This Yorkshire Parkin recipe is perfect for Bonfire night or any cold autumn evening. It’s a sticky oat ginger cake that’s simple to make. It gets even better if you can leave it a few days to get even stickier!
Being from Canada, we obviously never celebrated Bonfire Night. We went big for Halloween, but that was it. I’ve lived in the UK for many years now, so I’ve celebrated Bonfire Night now many times. Still, I’ve always been slightly confused by it.
On the 5th of November people let off fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ failed plot to blow up parliament in the 1600s. He was Catholic, and that was outlawed by the government and Crown, so he and his cohorts planned to set off gunpowder in the vaults under the Houses of Parliament. Right. Got that.
I’m mildly baffled by the whole thing though. Centuries later people still sip hot drinks out in the cold while watching fireworks displays and bonfires burning effigies of Guy. The odd cheeky kid will knock on the door in the run up to Bonfire Night to ask for money as a ‘penny for the Guy’ – an old custom of begging for money for fireworks that’s rather out of favour now.
I’ve started to watch Gunpowder – a miniseries based on the plot staring John Snow from Game of Thrones (swoon), so perhaps the day’s history will all become clearer to me now!
It all seems a bit mad, but hey, this is a country that still does cheese rolling. And don’t even get me started on my confusion over Wassailling.
Amid my confusion over Guy Fawkes, there’s one thing I know: Bonfire Night brings out the best of Autumnal foods. People make big vats of hot soup and stews, like my vegan slow cooker lentil stew or red lentil dahl. As people stand in fields, parks or gardens, waiting for the skies to light with the flashes and roars of fireworks, flasks of tea and hot chocolate are supped all over the country. Perhaps a warm boozy drink or two. Jacket potatoes hot from the oven are wrapped in foil and brought out into the night. And there’s cake. Particularly parkin.
So, what is Yorkshire parkin?
Parkin is a gingerbread cake that originates in Northern England. It’s a wonderfully sticky sponge made with oats, black treacle/molasses and ginger. It’s particularly known in Yorkshire, with families having their favourite spin on the classic cake. Some recipes insist on using no eggs, others add spices in addition to ginger.
As with any traditional recipe, there are also regional variations. In Lancashire parkin is paler with more golden syrup (corn syrup) rather than treacle.
You can eat the gingery cake on it’s own, or even warmed up with custard so it’s more of a pudding. Of course it’s best enjoyed with a big mug of Yorkshire tea.
How to Make Yorkshire Parkin Cake
Parkin is a simple cake to make. You just need to melt butter and sugars then stir it into the mixed dry ingredients. Mix it up well, then add the milk and egg and stir it again. Pour it into the pan and bake! It’s a no-fuss recipe that’s quick and easy.
Step 1: Gently melt the butter, sugar, molasses and syrup together.
Step 2: mix dry ingredients then add wet and stir well.
Step 3: Pour into the prepared pan and bake!
Get the Yorkshire Parkin Recipe
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Yorkshire parkin is a sticky ginger cake, traditional to the North of England and eat on Bonfire Night. It's made with oats, treacle and ginger.
- 200 g golden syrup (corn syrup)
- 115 g butter (if necessary use non-dairy butter)
- 115 g molasses (black treacle)
- 115 g light brown sugar
- 200 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 100 g oats
- 1 egg
- 100 ml milk (I used a2 Milk™)
Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a 20x20cm/8x8in baking tin with greaseproof baking paper.
Melt the butter, golden syrup, treacle and sugar in a pan, but don’t allow it to boil. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, ginger and soda, then stir in the oats.
Pour in the melted butter mixture and stir to combine into a thick batter.
Whisk the egg into the milk, then mix them into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 60-75 minutes or until the centre springs back when touched and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.
It’s best if you wrap it and allow the flavours to develop and the cake to get sticky over 3-5 days, but can be eaten immediately.
- This parkin keeps well in an airtight tin, with the benefit that it gets stickier if you can wait a few days before eating it!
- Try it on it’s own or served with hot custard.
- For those who have difficulty digesting milk and making this with a2 Milk™, be sure to use a dairy-free butter or goat's butter.
Recipe adapted from Country Living.
I made this parkin recipe using a2 Milk™, which is easier to digest. Standard cow’s milk includes the A2 protein and A1 protein. However, A1 can cause bloating, indigestion, cramps and more in some people, so at a2 Milk™ they rear specially select cows from breeds that naturally don’t product A1 protein, just A2. They don’t add or take anything away from their milk.
So, some people who were previously thought to be lactose intolerant can actually drink this milk. Find out more from a2 Milk™
Disclaimer: a2 Milk™ is not suitable for cows’ milk protein allergy. If you have been medically diagnosed with any milk intolerance, seek advice from your doctor before use.
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Disclosure: This Yorkshire parkin recipe was sponsored by a2 Milk™. Thanks for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to write Veggie Desserts – vegetable cake, healthy vegan and vegetarian food and lifestyle.