APPARENTLY fat rascals have been around for at least 160 years, but only in the past few decades have they been under the ownership of famous cafe and tea rooms Bettys. They took out registration of the name to "protect their speciality" of which they produce countless hundreds of thousands every year, and told the tiny Stonegate cafe in Whitby to stop selling their version of the rock cake cum scone under the same name.

So presumably age has no relevance when it comes to possession of the name of a cake. Allegedly the fat chaps were produced around the moors near Whitby in the 1850's when they were baked as a turf cake, in a pan among the ashes of a peat fire. There's even one story that Charles Dickens mentions them alongside the famous singing hinny of Northumberland which was a similar type of griddle cake scone, also apparently known in Scotland as fatty cuties.

So the permutations seem endless, the little cafe has renamed their offending cakes Whitby Fatties, we have had no reports that they are about to register the name, presumably it depends on whether they start selling hundreds of thousands of them and want to protect their new speciality, as Bettys says 'It's what any business has to do." Apparently the name does not appear to have been widely known outside the Yorkshire region until the 1980's, a recipe book from the time described them as a useful way of using leftover pastry.

It was in 1983 that Bettys launched the uniquely recognisable Yorkshire Fat Rascal with it's endearingly scary face of cherry eyes and pointy almond teeth, based on a traditional regional recipe they say. So can you legally protect a recipe? presumably not , otherwise you can bet your fat rascals that would have been locked down too.