is incredible the things we find in remote places, hidden for many years, waiting to be discovered by future generations. You would think that foods that do not have conservatives cannot be preserved, especially cakes which would have at most a few months until their expiry date. However, this 106-year-old cake is perfectly edible as it has been frozen in Antarctica.
In 2017, a group of researchers from AHT (Antarctic Heritage Trust) from New Zealand was scouting the plains of Antarctica in order to find new ways to preserve it. During their exploration, they discovered an old wooden cabin which is presumed to be the first building in Antarctica.
The building was most presumably built in 1899 by a Norwegian group of explorers. Later on, in 1911, the cabin was used by the famous British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his crew. Inside the cabin, besides many other old objects from that time, a metal tin was found, and inside it was a fruit cake.
What was this cake doing in Antarctica?
The researchers took the cake back to New Zealand where they managed to analyze its consistency so they can offer a more precise date from when it was baked. They reached the conclusion that the cake was carried by Scott to Antarctica from Britain where he forgot about it and it froze.
What actually happened was that Scott and three other members of his crew died due to the extreme cold whilst exploring Antarctica. The cake managed to survive the extreme cold without being affected by the frost due to the metal tin it was preserved in as well as the sheet it was covered with.
Lizzie Meek, the administrator of historical artifacts from AHT declared that apart from an odd smell the cake seemed perfectly edible to eat without it causing any harm to whoever consumed it. The frost managed to preserve it without being damaged by the frost.
She also mentioned that they knew this was a cake from Robert Falcon Scott as he mentioned it in his journal where he would always talk about the food he consumed. In the journal, it was also mentioned that the cake was bought from a company called Huntley and Palmers from Reading, a city near London in England. The company is still in business to this day.
The researchers contacted the company which confirmed that the cake was produced in their laboratory based on the old family recipes.
As the cabin where the cake was found is considered a heritage site, all of the objects inside including the cake have been brought back and are now kept as historical items, meaning that the cake cannot be consumed.
The question is, would you eat this cake after 106 years? If you are considering this as a good feast maybe have a look at this old wine from 1695.