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Is this the world's oldest wedding cake?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Most wedding cakes barely survive the big day, with maybe just one slice being popped in a box to be preserved for posterity.

This one, however, is still intact after 113 years, making it what is thought to be the world’s oldest complete wedding cake.

The ornately decorated confection was made in 1898, during Queen Victoria’s reign, and is still in one piece despite a large crack in the icing caused by a Second World War bomb blast.

Once white, it has browned with age. But despite this, the rich fruit cake inside is said to be still moist.
Once white as a symbol of purity, the ornate cake, complete with its floral display, has browned with age.

The confectionery was originally on display in the window of a family bakery, in Basingstoke, Hampshire, which closed in 1964.

It had been moved to a loft, where it remained for almost a century, until the baker's daughter donated it to the little known Willis Museum in Basingstoke. Museum curator Sue Tapliss said: 'It has been stored in unfavourable environmental conditions, leading to the cake heating and causing the sugars to seep through to the icing, giving it a darker colour.

'The baker's daughter, who was unmarried, donated the cake towards the end of her life due to fears someone might discover it in her attic and think she had been jilted at the altar.'

A delicate operation involving two conservators has been carried out and the cake has now been dried using packets of silica gel to prevent further deterioration.
Mrs Tapliss added: 'It underwent conservation work following concerns from museum staff who had noticed a distinct colour change. 'Upon investigation using a syringe, the cake was found to be very moist.

'A large crack in the icing, the result of wartime bombing vibration, was in a precarious state due to the weight of the icing pulling away from the cake itself.
'Pieces of Queen Victoria's wedding cake were auctioned off but this is the world's oldest complete wedding cake.' Mrs Tapliss added: 'We hope that the cake can be enjoyed for a further 113 years.'

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