Jaffa "Cakes" & Biscuit Taxonomy

Are Jaffa Cakes Biscuits or Cakes?

  • Biscuits

    Votes: 3 23.1%
  • Cakes

    Votes: 5 38.5%
  • Both

    Votes: 4 30.8%
  • Neither

    Votes: 1 7.7%

  • Total voters
    13

PlagueRider

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#31
Am I the only one here that likes to refridgerate his biscuits for that added 'crunch'?
 
A

Anonymous

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#32
My mum asked me, a while back, to find out about why she was unable to buy Mr.Kipling's Apple Pies Winter Munch (or somesuch - I made that up, but it was 'apples and pies and something - might have been 'Bramley' pies) 'cos she couldn't find them in the shops anymore or use a computer.

I got in touch with Mr.Kipling and he (they) said that they were discontinued and that I should keep a look out for them in the shops 'cos he (they) sometimes bring stuff back as special editions! And he (they) said my mum wasn't going mad. Which is news to me!

Carry on.

EDIT - one phone call later - "Bramley Apple Pies"! Though they do now do a version with blackcurrents!
 

rynner2

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#33
Custard cream voted Britain's favourite biscuit
Last Updated: 7:52am BST 28/08/2007

The humble custard cream has topped a poll to discover the nation's favourite biscuit.

Sweet-toothed Britons placed it above the bourbon and shortbread when asked to name their tea-time treat of choice.

More than nine out of 10 people plumped for the elaborately designed, sandwich style snack - taking 93 per cent of the overall vote.

Next in line when it comes to the nation's biscuit tastes is the bourbon with just over two per cent of the popular vote.

Further down the biscuit barrel is the cookie and ginger biscuit, garnering the support of just 1.5 per cent and 1.19 per cent respondents.

The digestive received less than one per cent of the vote. More than 7,000 took part in the online poll organised by wheat and gluten free product makers Trufree.

A spokesperson for the firm, said: "We were really surprised at how popular the custard cream is. Despite there being so much to choose from on the market it seems people still plump for a no-nonsense nibble."

http://tinyurl.com/yombwk
 

rynner2

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#35
However, this taxonomy thing is serious business:

Crumbs . . . biscuit mistake may cost taxman millions
Frances Gibb, Legal Editor

Any child can tell a chocolate teacake from a chocolate biscuit, but tax officials who failed to spot the difference may have landed the Treasury with a £3.5 million bill.

In what was a crucial and potentially costly error, tax officials had insisted that a Marks & Spencer chocolate teacake was really a biscuit. Chocolate biscuits are subject to standard-rate VAT, whereas chocolate cakes are zero-rated.

Twenty years later, Customs and Excise acknowledged the mistake and said that teacakes were really chocolate cakes after all.

By the time the error was corrected, M&S had handed over £3.5 million in wrongly paid VAT on its teacake sales and demanded the money back. But the Commissioners of Customs and Excise offered only £350,000 on the grounds that 90 per cent of the VAT had been passed on to M&S customers: paying back the total sum would therefore mean “unjust enrichment” for the store chain. In addition, the commissioners invoked a three-year limit on claims for repayment – and ended up handing back only £88,440. Since then a separate court case has rejected such time limits as a breach of EU law, but Customs still refused to refund more than 10 per cent of the overpaid VAT.

Twelve years after M&S applied for its VAT back, Juliane Kokott, Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice, said that traders were entitled to the correct application of national VAT rules, and had a right to a refund of any VAT wrongly charged.

Yesterday’s legal “opinion” will now be considered by the full European Court of Justice before a final verdict is announced early next year. If the judges agree with the Advocate-Gener-al, which they do in about 80 per cent of cases, Revenue & Customs, as the organisation responsible is now called, will have to refund the full amount of £3.5 million.

