Captain Scott's fruit cake found 'almost edible' 106 years after Antarctic expedition

Captain Scott's fruit cake found 'almost edible' 106 years after Antarctic expedition

The Antarctic Heritage Trust is proving just how eternal fruitcake can be with the unveiling of a 100-year-old specimen found in a building at Cape Adare, a peninsula in Antarctica. The tin and the cake within were made by a company called Huntley & Palmers; the tin, though in bad shape, was still protecting the cake, which itself is still wrapped in its original paper.

Made by the now-defunct firm Huntley & Palmers, it probably dates back to one of the parties involved in Captain Scott's Terra Nova expedition from 1910 to 1913, say conservators from the Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT).

The New Zealand-based Trust found it in Antarctica's oldest building, a hut built by Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink's team in 1899, and used by Capt Scott in 1911 during his Terra Nova expedition.

Fruitcake is high in fat and sugar, making it ideal for trekkers in environments like Antarctica. The cake is thought to originate from a voyage to Antarctica that took place in the early 1900s.

The Trust claims the fruitcake is in "excellent condition", and apparently smells practically edible.

So how would a 100-year-old, well-preserved fruitcake taste? While the tin had begun to deteriorate, the cake was in near-perfect condition and, according the researchers, still looked "almost edible".

If you're well-versed with how Christians cook, you'd already know that they leave a slice of the Christmas cake every year to let it mature, and then use it in the cake mix next year!

A team has been working on conserving artefacts from Cape Adare since 2016.

While its tin was rusted, the cake inside seemed fine. The team recently finished the large project in July this year, conserving nearly 1500 artefacts. A permit allowing the AHT to collect the artefacts stipulates that all of the items must be returned to the site following conservation.

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