


I used unsweetened desiccated coconut. I figure there is enough sugar in the jam.  I also use plain salted butter.  




School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge




HOW TO MAKE SCHOOL DINNER JAM & COCONUT SPONGE


This is a simple plain cake, topped with jam and coconut. There is nothing complicated about it in the least. 



Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line with baking paper, leaving a bit of an overhang for lifting out.



Beat the butter until really light and pale in color. Beat in the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift and fold in the flour.



Spread the mixture into the prepared baking tin, smoothing it out.



Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until well risen, golden in color and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.






School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge 





Spread the jam over top of the cake and then leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Sprinkle on half of the coconut.



Leave to cool for another 15 minutes, then lift out of the tin and sprinkle evenly with the remaining coconut. Cut into squares to serve.



If desired serve warm with lashings of custard, pouring cream, or a scoop of ice cream on top!

Notes

Make Your Own Self Raising Flour:

You can make your own self raising flour by adding 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt to every cup of plain flour.




School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge






This was really delicious. Proof positive that it truly is the simple things in life which bring us the most pleasure!


I enjoyed mine with lashings of warm custard.  I used Bird's Custard powder to make mine.  You can purchase it via Amazon, or you can make it from scratch.  I have a recipe here on how to do that. 


It would also be delicious served with cream, or even ice cream. You decide!



School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge
 




Some other desserts which might have been served for school dinners that you also might enjoy are:



SPOTTED DICK - Naughty name aside what you have here is a delicious steamed pudding, generously studded with dry currants.  Usually served sliced and warm accompanied with warm custard sauce or pouring cream.  Its really delicious!



BAKED RICE PUDDINGThis is pure and simple comfort food. Either loathed or loved. Simple ingredients, put together in a simple way. Baked until the rice melts in the mouth.  I love the skin which forms on top. This is comforting by any definition. 




Yield: 8 squares
Author: Marie Rayner
School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge

School Dinner Jam & Coconut Sponge

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 35 MinInactive time: 25 MinTotal time: 1 H & 10 M
This is an old school dinner recipe that was a very popular dessert with the children. Serve warm with lashings of custard or cream!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (85g) butter, at room temperature
  • Scant 1/2 cup (85g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup +1 tsp (85g) self rising flour, sifted (see note)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • seedless jam (strawberry or raspberry)
  • 1/3 cup (25g) desiccated coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line with baking paper, leaving a bit of an overhang for lifting out.
  2. Beat the butter until really light and pale in color. Beat in the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift and fold in the flour.
  3. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking tin, smoothing it out.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until well risen, golden in color and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Spread the jam over top of the cake and then leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Sprinkle on half of the coconut.
  6. Leave to cool for another 15 minutes, then lift out of the tin and sprinkle evenly with the remaining coconut. Cut into squares to serve.
  7. If desired serve warm with lashings of custard, pouring cream, or a scoop of ice cream on top!

Notes

Make Your Own Self Raising Flour:

You can make your own self raising flour by adding 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt to every cup of plain flour.

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9 comments

  1. Reminds me of those wonderfully delicious Raspberry Zingers I buy. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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  2. It looks lovely. Great photos, and I love the custard "jug", I have never seen anything like it. I am printing this one out. Thank-you Marie.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. You are very welcome. The custard "jug" is a creamer that I got as part of a set when I lived in the U.K. Swedish design.

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  3. HiMarie is there enough batter for a round cake tin..and will it rise? Or just i make the recipe larger?Thank you:)

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    Replies
    1. It would probably fit very nicely in an 8-inch round tin! Let me know how you get on! It will rise for sure. xo

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    2. Not sure there is enough batter its a charlotte mold..Might try a different one but your topping:)Thank you!

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    3. Ahh, that makes sense. Using the right sized tin is very important for sure! xo

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    4. I used another batter first time with this tin..a bit brown but he likes anything:)

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