Fruitcake-- you either love it or you hate it!

I personally happen to be a fan of the Christmastime staple. Made with candied fruits, nuts and spiced (often rum-soaked) bread, what's not to love?

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While watching late-night TV recently I was reminded of a peculiar taste test involving one of the oldest known fruitcakes to ever exist. Now, we all know fruitcake gets a bad rap as being infamously shelf-stable but I think at 144 years old this Ford family fruitcake is well past its "best by" date.

Fidelia Ford

The fruitcake in question was baked in Tecumseh, MI by the loving matriarch of the Ford family, Fidelia, back in 1878. Fidelia made it an annual tradition to bake a fruitcake ahead of the holidays, however, she preferred to let the cake age for a year before serving it at family gatherings.

Unfortunately, Fidelia passed away at age 65 before she was able to cut into the 1878 fruitcake. Her son Morgan then became its keeper, taking great care to ensure the cake was preserved to honor her legacy.

via Detroit News
via Detroit News

Taste Test

According to the Associated Press, during the 93 years that Morgan was in possession of the cake he took it to family gatherings and church outings. Said daughter Sue, "He really enjoyed sharing the joy of the cake...He took a lot of pride in it.”

One of only several times the cake was ever eaten was when Morgan brought the cake all the way from Michigan to Burbank, California for an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2003.

Jay and Morgan each took a bite of the then-125-year-old cake which they described as tasting like, "thrashed wheat". Asked Jay,

Is this thing crystalized?...It needs more time.

via Detroit News
via Detroit News

Oldest Cake Ever?

Today, Morgan's daughter, Julie, who lives outside of Detroit, is the keeper of the 144 year old cake. Although the Guinness Book of World Records doesn't have a category for fruitcakes specifically, they do recognize old cakes.

According to Guinness the oldest cake on record was found in an Egyptian tomb and is believed to be 4,176 years old. The way fruitcake keeps, I'm sure Fidelia's cake will have that record beat in no time!

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