UK- Parkin Recipe


Just before Bonfire night, my friend Emma gave me this recipe for parkin. In fact, I had never heard of it despite living in England for almost 20 years. It’s a typical cake from the north that is made around the 5th November, also known as Bonfire or Guy Fawkes night. If you don’t know the history then it is worth a read about the discovery of a plot to blow up Parliament in 1605. Although the cake resembles a brownie in appearance, the flavour is very different. The ginger and treacle flavours come through the most. So it is spicy, sweet and smoky.

For those who have never heard of black treacle, it is similar to a very thick molasses. I’ve not tried it yet, but I think that treacle could be substituted with blackstrap molasses. And golden syrup could be substituted with corn syrup. However, I once tried using golden syrup instead of corn syrup for pecan pie and it turned out very hard. Therefore, I think golden syrup is a bit more viscous. Along with the recipe for parkin, my friend gave me the instructions to bake it about two weeks in advance. It develops flavour over time, so one is meant to leave it wrapped in foil inside an airtight container. Unfortunately, we did not get to try the aged version this first time, because no one wanted to wait for two weeks to eat the cake!

Golden syrup and treacle
Melting butter and syrups


120 g dark treacle syrup
80 g golden syrup
170 g unsalted butter
200g wholemeal flour
200g porridge oats
3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
175g brown sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
50 ml milk

Dry ingredients for parkin
Parkin batter


Pre-heat the oven to 160C (140C fan). First, in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, spices, sugar, salt and baking soda and mix well. Set aside. Next, add the treacle, golden syrup and butter into a medium saucepan heat over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until melted.

Then either line the baking tin (around 22cm square) with greaseproof paper or use a silicone baking tin.

Pour the treacle mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring well. First, beat the egg with the milk, then stir into the bowl of ingredients to form a batter. Pour into the tin and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check to make sure the cake is not getting too dry.

Cool for at least 20 minutes, then cut into 16 squares. It can be served immediately or stored up to three weeks in an air-tight container

Parkin batter ready to bake
Freshly baked parkin

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