Fruitcake truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Whether you love it or you hate it, fruitcake is a holiday staple. Traditionally made with candied fruits, nuts, and spiced (often rum-soaked) bread, what's not to love?

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Over the years fruitcake has garnered an infamous reputation for being extremely shelf stable but no one else quite understands that like the Ford family here in Michigan. At 145 years old I'd say the Ford family fruitcake is well past its "best by" date!

via Detroit News
Detroit News via YouTube

Christmas 1878

If my memory serves me right, this all started near Tecumseh, Michigan. A woman named Fidelia Ford made it an annual tradition to bake a fruitcake ahead of the holidays. However, Fidelia preferred to let her fruitcakes age for one year before serving it at family gatherings.

Unfortunately, Fidelia passed away at age 65 before she was able to cut into her fruitcake from 1878.

Out of respect Fidelia's family chose not to cut into the cake without her. Fidelia's son Morgan became the cake's keeper, taking great care to ensure the fruitcake was preserved to honor her legacy.

Detroit News via YouTube
Detroit News via YouTube

Where's the Cake Now?

According to the Associated Press during the 93 years in which the cake was in Morgan's possession he took it to family gatherings and church outings to show it off! Said daughter Sue, "

He really enjoyed sharing the joy of the cake...He took a lot of pride in it.

In fact, the fruitcake is somewhat a celebrity in its own right having appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2003. Morgan brought the then 125 year old cake all the way from Michigan to Burbank, California.

Morgan and Jay even each tried a bite of cake! The pair described it as tasting like, "thrashed wheat". Asked Jay,

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

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

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

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