VAT was introduced in 1973. “Chocolate-covered products” were all classed as biscuits and not as cakes – even chocolate teacakes. It was not until September 1994 that Customs acknowledged the error, despite another European case that had already ruled that Jaffa Cakes were cakes and not, as they had been classified, biscuits.

In 1995 M&S sought its VAT money back and went to the Court of Appeal when it was offered a fraction of the sum. The Court of Appeal backed Customs, so M&S went to the House of Lords, which asked the Court of Justice for a verdict on whether traders could seek complete refunds of “unduly paid” VAT.

The Advocate-General said that EU rules did not in principle prevent Customs from holding back repayments if a full refund would mean “unjust enrichment” for a trader. But because this clause was applied differently to traders owing the Treasury money than to people owed money – contrary to EU rules on equal treatment – it could not be invoked in the case of M&S.

The inequality has since been removed but was in force at the time of the teacake saga.

The Advocate-General said yesterday: “In general, the supply of food is zero-rated for VAT in the UK. Confectionery is an exception to such favourable tax treatment.

“There is an exception to that exception for cakes and biscuits, which are subject to the zero rate of tax applying to food. Biscuits wholly or partly covered with chocolate, however, are regarded as confectionery and taxed accordingly at the full rate.”


Best served with tea

—Although M&S teacakes have a chocolate covering and a creamy marshmallow filling, the traditional British teacake is usually a light, sweet, bun containing dried fruits such as currants or sultanas

—Last year, Bristol councillors were so fed up with the city’s seagull population that they gave up biscuits at meetings and spent the £25,000 on tackling the problem

—In Kent, the teacake is known as a “huffkin”, which is often flavoured with hops, especially at the time of harvesting hops in September

—Scientists from the University of Bristol developed a formula to perfect the art of dunking. After two months, the team calculated that up to 10 times more flavour is released by dunking than if the biscuit is dry

—The researchers designed a prototype dunking holder to help the less dextrous with their technique

—Nine out of ten people in a poll of 7,000 recently named the custard cream as their favourite biscuit

—The Biscuit Appreciation Society has a membership of about 3,000,000. The society’s website admits that the number who have joined up far exceeds its initial expectations by about 2,999,998

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/b ... 048622.ece
 

rynner2

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#36
Teacake set to cost taxman £3.5m

Chocolate teacakes were wrongly classed as a biscuit for two decades
The UK Treasury is facing a £3.5m bill, because of VAT wrongly imposed on a Marks and Spencer teacake, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.

Customers paid VAT for 20 years before the authorities accepted the product was a cake, which does not command VAT.

The UK argued that paying back the total sum would "unjustly enrich" M&S as customers had paid the money.

The ECJ ruled that, in principle, VAT had to be repaid in full, but left the final decision to the British courts.

That decision will be taken by the House of Lords and HM Revenue and Customs said it was too early to make a comment.

"This is a very complex judgment on which it would be premature to make any comment until the House of Lords has handed down its judgment," Revenue and Customs said in a statement.

Marks and Spencer welcomed the ruling.

"We are pleased with the outcome which endorses our position.

"We're optimistic that the House of Lords will now find in our favour and hope that this will conclude the matter and draw a line under this protracted litigation," a spokeswoman said.

Cake or biscuit

UK tax officials acknowledged that chocolate teacakes had been wrongly classed as biscuits in 1994, prompting M&S to launch a legal battle to have the wrongly-paid VAT returned.

Under UK tax rules, most traditional bakery products such as bread, cakes, flapjacks and Jaffa Cakes are free of VAT, but the tax is payable on cereal bars, shortbread and partly-coated or wholly-coated biscuits.

The complexity of the legal battle surrounds the difference made by the tax authorities between companies classed until 2005 as repayment and payment traders.

While M&S was classed as a payment trader which owed VAT to the government at the end of a financial quarter, it argues that the main supermarkets, which were owed VAT by the authorities, were treated differently on the issue of chocolate teacakes.

