Is a Jaffa Cake a cake, or a biscuit?

Is a Jaffa Cake a cake, or a biscuit?

Is a Jaffa Cake a cake, or a biscuit?


The other day I was scrolling through Twitter as I do… And I came across a tweet that absolutely fried my brain so I had to ask my friends on Instagram – Is a Jaffa Cake a cake, or a biscuit?

As if the question wasn’t wild enough, the answers threw me. My 19K followers answered me quickly and had so many different views, opinions and reason as to why it is a cake, or why it’s a biscuit!

Check out some of the answers below and drop a comment with your opinion.

  • jaffa cakes or biscuit sammi swinton
  • jaffa cakes or biscuit sammi swinton

I was also given the information that the classification of a Jaffa Cake is very much based on VAT / TAX.

So even if public opinion gave a majority vote of it being a biscuit, it wouldn’t matter, legally it is a cake!


McVitie’s has been making Jaffa Cakes since 1927 and were challenged in 1991 by Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise for labelling their chocolate orange treats as ‘cakes’.

It was accepted under UK law that biscuits were a luxury item and the full VAT would be levied. But cakes, on the other hand, have been regarded as a staple food — so were zero-rated for the purposes of VAT.

Customs and Excise decided to rule Jaffa Cakes to be biscuits, partly covered in chocolate, and therefore standard-rate. But the cake manufacturers appealed against the decision and the matter went to court.

The arguments for Jaffa Cakes being a biscuit included: their size, as they were more like biscuits than cakes; packaging, as it was similar to biscuits; and marketing, as they were generally displayed for sale with biscuits rather than cakes. It was also put to the court that they were eaten as a snack, with the fingers, whereas a cake may be expected to be eaten with a fork.

But the key turning point was when McVitie’s QC highlighted how cakes harden when they go stale, biscuits go soggy. A Jaffa goes hard. The case was proven.

During the court battle between Mcvitie’s and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise, Mcvitie’s baked a giant Jaffa Cake to prove that Jaffa cakes were really cakes and not biscuits.

It was a long and costly dispute, but McVities finally tasted sweet success and Jaffa Cakes were finally recognised as chocolate covered cakes.

Now the £1.19billion Jaffa Cakes made every year are free of the consumer tax.

So, that’s settled that then – a Jaffa Cake is a cake!

jaffa cakes or biscuit sammi swinton

Stay safe and take care,

Sammi xx

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