Conservators with the Antarctic Heritage Trust recently found a 106-year-old fruit cake in Cape Adare in Antarctica. The dessert, made by British cake makers Huntley & Palmers, was found wrapped in paper inside the remains of a tin, and was “almost edible,” the organisation said in a statement.
The conservators believe the cake was brought by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott during the 1910-1913 Terra Nova expedition. Its Northern Party may have taken shelter in the hut and left the cake behind. A team has been working on conserving artefacts from Cape Adare since 2016.
Programme Manager-Artefacts Lizzie Meek said finding such a “perfectly preserved fruitcake” in a severely corroded tin was a huge surprise. “It [the fruitcake] is an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the ice,” she said.
As theAntarctica is frozen for most of the year, it has preserved the cake really well, she told NewsHub, adding that the tin also protected it from the outside elements. “It looks like new, which is quite fantastic, it doesn’t quite smell new, it smells a little bit of rancid butter, but it looks beautiful,” she said.
The cake will now be preserved and returned to the hut once the structure itself is restored.