It complains that HM Revenue and Customs handed supermarkets back the VAT wrongly paid by customers on chocolate teacakes, while refusing to do the same for Marks and Spencer.

Unjust enrichment

Customs officials point to a ruling by the VAT and Duties Tribunal which said that M&S would not have made much more profit on the teacakes if VAT had been removed.

In the tribunal's opinion, compensation of more than 10% (£350,000) would have amounted to unjust enrichment of the company.

But the European Court of Justice says the principle of "fiscal neutrality" means that tax authorities cannot make a distinction between different companies.

It says it is up to the House of Lords to decide whether such a distinction was made.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7340101.stm
 

sidhegyrl

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#37
I've never had a jaffa cake, nor teacakes and bourbon biscuits. We have a store chain here in the states that sells (somewhat limited) international foods. I've of course tried shortbread and love McVities HobNobs.

I've visited the UK but never had the opp to attend tea.

So now my goal is to find Jaffa cakes. Is drinking tea a requirement (I only like it iced :tongue: *ducking as the Brits throw sugarlumps and decorative teapots in my direction, shouting "Sacrilege!"*)?

So, when bf and I travel to the Uk summer of 09, where's the best place to have tea?

Personally, I find it fortean that Brits call cookies 'biscuits.' What d'ya call what we call biscuits (rounds bready things oft made with buttermilk, but NOT considered buns or rolls)? A scone is close, I suppose...
 

rynner2

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#38
sidhegyrl said:
I've visited the UK but never had the opp to attend tea.
....
Personally, I find it fortean that Brits call cookies 'biscuits.' What d'ya call what we call biscuits (rounds bready things oft made with buttermilk, but NOT considered buns or rolls)? A scone is close, I suppose...
Probably very few of us Brits have ever 'attended' tea either! (If by 'tea' you mean the sort of formal afternoon snack that we read about in P.G.Wodehouse - tea nowadays (if taken at all) is much less formal.)

And in any case, you can buy all the various cakes and biscuits in the supermarket nowadays, and scoff them when you like! :D

Just to confuse the issue a little further, today I bought (in the supermarket!) some Scottish Rough Oatcakes, which I would describe as biscuits, not cakes. Softer than a cracker, but still good with cheese. 8)
 

TheQuixote

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#39
rynner said:
Just to confuse the issue a little further, today I bought (in the supermarket!) some Scottish Rough Oatcakes, which I would describe as biscuits, not cakes. Softer than a cracker, but still good with cheese. 8)
And then you have the Staffordshire Oatcake which is more like a pancake than a cracker!

sidhegyrl - it depends on where you are visiting in the UK. As Rynner points out, no one really does 'high tea'* nowadays. I can only remember a few occasions as a child where the cake stand, best linen and china teapot with the Royal Albert 'Old Country Rose' pattern was pulled out - usually when an elderly relative was attending and we also had to be on our best behaviour or else!

If you're in London, you could try either the Ritz, Claridges, Harvey Nicholls and also Bettys Tea Rooms in Yorkshire still offer a slice of (pricey) nostalgia but you'll find in most towns, coffee shops are the norm rather than tea rooms. There seems to be a Costas or Starbucks in practically every high street :(


* fancy cakes, cucumber finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off served around 4pm etc.
 

rynner2

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#40
From the Claridge's link
The introduction of afternoon tea, a quintessentially English tradition, is usually credited to Anna, Seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the early 19th century.

The Duchess grew hungry between an early lunch and a late dinner served in her boudoir in the mid-afternoon.
I think they missed out at least a line of text there! :D
 

sidhegyrl

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#41
rynner said:
I think they missed out at least a line of text there!
:rofl:

I found Jaffas! :blissed:

Definitely cake. Delicious, heavenly, very very naughty cake.

Starbucks? At least the bf will be happy then.
 

rynner2

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#42
This is related - 'Pringles are more like a cake or a biscuit'

Pringles 'are not potato crisps'

Pringles, the popular snack food in a tube, are not potato crisps, a High Court judge has ruled.

