An old spice cake may take the, er, cake for oldest food item on record. A 100-year-old cake was given to Pierre Girard of Golden Valley, Minnesota as a gag gift by some friends in 1994, and he’s been keeping it safe every since—even throwing it a party for its centennial milestone.
Girard’s friends found the cake on a closet shelf of an old house in St. Louis Park during an estate sale, the Minnesota StarTribune reports. Though it may have been given to him as a joke, Girard took his ownership seriously. The cake’s box (from the Rose Garden Florist in Detroit) has a note scrawled on top of it that says, “Xmas cake baked in Dec. 1911.” The bottom of the box reads, “Xmas cake baked in year 1911 by my mother’s brother Alex, died Dec. 27. Was operated on Xmas Day.”
Girard’s research indicated that it was Victorian tradition holiday to build upon spice cake layers from previous years, the StarTribune writes. Families would save the last layer of a cake, soak it in rum and brandy, and then save it until the next year, adding additional layers on top. And it might have been this aging process that has left the cake uneaten for so many years.
Girard has a (slightly morbid) theory about what happened to Alex, the baker of the cake. “Alex was cooking a new top for the cake. So he was frosting the cake, and while doing that, the knife touched the bottom and got contaminated. And the last thing he did was lick the knife, and he got sick. Once he got sick, his family decided, ‘We won’t eat the cake til Alex comes home.’ And when he never came home, they felt bad and put it away and never ate it again.”
Whether that’s what really happened, we can’t be sure, but suffice it to say: if the cake was deadly a century ago, it’s probably not advisable to eat the cake as it marks its centennial, regardless of its perceived youthfulness. To be sure, the frosting has disintegrated, but the cake still has its original mints decorating its sides and nuts atop it.
As celebrators of Festivus here at NewsFeed, we can’t help but recall the Seinfeld episode where Elaine’s sugar rush addiction led her to eating up J. Peterman’s $29,000 slice of cake from the wedding of King Edward VIII, dated back to 1937. Peterman’s warning about the cake’s effects on her body being “punishment enough” is all we need to know to avoid the temptation of trying such novelties.