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100-year-old fruitcake found in Antarctica in ‘perfect condition’

Have you ever been confused about what food to take on an adventure or mountain expedition? Well, fruitcake could be the best choice.

It may not be flashy, but the dessert can survive in just about any environment – and it can last a century, if that’s what you need.

Conservators from the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust discovered the 106-years-old treat in a hut on Cape Adare in East Antarctica.


According to a statement released by the trust, the cake probably dates back to the Terra Nova expedition of 1910-1913, led by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Made by Huntley & Palmers, a company that has been in business since 1822, the cake was found ‘still wrapped in paper and encased in the remains of a tin-plated iron alloy tin.

In fact, the sturdy pudding has aged even better than the tin it was kept in, which was discovered in poor condition.

Antarctica fruitcake

The cake is believed to have an interesting story behind it as it is thought to have been brought to the region by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott.

Scott and his party successfully made it to the South Pole on the Terra Nova expedition from 1910 to 1913, but all five died on the return journey to base camp.

Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition team in 1912 just months before their deaths. The Northern Party – which left the cake in the hut at Cape Adare – had split off from this team beforehand. Picture: Wikipedia

Lizzie Meek, programme manager for the New Zealand-based trust, said: ‘With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artifacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise.

cake antarctica
Members of Captain Scott’s Terra Nova expedition pull a sled packed with supplies across the Antarctic snow.

‘It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the Ice.’



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