Their packaging, "unnatural shape" and the fact that the potato content is less than 50% helped Mr Justice Warren make his crunch decision.

As a result, Pringles, in all flavours are free from Value Added Tax (VAT).

Manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G) is likely to save millions of pounds as a result of the decision - with customers also likely to pay less.

Spud impact

P&G had gone to court to challenge a VAT and Duties Tribunal decision that the Pringle was subject to the standard 17.5% rate of VAT because it was it was "a potato crisp product", which are, unlike most food, subject to the tax.

But the manufacturer had insisted that their best-selling product was not similar to potato crisps, because of their "mouth melt" taste, "uniform colour" and "regular shape" which "is not found in nature".

It also argued that potato crisps - unlike Pringles - did not contain non-potato flours, and were not packaged in tubes.

Pringles are more like a cake or a biscuit, it claimed, because they are manufactured from dough.

Mr Justice Warren ruled that Pringles were not "made from the potato" - as set out in the definition laid down by the 1994 VAT Act.

To be subject to VAT, a product "must be wholly, or substantially wholly, made from the potato".

But he said that Pringles did not meet these criteria - being made from potato flour, corn flour, wheat starch and rice flour together with fat and emulsifier, salt and seasoning, with a potato content of about 42%.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7490346.stm
 

rynner2

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#43
Jaffa Cakes - definitely not biscuits - prepare to take on imitators
McVitie's produces 2,000 Jaffa Cakes a minute and has plans to fight off imitators.
By Harry Wallop, Retail Editor
9:00PM BST 06 May 2012

When pastygate blew up in George Osborne's face six weeks ago, there were some wry smiles in Stockport. Because this is the home of the Jaffa Cake, part chocolatey-orange treat, part tax conundrum.

All 1.19bn of these funny little biscuits made every year by McVitie's are produced in its North-West factory.
But, of course, they are not biscuits. They are cakes. They were deemed to be so 20 years ago by a judge after a long-running and costly dispute over the VAT status of these treats.

In the eyes of the taxman, a cake is a staple food and, accordingly, zero-rated for the purposes of VAT. A chocolate-covered biscuit, however, is a whole other matter – a thing of unspeakable decadence, a luxury on which the full 20pc rate of VAT is levied.

McVitie's was determined to prove it should be free of the consumer tax. The key turning point was when its QC highlighted how cakes harden when they go stale, biscuits go soggy. A Jaffa goes hard. Case proved.

I've come up to the red-brick, chimney-stacked factory (just how they look in children's picture books), to see for myself how this chocolate-covered, jam-filled, spongy disc has ended up becoming Britain's most popular "product in the biscuit category" as well as the original VAT-fighter.

The factory, which covers more than 10 acres, produces 2,000 Jaffa Cakes a minute and, as hardly any are exported, that works out at 46 for every household in the country a year. In sales terms, it is Britain's biggest biscuit. Sorry, cake.

Sales have been ticking along nicely during the consumer downturn, beating the 3pc growth in the sweet biscuit market.

But there is a threat. McVitie's doesn't own the rights to the Jaffa Cake name. Though it has been making the things for 85 years, it failed to register the name as a trademark. :shock:

This has meant that a number of supermarkets have started to manufacture their own-brand Jaffa Cakes – especially so in recent months as competition has hotted up in the grocery market, and the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury's have re-launched their own-brand products. Aldi, in particular, has turned up the heat by selling 24 Jaffa Cakes for 89p, compared with a recommended retail price of £2.19 for the McVitie's Jaffas.

Philippa Tilley, brand manager for Jaffa, is confident her company can gain share, not least with the possible launch of a milk chocolate cake: "It's quite a feel-good brand and a light-hearted brand. It cheers you up in a way that a retailer-brand wouldn't."

