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50 mins
Parkin Recipe



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Parkin originated in northern England and is a moist and even sometimes sticky cake traditionally made from oatmeal and molasses (a thick, black, sugar cane by-product).

One of the key features of parkin is that it retains its texture well and can be kept for a week or two in a sealed tin or box. In fact, fresh parkin is frowned upon by "connoisseurs", but sometimes eaten warm as a pudding with a dollop of custard. Ah, what memories - I still recall my mother making parkin for Bonfire Night (5 November), which is when it was traditionally eaten to celebrate the famous failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses on Parliament in 1605 (pity about that!!)

      Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

      Cooking Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients for Parkin

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
makes 16 good-size pieces:
8 oz
4 oz
Demerara (turbinado) sugar
2 oz
black treacle/molasses
7 oz
self-raising flour (self rising flour)
7 oz
golden syrup (corn syrup)
5 oz
medium oatmeal
1 teaspoon
baking powder
4 teaspoons
ground ginger
2 teaspoons
ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon
mixed spice
2 large
2 tablespoons


How to Cook Parkin

  1. In a large heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat, melt together the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup. Do not allow the mixture to boil, you just need to melt them to combine them.
  2. In a large mixing bowl stir together all the dry ingredients (oatmeal, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice). Gradually stir in the melted butter mixture and mix thoroughly to coat all the dry ingredients.
  3. Slowly beat in the eggs a few tablespoons at a time, then add the milk and again stir well.
  4. Grease an 8" x 8" (20cm x 20cm) square cake tin and pour in the mixture. Cook in a preheated cool oven (Mk 1 - 275ºF - 140ºC) for 1½ hours until firm and set and a dark golden brown.
  5. Remove the parkin from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Parkin is better for a little "ageing" so, once cool, cut into squares about 2" (5cm) across and store it in an airtight container for a minimum of 3 days (if you can resist the temptation to eat it). You can comfortably leave it up to a week before eating as the flavours really develop and the mixture softens, becoming moist and sticky. The Parkin will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.

If you stick strictly to the recipe, there is more than enough liquid. Any more and the mixture will become too sloppy. The oatmeal must be medium or medium to fine, never above medium since this will create a cake that is too dry.
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