A piece of Grover Cleveland's wedding cake.

Piece of Grover Cleveland's Wedding Cake

Field review by the editors.

Caldwell, New Jersey

The humble house where future U.S. President Grover Cleveland was born has been preserved pretty much as it was in 1837. Visitors can see his cradle, his marriage certificate, and the bed on which he was born (there's a big plaque set into the wall over it). But we're here to see... the cake.

Box for the cake piece.

"We're sort of blessed with it and cursed with it," said Sharon Farrell, curator of the Grover Cleveland Birthplace, as she showed us her attraction's most famous artifact: a chunk of cake from the wedding of America's 22nd President on June 2, 1886.

The cake chunk, in a presentation box designed by Tiffany, doesn't look anything like a modern fluffy wedding cake topped with a tiny bride and groom. It's a fruitcake, whose sugary embalming has preserved it into its third century -- longer than any other cake in America, according to Sharon. "We don't do anything special for it," she said. "We check it for insect infestations. We've never had any problems."

One corner of the cake seems to have been nibbled, and Shannon recalled a "legend" of a Cub Scout in the 1950s who bit the cake on a dare. That kind of intimacy is impossible now; the cake is kept safely behind glass. Perhaps some future scientist will unlock its DNA or possibly clone it, since, according to Sharon, scholars cannot find the Methuselah cake's original recipe.

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Piece of Grover Cleveland's Wedding Cake

Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site

207 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell, NJ
I-280 exit 8B. Drive north on Prospect Ave. for around two miles, then turn left onto Hwy 506/Bloomfield Ave. for another two miles. The Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site will be on the right (north) side.
W-Su 1-4 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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August 7, 2020

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