And, of course, the fact it is free of VAT means it can charge shoppers 20pc less than if it was just a jam-filled, chocolate-covered biscuit. This has been a crucial help during a time when food ingredient inflation has surged ahead, with flour and sugar both increasing by about 30pc.

Two years ago McVitie's was forced to up its prices and a 24-pack of Jaffas broke through the £2 barrier.
Brian Small, the manufacturing manager, says: "Well, it [the lack of VAT] is just a fact of life for us. But it does benefit us in terms of the margins we can charge."
But even my children can tell it's a biscuit. You eat it with a cup of tea, you serve it alongside a bourbon or custard cream, they live in the biscuit barrel, not the cake tin.
"You surely aren't cruel enough to do that," he shoots back. "It'll make all your other biscuits soggy." Really? "Yes, it's the high moisture content in a Jaffa Cake." ;)

Time to investigate. The factory looks as if it has been designed by Professor Heinz Wolff, the slightly barmy scientist who used to present The Great Egg Race. Each biscuit goes on a journey of nearly a mile along endless twisty, turny conveyor belts which rise up to the top of the building and down again.

It never stops moving and takes 18 minutes for a Jaffa to be created from a dollop of dough pumped on to a vast, moving baking sheet, through a 100 yard-long oven, out the other side (under a laser beam to ensure it is the right size), cooled, before a little dollop of clear orange jam is placed on top, then dipped (upside down) in liquid chocolate, cooled once again, before it is sorted, packed, wrapped and ready for delivery.

The factory is strangely empty. The process is almost entirely mechanised, with just the odd quality-control worker standing by the edge of the moving line.
The joy is being able to pick, at any time, a half-ready Jaffa.
Mr Small says: "We positively encourage [the workers] to eat as many as they want. It's the best quality control we have. Those that work on the lines have very acute palettes."

A warm Jaffa, with melted chocolate on top, is a thing of wonder – intensely citrusey and far sweeter than when cooled down. Also, the sponge base has a lovely crispy edge, which sadly disappears in the packaging, as the moisture of the jam seeps in.

Sounds the sort of thing a biscuit would do. :twisted:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... ators.html
 

rynner2

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#44
Can you eat a cake on the tube?
As Tunnock's Snowballs are legally defined as cakes, we put the tribunal’s ruling to the taste test
By Olivia Goldhill
8:00AM BST 28 Jun 2014

After a heated legal battle, the First-Tier Tax Tribunal ruled that Tunnock's Snowballs should be classed as cakes, as most people enjoy them alongside a beverage, perhaps while using a plate and napkin, while seated.

The chocolate-covered marshmallow is a “confection to be savoured but not whilst walking around or, for example, in the street,” said Judge Anne Scott. We applied her judgment to a variety of the best-loved desserts in a (somewhat unscientific) test to see if cakes really deserve their title.

Snowballs
The tube: When I first bite into the Snowball on the tube, I can’t help but question the wisdom of Judge Scott and Judge Sheppard. Easily portable and absolutely delicious, these chocolate-covered marshmallows, sprinkled with dried coconut, are the perfect bite-sized snack to enjoy on the go.

The escalator: But as I leave the tube for a crowded platform, the heat melts the chocolate and the marshmallow sinks into goo in my hands. By the time I reach the escalator, the Snowball has spread out into a runny, unmanageable mess, much like a real snowball sitting in the sun. :shock:

Walking: It’s difficult to know what to do with the packaging as I walk through Victoria station, flecks of coconut glued to my hands by melted chocolate. The law is just. Tunnock’s Snowballs are not to be enjoyed standing up.

[The 'Test' also covers Victoria Sponge cake, Doughnut, Mini fairy cake, Jaffa cake, Éclair, and Meringue. Article includes pics and a video.
Hmm, I feel peckish now! :D ]


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... -tube.html
 

OneWingedBird

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#45
You know, that's really put me off Pringles, now that I know they're less than 50% potato.

