A recipe for Traditional Yorkshire Parkin, this recipe originates from the North of England, and is made with oatmeal and black treacle.
A good sticky, Traditional Yorkshire Parkin was made a week ago, in readiness for Bonfire Night. It’s been sitting in a tin in the pantry, where it’s being getting even stickier. Parkins are usually made at least a week or 2 before you eat them, and this is now ready to be anointed with a goodly smear of butter, or a slice of Wensleydale cheese, before being enjoyed with a cuppa.
Traditional Yorkshire Parkin is a ginger cake (gingerbread) that originates from the North of England, and is made with oatmeal and black treacle. There are many regional variations, with some parkins in the East Riding of Yorkshire being baked to an almost biscuit-like texture. And, some versions are cut into biscuits, similar to flapjacks.
Traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, the 5th of November (aka Fireworks Night and Guy Fawkes Night), it is enjoyed throughout the winter months. There is some controversy around the addition of eggs in a parkin; my recipe does include an egg, as that’s the way my mum and her mum before her made parkin, and as I keep chickens, I always have a ready supply of eggs.
However, in many recipes an egg or eggs are never added, I’ll leave that dilemma up to you. Other variations of parkin include the Derbyshire “Thor Cake” and Lancashire’s “Tharf Cake”. Irrelevant of where in the North you live, the main ingredients in a parkin are ALWAYS ginger, and lots of it, black trickle and oatmeal, NOT porridge oats.
Other Variations of Parkin
One of my very favourite cookbooks is Recipes from an Old Farmhouse by Alison Uttley. In her cookbook, she recalls and shares recipes from her childhood growing up on a farm in the Derbyshire Peak District, based on the semi-autobiographical book “The Country Child”.
In the first chapter titled “Thor Cake and Gingerbread”, Alison shares her mother’s recipe for “Thor Cake”, which I’ve shared below. She also recounts how they all enjoyed the cake on Bonfire Night……
“This cake used to be our food on Guy Fawkes night when we ate it under the stars, with mugs of hot milk, or spiced elderberry wine for the adults. We watched the sparks fly, we shouted at the fireworks as we had our feast”
Thor Cake Recipe
“A pound of medium oatmeal and half a pound of good fresh butter, half a pound of Demerara sugar, and four ounces of black treacle, half an ounce of ground ginger and a pinch of salt, mace and nutmeg, one egg, four ounces of sliced mixed candied peel. The dry ingredients were mixed and the butter warmed and the hot treacle added. All the ingredients were kneaded together like bread, turned out on a pastry board and rolled out in once piece about two inches thick. This was baked in a large greases and lined meat tin, for about three quarters of an hour, until the cake was done. Slices were cut off as needed when the cake was cold. For tea it was eaten with butter.”
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More Ginger, Halloween & Bonfire Night Recipes
- PEAR & WALNUT CAKE
- All Soul’s Day and a Traditional Soul-Cakes Recipe
- Frosted Ginger Cake with Crystallised Ginger
- Spooky Spider Cakes for a Howling Halloween!
- Twit Woo Hooting Halloween Owl Cupcakes
- DARK STICKY DOUBLE GINGERBREAD
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I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s post and feel inspired to make my recipe for Traditional Yorkshire Parkin. If you make it now, then it will be at just the correct level of stickiness for Halloween and Bonfire Night!
PLEASE do let me know if you make my recipe, or even if you try one of the other recipes I have shared for Thor Cake and Parkin. Have a lovely weekend, Karen
- 225g (8ozs) SR Flour
- 350g (12ozs) medium oatmeal
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 115g (4ozs) unsalted butter
- 225 (8ozs) black treacle
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 115g (4ozs) Demerara sugar or soft brown sugar
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 150ml (1/4 pint) milk
- Grease and line a square baking tin (18cm x 18cm/7" x 7") withy baking paper. Pre-heat oven to 180C/375F/Gas 4.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan with the black treacle, lemon juice and Demerara sugar.
- Pour the butter and treacle mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, before adding the beaten egg and the milk.
- Pour or spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for between 50 minutes and 1 hour until firm. Remove from the oven and leave the parkin in the tin to cool completely.
- Remove the parkin in the baking paper from the tin once it is cold, and store it UNCUT in an airtight container of cake tin for between 1 and 2 weeks before cutting into squares and serving.
- Serve buttered or with a slice of Wensleydale cheese and an apple.
Add 75g chopped crystallised ginger to the cake mixture before baking.
Use half black treacle and half golden syrup for a lighter parkin.
Old Recipe taken from Farmhouse Cooking by Mrs Arthur Webb:
1/2lb oatmeal; 1/2lb flour; 1lb treacle; 1/4lb lard (butter); 1/2oz ground ginger; 1 teaspoon sugar; 1 tablespoon milk; 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.
(1/2lb = 225g; 1lb = 450g; 1/4lb = 115g)
Rub butter into oatmeal and flour, and add the ginger and sugar. Heat the treacle until it’s runny and mix bicarbonate of soda with milk. Mix all liquids together. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well. Line a roasting tin of oven tray with greased paper and spoon mixture into. Level with knife. Bake in moderate oven (180C/375F/Gas 4) for 1 1/4 hours. Cut into squares when cooled (circa 1900 recipe)
"A pound of medium oatmeal and half a pound of good fresh butter, half a pound of Demerara sugar, and four ounces of black treacle, half an ounce of ground ginger and a pinch of salt, mace and nutmeg, one egg, four ounces of sliced mixed candied peel. The dry ingredients were mixed and the butter warmed and the hot treacle added. All the ingredients were kneaded together like bread, turned out on a pastry board and rolled out in once piece about two inches thick. This was baked in a large greases and lined meat tin, for about three quarters of an hour, until the cake was done. Slices were cut off as needed when the cake was cold. For tea it was eaten with butter."
Nutrition InformationYield 16 Squares Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 53Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 14mgSodium 44mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 2g