Posted by: Matt | December 9, 2007

Jaffa Cakes

Bob has some interesting things to say on Jaffa Cakes.

Jaffa Cakes 6 hours ago

When one ponders the age old question of ‘Jaffa Cake; biscuit or cake?’ it is essential to understand fundamentally the meaning of both the terms, biscuit and cake.Cake

1. a sweet, baked, breadlike food, made with or without shortening, and usually containing flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, eggs, and liquid flavoring.


1. a kind of bread in small, soft cakes, raised with baking powder or soda, or sometimes with yeast.

In light of the above definitions we can discern two things, firstly that the jaffa ‘cake’ qualifies under either heading in terms of its content and in terms of the process of its creation. It is soft, baked and breadlike, qualities which could place it in either category. What offers the best and most interesting insight into this culinary quagmire is a clue implicit in the ‘biscuit’ definition. Here a biscuit is refered to as “a kind of bread in SMALL, soft CAKES”. This definition takes the word cake to be indicitive of shape, content and texture, and biscuit to mean nothing more than a smaller variation on the idea of cake. Speaking in semiotic terms biscuit is here applied as being an iconic interpretation of cake.

It is on the basis of this careful scrutiny of the terms, and my own interaction with the normal conventions of confectionary culture, that I must deduce that the term most accurately describing the Jaffa ‘cake’ is indeed BISCUIT. To me this phrase seems the most appropriate, though I am prepared to accept that it is a problematic argument since the word ‘small’ refers to size and is therefore open to questions of subjectivity and relativity.

Either way it is completely irrelevant as the matrimony of orange and chocolate is completely unholy, bordering on alchemy.


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