Perhaps I should have read the label sooner.
 

Mythopoeika

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#46
OneWingedBird said:
You know, that's really put me off Pringles, now that I know they're less than 50% potato.

Perhaps I should have read the label sooner.
Ooer, what's the other 50%?
Got me intrigued now.

Edit: Aaah, it's wheat. Nothing too noxious.
Interesting fact: Famous fantasy and science fiction author Gene Wolfe designed the machine that makes Pringles.
 

RyoHazuki

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#47
I'm rather more concerned that they deemed it necessary to load them with MSG (even the plain ones). Or was that just to make up for the lack of potato?
 

rynner2

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#48
What goes around, comes around:
Cake or biscuit? Why Jaffa Cakes excite philosophers
20 February 2017

It's a delicious structure consisting of a small sponge with a chocolate cap covering a veneer of orange jelly. It is arguably Britain's greatest invention after the steam engine and the light bulb. But is a Jaffa Cake actually a biscuit, asks David Edmonds.

This question reheats a confectionery conundrum first raised in 1991. A tax is charged on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on cakes. The manufacturer, McVities, had always categorised them as cakes and to boost their revenue the tax authorities wanted them recategorised as biscuits.

etc...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-38985820
 

James_H

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#49
Biscuit taxonomy is something I spend a fair bit of time thinking about...

In French, the word 'galette' refers to all manner of flat and round foodstuffs, that in English might be variously described as 'cake' or 'biscuit'. In Chinese, 'bing' ('餅') does the same job. Note that in both of these languages there is a separate word for 'cake' as in sponge cake, wedding cake, etc etc*. In English, we don't seem to have a similar umbrella term, and so items of this description end up being cakes, biscuits, cookies, pancakes, scones, etc somewhat arbitrarily.

* Confusingly, in Chinese what we would usually call 'cake' is 'egg cake' ('蛋糕'; 'daan gao'), and the word meaning 'cake' itself ('糕'; 'gao') applies to things we wouldn't think of as cake, such as turnip cake, which is more like a deep-fried solid turnip mash.
 

Bad Bungle

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#50
According to Wiki : 'In Ireland Jaffa cakes are regarded as cakes by Revenue as their moisture content is greater than 12%' (put them in a tin with other biscuits and you get soggy biscuits). 'As a result, they are charged the reduced rate of VAT (13.5% as of 2016)' .
As McVitie & Price did not trademark the Jaffa cake, there are many other brands with the same name - in 2009 the Germans tried to make an oblong version, reportedly because they were easier to pack and dunk.

But I heard that JAFFA is a trademark of the Citrus Marketing Board of Israel who were seeking Appelations of Origin protection from the EC. Tesco is believed to pay the CNB NIS 1 million (£168,000) per season for the use of its brand on out-of-season fruit not grown in Israel. Then again the Jaffa cake does not contains Jaffa oranges, I think McVitie use apricot jam and tangerine oil, so maybe the name can stay.
 

Shady

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#51
—Last year, Bristol councillors were so fed up with the city’s seagull population that they gave up biscuits at meetings and spent the £25,000 on tackling the problem


What the feck kinda biscuits were they eating? Bet it wasn't ASDAs custard creams


I am suprised they haven't sued Stargate for using Jaffa
 

Ladyloafer

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#58
According to Wiki : 'In Ireland Jaffa cakes are regarded as cakes ......

.... in 2009 the Germans tried to make an oblong version, reportedly because they were easier to pack and dunk.

.
Why would you want to dunk a cake? That is so wrong. Surely this is the true test of cake/biscuit; is it dunkable?
 

Ermintruder

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#59
Surely the demarcator for this eternal paradox is simple: cakes are soft when fresh, and become hard when stale. Conversely, biscuits are hard when fresh, and become soft when stale.

Therefore: in response to the oft-cited question "are Jaffa Cakes really cakes, or are they actually biscuits?".....
....Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the lead pipe
 
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