Jaffa Cakes

Jaffa Cakes
A Jaffa Cake cut in half

Jaffa Cakes are a snack in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Whether a Jaffa Cake is a cake or a biscuit is debated. The product was introduced by McVitie and Price in 1927 and were named after Jaffa oranges, sweet oranges native to Jaffa.


Product description

Jaffa Cakes are circular, 2½ inches (54 mm) in diameter and have three layers: a sponge base, a layer of orange flavoured jelly and a coating of chocolate.[1][2] Jaffa Cakes are also available as bars or in small packs, suitable for lunchboxes.[3] The original Jaffa Cakes come in packs of 12, 24 or 36.[4]

Flavour variants

Although Jaffa Cakes are usually orange flavour, limited edition flavours have been available, such as lemon-lime,[5] strawberry[6] and blackcurrant.[7]

Cake or biscuit?

In the UK, value added tax is payable on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes. McVities defended its classification of Jaffa Cakes as cakes in court, producing a 12" (30 cm) Jaffa Cake to illustrate that its Jaffa Cakes were simply miniature cakes. McVities argued that a distinction between cakes and biscuits is, among other things, that biscuits would normally be expected to go soft when stale, whereas cakes would normally be expected to go hard. It was demonstrated to the Tribunal that Jaffa Cakes become hard when stale. Other factors taken into account by the Chairman, Potter QC, included the name, ingredients, texture, size, packaging, marketing, presentation, appeal to children, and manufacturing process. Potter ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake. McVities therefore won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes in the UK.[8]

However, in 1999, the Sun newspaper published a poll which suggested that the majority of its readers thought of the Jaffa Cake as a biscuit, not cake.[9]

Serbian Jaffa Cakes

A company from Crvenka, Serbia makes a nearly identical product, also called Jaffa Cakes.[10] These cakes are available in orange, lemon-lime and cherry flavours. They are also sold in Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia and Albania.


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