106-year-old fruitcake found in historic Antarctic expedition hut - might still be good

© Antarctica Heritage Trust
This 106-year-old fruitcake, believed to be brought by the ill-fated Scott Terra Nova expedition, was recently found in Antarctica is surprisingly good shape.

A 100-year-old fruitcake was recovered on Cape Adare in Antarctica. Newly discovered artifact of South Pole expedition in 'excellent condition'

Move over, Twinkies. You've been bested in the "food that refuses to decompose" department, and the contest wasn't even close.

Conservators with the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust recently discovered a 106-year-old fruitcake in Antarctica's oldest building, a hut on Cape Adare.

© Antarctica Heritage Trust
The century-old cake was found in Antarctica's oldest building, a hut on Cape Adare.

A fruitcake is a dense, brick-like confection spiked with lumps of dried fruit and nuts that is traditionally regifted at Christmas. It is known for its long shelf life, although usually not 100 years long.

The Antarctic dessert was found wrapped in paper in a decrepit tin. But despite its rotting container, the cake was said to be in "excellent condition."

"There was a very, very slight rancid butter smell to it, but other than that, the cake looked and smelled edible," trust program manager Lizzie Meeks said.

Conservators believe British explorer Capt. Robert Falcon Scott probably brought the cake, made by the British biscuit company Huntley & Palmers, to Antarctica during their ill-fated 1910-1913 Terra Nova expedition.

© Cambridge University, HO/Associated Press
This is a handout image released by Cambridge University on Wednesday Jan. 10, 2007 of the members of Capt Scott's ill fated South Pole expedition pose at the pole in January 1912. The team are standing, left to right - Lt. Henry (Birdie) Bowers, Capt Robert Falcon Scott, Dr Edward Adrian Wilson. Seated, left to right - Petty Officer (PO) Edgar Evans, Capt Lawrence (Titus) Oates. Cambridge University are to put on display a number of letters of Capt Scott from January 17, 2007 to mark the 95th anniversary of Scott's arrival at the South Pole.

© Google Maps

The expedition's Northern Party took shelter in the Cape Adare hut, which had been built by Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink's team in 1899, and left the fruitcake behind.

Scott and his four companions reached the South Pole, only to discover Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them to the spot five weeks earlier. All five died on the return trip, four after support teams failed to rendezvous with his party as ordered.

The fruitcake is one of last of some 1,500 artifacts conserved by the trust. After conservation, which includes stabilizing and repairing the items, they will be returned to the site.

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