Parkin – A northern tradition

In Food, Our Journeys, Recipe, Sense, Senses, UK Travel by GaryLeave a Comment

That's headed south

Parkin is a spicy, dark cake that comes from the north of England.

It's origins are lost in time but it's widely believed to be from that great county of Yorkshire.

Traditionally eaten on Bonfire night (5th November), however it's too good to reserve for just one festivity.

Parkin; the autumn  spiced cake from the North of England

So as a Southerner, it's not something we were brought up on. It's a product of our love of travel.

This recipe is heavily based on one of Yorkshire's finest chefs, Brian Turner and can be found in his book Brian Turner's Favourite British Recipes.

The Ingredients for Parkin

The ingredients for Parkin
  • 8oz Oatmeal (fine)
  • 8oz Plain flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger powder

  • 4oz Unsalted butter (diced)

  • 1 Egg (medium size)
  • 4oz Light brown unrefined sugar

  • 4oz Golden Syrup
  • 4oz Black Treacle

The Method

1 - Preheat your oven to 160C/ 325F/Gas Mark 3.   Reduce accordingly if it's fan assisted oven.

2 - Now butter your cake tin.  I use a 20cm/8" springform round cake tin. You can, of course, use a square dish but line it with greaseproof paper first.

3 - Mix the first four dry ingredients and then toss in the in the butter.  I do all this in my KitchenAid mixer, with the flat paddle beater.  You're looking for the butter to be completely mixed in with the dry ingredients.  I then set this aside 

4 - Spare bowl for the Kitchenaid time.  On the lowest speed setting, with the whisk attachment, mix the egg & sugar.

5 - While the egg & sugar is mixing heat the Golden Syrup & Treacle (Corn Syrup/Molasses) over a low heat.  I'm aiming to get it to 40C/105F so it flows a little easier

    6 - Now fold in the beaten egg mixture to the flour & oatmeal.  Once that's combined, add the warmed syrup mixture.  You'll then have something resembling a good concrete - don't worry this is normal.  You can add a couple of tablespoons of milk to loosen it if you wish.

    7 - Pour the mixture into your baking dish and bake for one hour.  Test the mixture by carefully running a wooden skewer into the centre.  If it comes out clean all good.  If not pop it back in for another 10 minutes and retest.

    8 - Once cooked let it cool slightly and pop it out of its baking tray and let it cool for an hour.  Cut it into squares (about 5cm/2").

    Now the difficult bit - Store in an airtight container for around a week to allow the flavours to develop, and the Parkin to moisten slightly.

      The Enjoyment

      Now were you good, did you wait a week? Probably not!

      Looks good though.

      Smells & tastes fantastic.

      Why not give it a try?

      Parkin – A northern tradition

      Have You?

      Tried Parkin - or is it a favourite of yours? Something from the childhood, or a late discovery?

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