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Homemade Jaffa cakes on a cooling rack

Jaffa Cakes - or biscuits?

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It's an age-old question – is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit? Read our take on the debate.

"They're not biscuits, they're cakes." That is what we're told, even if our senses scream biscuits.


Jaffa Cakes are designated cake produce by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. There have been murmurings of a serious cake vs. biscuit dispute in the Houses of Parliament involving VAT arguments, biscuit moisture versus cake moisture ratios...

According to the crumbtastic A nice cup of tea and a sit down website, Jaffa cakes are indeed cakes, "Yes the VAT man wanted it to be a biscuit. That way it would fall by virtue of its chocolate coat into a category of products liable to VAT at the standard rate, i.e. luxury biscuits. As a cake however it is zero rated for VAT, no matter how luxuriant, much to the VAT man's continuing annoyance."

And long may the VAT man remain annoyed. Jaffa Cakes are a unique hybrid. They straddle the two worlds of moist cake produce and crunchy biscuits in a perfect chocolatey sealed orange sponge. And don't thnk we're in trivial territory here. After five years debate, the Jaffa Cake entered the Oxford English Dictionary described as, "a sponge biscuit with an orange-flavoured jelly filling and chocolate topping"... The OED controversially eschewed the biscuit word only to use the cake alternative with confidence.

Some recruitment agencies quiz potential candidates about their biscuit to cake knowhow. Knowing your UK biscuit law could be the difference between gainful employment and the dole queue.


However, for all the arguments either side of the biscuit versus cake divide one thing remains, they taste tremendous. They are unparalleled in the taste stakes and A nice cup of tea a sit down's wifey is quite righty, "I know they sell them along with the biscuits, in packs just like biscuits, and McVities is a brand of United Biscuits (who also make cakes) but it's still a small cake... despite all of this Wifey still thinks they are biscuits." And so do I. Where do you stand on the great 'cake or biscuit' debate?


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