Monday 2 November 2015

Yorkshire Parkin

In the last couple of weeks signs have been going up in the windows of local bakeries and I've noticed a lot of people stocking up on black treacle and oatmeal in the supermarket. The signs have been announcing the availability of a certain seasonal treat – Yorkshire Parkin. For centuries parkin has been baked in early November throughout Yorkshire. It is essentially a regional version of gingerbread but with the vital added ingredient of oatmeal.

Around parts of Yorkshire oats were grown rather than wheat and this was a staple grain of the poor. The oat harvest was usually in the first week of November and fresh oats were traditionally used in the baking of the cakes. Over the years it has become to be associated with Guy Fawkes Night. Between 1606 (the year after Fawkes' failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament) and 1859 the Observance of 5th November Act enforced a national day of thanksgiving for the failure of the plot. Special church services were held and with it more secular celebrations. With parkin being the cake of the month in Yorkshire the mixture of dark, rich sugar, black treacle and warm spices was the perfect partner for the annual smoky firework and bonfire commemorations.

Once thing you must remember about parkin is that it is best made at least a few days in advance so all the flavours can develop and it becomes delightfully sticky.

Equipment: 2lb (1kg) loaf tin lined, large bowl, saucepan, measuring jug.


4oz (115g) Self raising flour
4oz (115g) Oatmeal
1 tsp (5ml) Bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp (15ml) Ground ginger
1 tsp (5ml) Mixed spice
1 tsp (5ml) Ground cinnamon
4oz (115g) Unsalted butter, diced
4oz (115g) Black treacle
4oz (115g) Golden syrup
4oz (115g) Dark brown muscovado sugar
½ pint (280ml) Milk
1 Egg


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.
2. In a large bowl add the flour, oatmeal, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and butter. Rub together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. In a saucepan gently heat together the treacle, golden syrup and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then put to one side to cool down slightly.
4. Whisk the egg into the milk and then pour into the flour and oatmeal mixture. Stir round and then add the treacle mixture. Stir again until it has all been combined. It should be quite runny.
5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin on wire rack before turning out. Parkin does usually sink in the middle.
6. Once completely cool wrap in greaseproof paper and keep for a couple of days before eating.

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  1. This looks delicious. I love parkin but have never made it. Will have to give this a go. #FoodYearLinkup

  2. I've never tried parkin but reading your description I have no idea why as this sounds right up my street - yum! I'll definitely be giving it a try in future.

  3. There's no place, near me anyway (in the US), to get parkin; so must make my own. One of my English grandparents (one I never knew) was from Yorkshire, and I always think of him when I make something like this or Fat Rascals.


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