A Michigan family will continue to preserve their 141-year-old fruitcake that survived under the tender care of numerous generations.
“It’s a great thing,” Julie Ruttinger told The Associated Press. “It was a tradition. It’s a legacy,” she said of the cake that was baked in 1878 by her great-great-grandmother Fidelia Ford.
Ford kicked off the family tradition by baking fruitcakes annually and letting them age for a year before the family consumed the treat during the holiday season.
But Ford died before her last cake could be eaten. Her family decided to hold onto her last baked creation, turning the cake into a family heirloom.
Ruttinger’s dad, Morgan Ford, watched over the cake until he died in 2013.
“He took care of it to the day he left the earth,” Ruttinger told the news service. “We knew it meant a lot to him.”
Ford in 2003 brought the cake onto “The Tonight Show.” Host Jay Leno tasted the cake and joked that “It needs more time,” according to the “Today” show.
Another one of Ford’s daughters, Sue Durkee, said “He really enjoyed sharing the joy of the cake. He took a lot of pride in it.”
Despite its old age, a food safety specialist told the “Today” show that the 141-year-old cake is safe to eat.
“The bacteria we need [to] worry about needs water to grow,” Chapman, a professor at North Carolina State University said.
“There’s not a lot of water that is available in fruitcake because it’s all bound up by sugar. Now, it’s gonna taste terrible, likely. But that’s a totally different situation.”
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