Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mad About Jaffa Cakes!

I don’t know where to buy Jaffa Cakes in Singapore, I’ve never seen any on the shelves of major British retailer Marks and Sparks over here (why?). But I love Jaffa Cakes, as appropriately befitting anyone who has spent some time living in the UK. To satisfy my cravings, I am utterly dependent upon the goodwill of others to buy some back when they visit the UK.
In this case, my very kind, understanding and lovely boss brought some back for me so that I can keep my productivity up at work (hah, hah). Here are some interesting Jaffa Cake-related facts and trivia:
They comprise 3 layers: a sponge base, an orange-flavoured jam in the middle, and a coating of plain (dark) chocolate.
They get their name from Jaffa oranges from Israel although it is doubtful if these oranges are now used for Jaffa Cakes.
They are officially classified as cakes, not biscuits. McVities the most well-known manufacturer of Jaffa Cakes went to court in 1991 to prove this point (read the hilarious writeup below from Wikipedia).

Cake or Biscuit?
Under UK law, no VAT is charged on biscuits and cakes — they are "zero rated". Chocolate covered biscuits, however, are subject to VAT at 17.5%. McVities classed its Jaffa Cakes as cakes, but in 1991, this was challenged by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and the case ended up before the courts. This may have been because Jaffa Cakes are about the same size and shape as some types of biscuit. A question that the court asked itself was "what criteria should be used to class something as a cake?"
McVities defended its classification of Jaffa Cakes as cakes. In doing so it produced a giant Jaffa Cake to illustrate that its Jaffa Cakes were simply miniature cakes.
McVities argued that a distinction between cakes and biscuits is, inter alia, 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, Mr Potter QC, included: name, ingredients, texture, size, packaging, marketing, presentation, appeal to children, and manufacturing process. Contrary to a commonly held belief, whether something is considered a 'luxury item' is not a test for VAT purposes.
Mr Potter ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake. McVities therefore won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes.

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