A century-old fruit cake has been discovered in Antarctica in "excellent condition" after being preserved in the continent's sub-zero temperatures.

It was found in the Cape Adare and is believed to have belonged to British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who is better known as Scott of the Antarctic.

The tin containing the discovery had rusted, but conservators found the cake still wrapped in paper and smelling edible.

Lizzie Meek, of the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust, said: "Finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise.

"It's an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the ice."

A team of four conservators have been working on the conservation of Antarctic artefacts from Cape Adare since last May, and have unearthed more than 1,500 items.

The cake is said to have links to Scott's expedition in the 1910s as he was recorded as having been partial to those made by Huntley & Palmers.

Scott's mission to the South Pole - named Terra Nova - may have ultimately been successful but the group was beaten to the milestone by a Norwegian group of explorers.

British explorer Captain Scott on his doomed expedition to the Antarctic

The entire party died on the way back from the Pole, with their bodies discovered 13 months later.