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Is it a cake or a biscuit?


Is it a cake or is it a biscuit? You know what we’re talking about. The question has caused heated debates and arguments since the 90s: what is a Jaffa Cake?

Most agree that the chocolate, orange and sponge combination is a delicious one but few can come to such agreement as to what category the tasty treat falls under.

History of the debate

The question was first proposed in 1991 when a UK tax meant that chocolate-covered biscuits were charged, but not cakes. As you’d expect, with extra revenue up for grabs, McVitie’s has always categorised Jaffa Cakes as cakes.

HMRC wanted them re-categorised as biscuits and so, a legal case ensued. There is no strict definition of cake or biscuit that places the Jaffa Cake under either category so both corners put their cases forward.

Jaffa cakes are packaged like biscuits, advertised like biscuits and also, most commonly, sold in the biscuit aisle. But McVitie’s pointed out that the base of a Jaffa Cake was actually a cake sponge, not a biscuit. To show this, they baked a 12-inch chocolate orange delight and brought it into court to prove their point. Their final argument was that when biscuits go stale, they go soft. But when Jaffa Cakes stale they harden, just like a cake.

The case was fought in front of the adjudicator, Mr D C Potter, whose verdict was that a Jaffa Cake was a cake.

Ultimately, the Jaffa Cake has characteristics of each so we’re going to sit on the fence. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, we’re sure you’ve got an opinion! Contact us on Facebook to have your say.

There’s no question what some bakes are. At the High Street Bakery we’re Corby’s specialist cake makers. Whatever the occasion, if you want to celebrate with cake, we can bake for birthdays, anniversaries, christenings or weddings.