Parkin is a traditional bake, popular in the North of England. A deliciously moist and spicy ginger cake made with black treacle and oatmeal. A perfect sweet accompaniment to your Bonfire Night Celebrations.
Parkin is a traditional bake, popular in the North of England, most often made with oatmeal and black treacle or molasses. This old fashioned parkin recipe is full of spice and moist with the addition of black treacle and syrup. It is similar in taste and indeed stickiness to a good dark gingerbread. Michelle has family in Yorkshire, however, from discussions with her mother-in-law she found that each area treats it differently. Although recipes for this bake are traditional from around Yorkshire and Lancashire, there are differences in the recipes between different regions. For example, some don’t include the oatmeal in their recipe, which makes it more similar to a sticky ginger cake than a traditional parkin.
What’s the difference between parkin & gingerbread?
The main difference between ginger parkin and gingerbread is the addition of oatmeal to the cake mix. Some recipes don’t ask for it, however our recipe for parkin uses oatmeal. We believe that oatmeal adds a lovely texture to the cake. With the oatmeal added its a lot different to a sticky gingerbread. That’s how Michelle likes to bake it for her husband who’s from Yorkshire. The addition of black treacle to the mix adds depth of flavour to the cake. Whilst the golden syrup allows the cake to develop a real stickiness.
Points to note:
Firstly, it is worth mentioning that you should not over mix the cake batter. Over mixing can cause the parkin to sink in the middle, as too much air gets added this way. Instead simply mix to combine all the ingredients before pouring into the cake tin and baking. Secondly, as with gingerbread, parkin is best left to sit for a few days before serving as this will ensure the cake goes nice and sticky. As a cake it will last for up to a week if not more in an air-tight container.
When is parkin traditionally made?
Yorkshire parkin is a bake that is traditionally made around bonfire night, that’s when Michelle likes to bake it for family and friends, where it’s taken outside and enjoyed alongside the baking potatoes that have been popped in the fire to cook. A deliciously spicy and sticky treat, perfect for warming you up on a cold night with a nice hot cup of tea. Parkin also makes a great pudding when warmed up and served with a warm custard.
Can I freeze parkin?
Parkin is a great traditional bakes that can easily be made ahead of time. Keep it wrapped and and in the freezer for a couple of months. Michelle likes to freeze in portions to take out for a midweek pudding without the fuss.
Pin the recipe for later:
Alternative recipe suggestions:
If you like this recipe then try some of our other simple bakes, our Chocolate & Pecan Brownies, our Tweed Squares, or our Chocolate Tiffin. If you enjoyed this bake have a look at our Ultimate Guide to Baking with Kids, full of great recipe suggestions for baking with children.
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 100 g black treacle - or molasses
- 100 g golden syrup - Not Corn Syrup
- 100 g soft brown sugar
- 200 g plain flour
- 100 g medium oatmeal
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 100 ml whole milk
- 1 egg - beaten
- Preheat oven to 150Fan and grease and line an 8 inch square high sided cake tin.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter, treacle, syrup and sugar until combined but do not allow to boil.
- In a separate bowl add your dry ingredients and mix lightly.
- Once the butter and sugars are melted, remove from the heat and add into the dry ingredients. Mix together with a wooden spoon until you have a thick batter.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg and measure the milk. Add this to the batter and gently stir until fully combined.
- Once the batter is combined then pour into the pan and bake for 50 minutes. Check after 50 minutes. The cake is ready when I skewer comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool and wrap or store in an airtight container for a few days. The cake can be eaten straight away but benefits from sitting for a few says to allow it to become sticky.
- Serve on its own for Bonfire night outside or as a dessert warmed and topped with custard.