106-year-old fruitcake found in Antarctica 'looked and smelled edible'

Researchers discovered a 106-year-old, untouched fruitcake in an old explorer hut in Antarctica  — and it still looks and smells good enough to eat.

"There was a very, very slight rancid butter smell to it, but other than that, the cake looked and smelled edible!" explained Lizzie Meek of Antarctic Heritage Trust. "There is no doubt the extreme cold in Antarctica has assisted its preservation."

The Trust is a New Zealand non-profit that cares for artifacts left behind by famous Antarctic explorers, including Captain Robert Scott.

The cake was found in a tin at Cape Adare, Antarctica's first building, and used by Scott's party of explorers during the Terra Nova expedition from 1910 to 1913.

The cake was made by Huntley & Palmers, a brand of fruitcake Scott used during the time. It still had its paper wrapping.

"Finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake among them was quite a surprise," Meek said. "It's an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favorite item on modern day trips to the ice."

Aside from the cake, the Trust recently retrieved about 1,500 artifacts found at two huts at Cape Adare. The pieces were taken to New Zealand and conserved in a lab at Canterbury Museum.

Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman 

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