Jaffa Cakes............

Okay…so the new open subject post for this week is… Jaffa cakes…are they cakes or biscuits?? A question that has confused man for years… (Sorry if you don’t know what a jaffa cake is my european friends but it’s like a orange jelly, sponge, cakey biscuit thing)… Arguments are required for your reason… Later Adrian

Cakes, it’s to do with the baking method - a woman told me so it must be true.

Well… Its a cake. Why?? because if you leave it lying out it goes hard like a cake would rather than soggy like a biscuit. this was actually proved by ernst and young who made a giant jaffa cake to test the very same question. but others may disagree… Kiran.

They are defiantly cakes re HM Customs & Excise v Burton Biscuits. In the UK there is 17.5% VAT on chocolate biscuits but 0% on cakes C&E took the biscuit company to court to get them to pay VAT (well to keep them paying VAT in this case). But the Judge in this case always had his Jaffa cakes with his afternoon tea and so this proved they must be cakes so Jaffa cakes have no VAT on them. Paul Baxter

I feel it’s time for a bit of devils advocate… I personally think they are biscuits because at home i put them in the biscuit tin, and not the cake tin. Also otherwise that means i’ve eaten 3 cakes today, and i’d prefer to have eaten three biscuits. Maybe a call to the customer care line is in order…

Where ever Akers keeps them they are biscuits it was McVities who went to court and proved it see VAT notice 701/14, October 1997 (http://www.hmce.gov.uk/forms/notices/701-14.htm): Cakes Cakes are also zero-rated, being specifically excluded from the definition of “confectionery” for VAT purposes. As well as the traditional sponges and fruit cakes, “cakes” include: meringues; slab gingerbread (gingerbread men are classed as biscuits); flapjacks - but not flapjack-type products containing cereals other than oats which are classed as confectionery; marshmallow teacakes consisting of a crumb, biscuit or cake base topped with a dome of marshmallow coated in either chocolate, sugar strands or coconut - but not “snowballs” without a crumb, biscuit or cake base which are classed as confectionery; “crunch cakes” consisting of corn flakes or other breakfast cereal products coated in chocolate or carob and pressed into flat cakes; caramel or “millionaire’s” shortcake consisting of a base of shortbread topped with a layer or caramel and (usually) chocolate or carob. (Shortbread itself is classed as biscuit, and is therefore standard-rated when partly or wholly chocolate-covered); lebkuchen; and jaffa cakes; and are zero-rated whether or not they are covered with chocolate.

Hmm… nice ‘official’ answer, but it works on the assumption that the law is right. I mean, if the law said biscuits and Delia Smith (for example) said cakes, I’d take her opinion.

Aaahh yes… but Delia Smith always has pots and pans that i could never afford. Also not sure what she’d be doing with jaffa cakes on her programme. She’s more a golden crunch kind of lady. I personally think that in the words of Mr Jamie Oliver, they are Pukka Tukka whether they’re ckes or biscuits… although he’d probably try and cook some lovely jubely jaffa cake stuffing with mint and lamb jiblets on a bed of couscous!! Pukka!!

The European Court of appeal also decided that it was a cake as well. They based their veiw on this:- A biscuit, when stale becomes soft; a cake, on the other hand, becomes hard. The Jaffa Cake undergoes the latter transformation, ergo is cake. Paul Baxter

Right, that’s the thing that the woman I mentioned before told me. My Baxter, do you mind me saying that I’m slightly worried by how much you know on this subject?

Kristian I am slightly worried about how much I know about the subject, but once you have had to work with VAT then everything becomes very silly. For example Biscuits are staple foods so do not attract VAT. Chocolate Biscuits are a luxury food so have VAT at 17.5%. A box of biscuits which are a mix of chocolate and plain may be zero rated as long as less than 15% of the biscuits are chocolate. But if more than 15% of the biscuits are chocolate then you must charge 17.5% VAT. Of course if you sell your biscuits in the course of catering then you must always charge 17.5% VAT on the biscuits whether they have chocolate on them or not (unless they are cold and are going to be eaten off the premises). As we have already discussed Jaffa cakes are not chocolate biscuits but cakes so do not have any VAT on them (unless sold in the course of catering and eat on the premises as Jaffa cakes are always sold cold of course). For anybody outside the uk and does not know what a jaffa cakes is should see http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/ Edited by - triff on 2002 May 15 18:38:06

After having read this debate I definitely vote for a separate UK forum, which others easily can avoid. How come you Brits are so engaged in cookies? Is it because of the well known low standard of English cooking (serve it hot and salty, so no one can tell the taste)? It couldn’t be triggered by the VAT dimension, could it? I thought we Europeans were pretty equal in our efforts, increasing employment by turning more and more people inte tax administrators. As a Swedish guy, I definitely reject to you Englishmen trying to take the lead. You got Svennis, isn’t that enough? Pelle

Pelle my good man… You have made a fundamental mistake… The jaffa cake is not a cookie, and in no means is it trying to be! And i would like you to remember that you have inflicted Ulrika Johnsson on us! Oh and i mustn’t forget to say that England will be beating your ass in the first game of the world cup. I commiserate you now. And i’ll have you know that there is definitely not a low standard of cooking in the UK. Have you not heard of Garry Rhodes, Ainsley (tongue like an alsation) Harriot, Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith, Antony Warrol Thompson the list is endless. We’re trying over here to inspire the good english public to put the salt down and move away from the pans of boiling water. But it will take time…

Pelle, I’m afraid the VAT dimension is unlikely to be an issue because myself and Akers reside on a tax evading offshore island. In fact we’re not really european in a poilitical sense.

“As we have already discussed Jaffa cakes are not chocolate biscuits but cakes so do not have any VAT on them (unless sold in the course of catering and eat on the premises as Jaffa cakes are always sold cold of course).” A colleague of mine read this over my shoulder and says that in fact Jaffa cakes are very nice microwaved to melt the jelly and then served with ice cream. I can’t comment personally on this although one Pancake Day I did make a pancake with After Eights, marshmallows and raspberry sauce which I then microwaved for a few seconds to melt it all together. That was very tasty. Cheers, John

John an ambulance is on the way fella… we are concerned for the condition of your heart…

I suspect a Navision User’s Cook Book (UK Edition) would make interesting reading… …Personally I prefer Nigel Slaters’ recipies. PS I think they are cakes, as they are of a more spongy (Like a cake) than crunchy nature(Like biscuits or cookies…) -------------------------------- Edward Bloomfield Navision Support Consultant Cambridge Online Systems Limited www.cambridgeonline.net

I hate to be annoying but i’m very confused now on the position of the Fig Roll when it comes to VAT. Is this a biscuit or a roll as the name suggests??

And what about those pink wafer things in the biscuit selection boxes??? Clearly they have very few biscuity qualities, and yet surely their inclusion in these ‘family biscuit packs’ settles the matter?

I would challenge the assertion that the nefarious pink wafer thingys are even a foodstuff, yet alone a biscuit. One could easly mistake them for packaging - no match for the great chocolate digestive biscuit with a cup of tea! -------------------------------- Edward Bloomfield Navision Support Consultant Cambridge Online Systems Limited www.cambridgeonline.net