If you don’t remember the turbulent history of Jaffa Cakes and its fight for cake supremacy rather than the bottom of the biscuit tin, why not grab a glass of Jaffa Cake deliciousness – with 20% off! – and refresh your memory.
Jaffa Cake Gin was launched in March 2020, bringing a dose of orange chocolate deliciousness to a rather dark time – no wonder you lot went truly mad for it. Naturally, rum and vodka variations followed, then joined by a pre-bottled Jaffa Cake Negroni (because, as the original gin correctly claims, it makes one of the best darn Negronis you’ve ever seen). Oh, how far we’ve come, because now there’s even a tropical Passion Fruit edition!
But, while it may be hard to imagine a time before the humble Jaffa cake was cleverly crafted into the world of spirits, cast your mind back to the ‘90s. Specifically 1991, when Bryan Adams was blasting out of every radio station and the fate of Jaffa Cakes was up in the air. Was it a (VAT-able) biscuit, or a (non-VAT-able) cake?
Cake or biscuit: who didn’t have this debate growing up? I’m pretty sure in the school playground I was adamant it was a cake, but I never actually checked out the HMRC website so that I could defeat my adversaries once and for all. Which is probably a good thing – that’s certainly not how to make friends and influence people.
Here’s a distilled version of its history. Since VAT was introduced in 1973, Customs and Excise had accepted that Jaffa Cakes were cakes. But a review in 1991 threw this into question, and the department reversed this view, meaning McVitie’s had to defend this categorisation in a VAT tribunal. Part of McVities’ tactics was to bake a giant Jaffa Cake and bring it to court to illustrate its point. Yes, really. (Spoiler, it actually worked!)
There really were logical sides to both arguments, however. McVities sold Jaffa Cakes with other biscuits, their size is considerably more biscuit-like, as is their packaging. But when stale, it goes hard like a cake (rather than soft like a biscuit), it cannot be snapped like a biscuit, and its aerated sponge mixture is, obviously, cake-like. It’s the duck-billed platypus of baked goods!
The court ruled in favour of Jaffa Cakes, confirming that in the eyes of the law, they are indeed a cake. But has that stopped the debate from raging on? Not quite. Luckily none of this much matters when you’re drinking them distilled in a delicious gin, vodka, rum, or even a pre-bottled Negroni! But we’re embracing it, and rather than taking sides, taking 20% off the core range as an homage to the VAT! So whether you think it’s a biscuit or a cake, you can still enjoy the VAT-equivalent knocked off the price tag.
Honestly, we think there should be a new debate – which side of the Jaffa Cake is the top and which is the bottom? We discovered some blood-curdling information during our research that the chocolate side is apparently the bottom. What is this madness?! Perhaps the cake/biscuit debacle is purely a distraction from the real issue…