Jaffa Cakes

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Jaffa Cakes
Jaffa cake.png
A Jaffa Cake cut in half
Type Snack food
Place of origin
United Kingdom
Creator(s) McVitie and Price
Main ingredients
Sponge cake, orange-flavoured jam/jelly, chocolate
Cookbook:Jaffa Cakes  Jaffa Cakes

Jaffa Cakes are a biscuit-sized cake introduced by McVitie and Price in 1927 and named after Jaffa oranges. The most common form of Jaffa Cakes are circular, 2 12 inches (64 mm) in diameter and have three layers: a Genoise sponge base, a layer of orange flavoured jelly and a coating of chocolate.[1] Jaffa Cakes are also available as bars or in small packs, and in larger and smaller sizes.[2] The original Jaffa Cakes come in packs of 12, 24 or 36.[3]

McVitie's did not trademark the name "Jaffa Cakes", and other biscuit manufacturers and supermarkets have made similar products under the same name.[4]


McVitie's entire line of Jaffa Cakes are produced in the United Kingdom at the McVitie's factory in Manchester/Stockport.[5] The Jaffa Cake production area covers an acre (4,000 m2) and includes a production line over a mile (1.6 km) long which sits on the Stockport side of the site's boundary with Manchester.[4] Because of the nature of the product – having multiple components of cake, chocolate covering and jam – special hardware accelerators were devised to allow rapid computer inspection of 20 products per second, taking place under four symmetrically placed lights.[6]

Flavour variants

Although Jaffa Cakes are usually orange flavour, limited edition flavours have been available, such as lemon-and-lime,[7] strawberry[8] and blackcurrant.[9]

Categorisation as cake or biscuit for VAT

In the United Kingdom, value added tax is payable on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes.[10] McVities defended its classification of Jaffa Cakes as cakes at a VAT tribunal in 1991, against the ruling that Jaffa Cakes were biscuits due to their size and shape, and the fact that they were often eaten in place of biscuits.[11] McVities insisted that the product was a cake, and according to rumour produced a giant Jaffa Cake in court to illustrate its point.[11] After assessing the product on eleven criteria, including "texture", "attractiveness to children" and "consistency when stale",[12] the court found in favour of McVities, meaning that VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes in the United Kingdom.[10][13]


  1. ^ "Labelling rules". Food Standards Agency. 2008-04-09. 
  2. ^ "Jaffa Cake's lemon squeezy bar". Thegrocer.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  3. ^ "Jaffa Cakes, A Cake Or Buscuit?". ColdRicePudding. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  4. ^ a b Harry Wallop (6 May 2012). "Jaffa Cakes - definitely not biscuits - prepare to take on imitators". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "The factory where life is sweet". Manchester Evening News. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Machine Vision for the Inspection of Natural Products – Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  7. ^ "McVitie's Jaffa Cakes Lemon and Lime". Snackspot.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  8. ^ "McVitie’s launches limited edition Strawberry-flavoured Jaffa Cakes". Talkingretail.com. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  9. ^ "Jaffa Cakeover". The Daily Record. 2005-12-12. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  10. ^ a b Lee, Natalie (2011). Revenue Law Principles and Practice. A&C Black. p. 1009. ISBN 9781847667663. 
  11. ^ a b "What you do – and don't – pay VAT on". Which? Magazine. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "United Kingdom VAT & Duties Tribunals Decisions – Torq Ltd v Revenue and Customs [2005]". British and Irish Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "The borderline between cakes and biscuits". Retrieved 2013-04-28.