Traditional Parkin

Remember Remember The 5th Of November – Parkin Day!

There’s a small part of me that’s slightly obsessed with the north of England, the beautiful countryside, the beautiful down to earth people , I might be a little biased there as I fell in love with a Yorkshire man. That said I’m often curious about the traditional dishes you get up north, I’ve yet to perfect the Shepard’s pie , everybody tells me it’s super easy, however I have yet to confirm.  It might be because I have a tendency to try and add chilli to everything, I am Indian after all.  There’s the Lancashire hotpot (I have the same problem with this as I do with the shepherd’s pie) , oh and how could I forget the Yorkshire pudding.. golden pastry, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.. delicious ( If anybody can think of anymore , answers on a postcard please!).  Anyway I wanted to make something that I thought Spock would love and remind him of home, so when I asked him he replied ‘Ayup lass why dooant theur mek um parkin?’.  OK so he didn’t say it like that but he did say ‘ Why don’t you try to make some Parkin?’ and followed it up with a verse from a folk song:

‘And we kept eatin’ parkin
We kept eatin’ parkin
We kept eatin’ parkin
That’s why we are so brown!”

By this time I was thoroughly confused so I set about trying to find all I could about Parkin. Turns out the timing was perfect as Parkin is sweet sticky oatmeal and ginger cake that is traditionally eaten on Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night on the 5th November. Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshire man after all! It’s usual made in advance of Bonfire night as the cake developes flavour and becomes even more moist and sticky when left in an airtight container for a few days , some say 1 -2 weeks..but there was no way I could wait that long to taste the sweetness. There’s quite a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that daunt you, it’s so simple you pretty much throw everything into a mixing bowl and then bake! Also if it dips a little in the middle when you take it out of the oven, that’s normal.

Oh and I still don’t know the relevance to parkin in the folk song , so if anyone out there has any idea I’d love to hear from you.

This particular recipe is by Elain Lemm,  and it works a treat ! Oh and if you can’t find medium oatmeal get normal porridge oats and whizz them up for a few seconds in a food processor, try not over-do this you still want to have some bite so leave so you until you have rough crumbs.


Traditional Parkin
Traditional Sweet Sticky Ginger Parkin


  • 8 oz/220g soft butter
  • 4 oz/110g soft, dark brown sugar
  • 2oz / 55g black treacle/molasses
  • 7oz / 200g golden syrup/ corn syrup
  • 5oz/ 120g medium oatmeal
  • 7 oz/ 200g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk


  1. Heat the oven to 275°F/140°C/gas and grease an 8″ x 8″/ 20cm x 20cm square cake tin.
  2. In a large heavy-based saucepan melt together the butter, sugar, treacle, golden syrup over a gentle heat. No need to boil, just melt.
  3. In a large enough bowl mix together all the dry ingredients and gradually add and mixing the melted liquid mixture stirring to coat all the dry ingredients .
  4. Add the beaten eggs a few tablespoons at a time and then finally add the milk and mix well.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1½ hours until firm and set and a dark golden brown.  Use a cocktail stick to see if it’s comes out clean to check if it is cooked.
  6. Remove the Parkin from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once cool store the Parkin in an airtight tin. The Parkin will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.
Sweet Sticky Ginger Cake
Sweet Sticky Ginger Cake


Sweet Sticky Parkin - Perfect for Bonfire Night
Sweet Sticky Parkin – Perfect for Bonfire Night

One Comment

  1. Olivia Spruce

    Parkin looks great!! Found the song on You Tube… Enjoy!! (You have to listen to the whole song because the Parkin bit is towards the end x


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