According to an article in yesterday’s Tampa Bay Times, there is a man in Florida who still has a piece of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding cake and I am deeply invested in this journey. It should be said, I’m deeply invested in any journey that involves cake. But super old Royal wedding cake? It’s a journey to the past with icing. I’m here for it.
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Apparently, slices of the multi-tiered fruit cake, by David Avery, the head baker at the Royal Naval cooking school, were made available as keepsake souvenir that you could eat but would not eat, which is an option I had never once considered until this very moment. If you give me anything edible to take home from anywhere, it’s gone before the Lyft even pulls up. This cake, however, has managed to withstand every sugar craving for almost four decades, which has got to be worth a Nobel Prize or special commendation from Mary Berry or something. If it were me, I would have eaten the cake with a quickness, filled the box with CVS receipts, resealed it and lived a lie for the rest of my life. I don’t mind admitting that. It’s my cross to bear.
Or, should I say, my cake to bear.
My cross to bake.
Not John Hoatson, a Florida man who has over $500,000 worth of Princess Diana memorabilia, including the aforementioned, miraculously uneaten ancient slice of cake.
“It’s fruitcake. It will never get old. It’s preserved by the air,” Hoatson is quoted as saying, outrageously. Preserved by air! What a world! Where I come from that’s called fossilization. I’d still eat it, though.
A coworker’s birthday cake will disappear from the break room faster than the time it takes for me to open and read the email announcing its presence and yet actual wedding cake from a the fairytale marriage of the Prince of Wales is still just hanging out, being preserved by the air? Stunning. This is a case for the Food Detective (that’s what I call myself when I’m wandering around the office looking for coworkers’ birthday cake.)
The British Royal Family Wedding Cake business is apparently a whole industry. In 2015, souvenir cake slices from the weddings of Prince Andrew and Fergie, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton and others were auctioned off from the collection of Leonard Massey, the former first chauffeur to Queen Elizabeth II.
I am flabbergasted that people are paying top dollar for this. It’s not even from Magnolia Bakery. That said, I have to respect this level of commitment to procuring and hoarding baked goods.
This is like that time I got dessert to-go from The Cheesecake Factory and then forgot it and left it in the fridge for a whole week. Except instead of being there for seven days, it would’ve been there for three decades with a sign that read “Historical!”
I have never been more invested in a souvenir than I am in these tiny boxes of mummified fruit cake. This puts that frozen wedding topper you’re saving for your first anniversary to shame. If you were really committed, you’d take the cake out of the freezer, chop it up, put it in little boxes and auction them off to your friends with notes that read “Keep this forever.”
By the way, if you’re planning on actually doing that, send me a slice.
Follow R. Eric Thomas on Twitter.