Jaffa Cakes: Legendary Biscuit-Sized Cakes Own ALL!

An assortment of Jaffa Cakes
Jaffa Cakes!

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes are as legendary as time. All you need to do is utter the foodstuff to anyone in England and they’ll drop to their knees and begin a pious chant.

Since the 1920s these things have brightened many a dismal, futile existence with their heady mix of jam and sponge and OMG we want to eat some right now!

Let’s explore this topic whilst we chew on the things, spitting sponge everywhere and making fools of ourselves.

What Are Jaffa Cakes?

They’re like biscuits, but with a soft Genoise sponge based with some orange-flavoured set jam in the middle that’s topped off by dark chocolate.

They’re circular and 2 1/8 inches (54mm) in diameter and consist of those three layers.

You can buy Jaffa Cakes from pretty much any store in England, usually in a pack of 10 for a few quid.

They’re a very popular and iconic snack here and they’re actually one of the healthier snacks you can consume. Each cake is only 46 calories.

However, as they’re rather moreish it’s very easy to consume 50 of the things without so much as batting an eyelid. And that’s 2,300 calories. And that ain’t so good.

But there’s no denying their legendary status here! Right up there with mince pies, trifle, and other such foodstuffs.

And if you ever want to make friends quick in the UK? Just offer them some Jaffa Cakes!

What’s the History of Jaffa Cakes?

First introduced in 1927 by the McVitie’s brand, with the name coming from the orange flavouring of Jaffa Oranges.

We didn’t know this before researching the cakes, but they’re produced entirely at McVitie’s factory in Stockport. And that’s just down the road from where we live in Manchester city centre.

All these years… and we had no idea! Shameful.

The factory producing the things is enormous, taking up over 1.5 miles and stretching from Stockport into Manchester.

And to ensure those Jaffa Cakes reach starving citizens, the factory runs a smart 24/7 shift. Good! Because without these snacks, there is nothing but death.

So you can see there the production of these things is vast. That’s just how popular the little delights are in the UK.

If they weren’t on supermarket shelves, there’d be bedlam and riots.

Jaffa Cakes: Are They Cakes or Biscuits?

The intense debate over Jaffa Cakes being cakes or biscuits was legally confirmed in a 1991 court case.

UK consumer champions Which documented:

“[Jaffa Cakes] went all the way to a tribunal. This case hinged on the disparity between the treatment of cakes and luxury biscuits under VAT rules; while cakes are exempt from the tax, luxury biscuits are subject to VAT at the standard rate.

HMRC argued that Jaffa Cakes were chocolate-covered biscuits, not cakes. Their size and shape, and the fact that consumers often ate Jaffa Cakes in place of biscuits, were used to justify the imposition of VAT on the product.

However, McVitie’s, the makers of Jaffa Cakes, insisted that they were small cakes – and, according to rumour, even produced a giant Jaffa Cake in court to help illustrate this point.”

The tribunal ruled for McVitie’s and, at least legally, over the last 30 years we’ve all had closure on whether or not to class these spongey delights as cakes.

This also means the foodstuff isn’t subject to VAT, which its biscuit status means it would have slammed on it. Phew, eh?

It’s one of those profound questions that plagues the life of British people. Kind of like with that 1990 Toys “R” Us advert about Jeffrey, but with a proper outcome.

What About That Stupid Jaffa Cakes Advert From 1999?

In 1999, the above advert plagued UK television channels. It forced many an innocent and innocuous individual into fits of depravity.

It’s now quite legendary and, as many people have admitted in comments sections online, they can’t eat Jaffa Cakes without replicating the routine of: “Full Moon, half Moon, total eclipse!”

Now, we really tried very hard to find the name of the actress here. Alas, we couldn’t.

Despite her cult status as a hero of the people, it’ll just have to remain one of those great mysteries in life. A shame!

How to Make Jaffa Cakes

Barry Lewis may not be as smoking hot as Jamie Oliver (*swoon*), but here’s still here to teach you some basic cooking skills.

If you want to make your own, these are the ingredients you’ll need:

Glucose-Fructose Syrup,
Dark chocolate,
2 whole eggs,
Concentrated Orange Juice.

And, yeah, the usual batch of an oven, some arms, and a working human brain so you’re able to process everything.

Making the World’s Largest Jaffa Cake

The Guinness Book of Record has the biggest Jaffa Cake in history down as 124 cm, totally some 4.8 feet.

This was part of a BBC Radio 4 ordeal, hosted by Frances Quinn along with Hambleton Bakery back in February 2017.

Congratulations to all involved. It’s glorious to see such an awesome achievement.


  1. These look delicious. Wouldn’t, if they are sponge cake, be a cake but because they look like a cookie 🍪 we yanks call them cookies because a biscuit is something completely different. Couldn’t find anything from Jamie huh? Heavy sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We don’t seem to have Jaffa cakes here in NZ, but we do have ‘Jaffas’, a spherical confectionery with hard orange-flavoured candy shell and chocolate inside, which are exceptionally good for rolling down cinema floors in an annoying fashion.


  3. They look good but here in the U.S. they’re neither biscuit nor cake. Some of the characteristics remind me of our Oreo—-a totally different treat but also easy to over consume by telling yourself one more wont hurt. Oreo commercials also featured people describing the way in which they are best consumed and of course everyone had to try it. I’ll try to pick up some Jaffa Cakes if I’m ever in the U.K. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So what you’re saying is Oreo STOLE everything great about Jaffa Cakes!!! Outrage!! But yes, we do have Oreo here but it does seem more of a US thing. I can recommend Jaffa Cakes as they’re a bit healthier than Oreos… ish. Some athletes eat them before events because of the energy boosts. If you have any marathons coming up, there’s a tip.

      But you should be able to get Jaffa Cakes in the US! Have a gander on Amazon. Seriously, they are tasty. And you can wow friends with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never had these, but I can imagine how they taste. I should look for them in the international aisle.

    Didn’t know there was a court case associated with these as well. It sounds like the court came to the right decision. Speaking of naming conventions — since biscuits over there are called cookies here, what do you call our biscuits, the fluffy rolls we’ve got? Is there another name for those in the UK?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They’re deffo on Amazon.com with a cheap order, so I can recommend them.

      My friend in Philadelphia once mailed some Twinkies over to me. That was when you couldn’t get them in England, but they’re on the international aisle now. They’re cakes, I believe.

      Biscuits/cakes… sure gets confusing! I’d say Jaffa Cakes definitely are cakes. As for cookies… cookies are cookies. Not sure how America classifies are range of biscuits, but there’s definite potential to have a war there if the nations disagree enough. Bring it on!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, Twinkies are definitely cakes, no doubt. And if I don’t see those Jaffa cakes in the store here, I’ll check out Amazon, thanks! Shouldn’t be any trouble shipping chocolate in our cold weather now.

        The whole biscuit thing might be complicated further by a North/South divide here. The American side of my family is largely from the South, and so I grew up thinking of southern biscuits, the kind that KFC purportedly sell (though of course you have to have them homemade if possible.) There are some different food concept in the North, especially when it comes to cornbread (which they make sweet, which is a damn travesty in my opinion.) Once we sort out our differences here, we can do battle with you guys over it!

        Liked by 2 people

        • England is waaaay smaller than the US, but we have a North/South divide as well that gets pretty acrimonious a lot of the time. Often about condiments or dunking biscuits in tea.

          Cornbread isn’t a think here really. And slushies always confused me here, it’s just not much of a big thing in England.

          But I can see honour in going into battle over Jaffa Cakes. There’s nobility in that. Bring it!

          Liked by 2 people

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