Here’s another recipe I pulled out of a magazine over a year ago with a view to making and sharing on the blog. Parkin cake is, apparently, a tradition in the North of England and not the South, where we live—which may explain why I’d never heard of it before. It dates back to about 1728 and is associated with Guy Fawkes night, or bonfire night, when Brits celebrate the man who tried to bring down the government by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. He failed and was hung, drawn, and quartered. Ouch.
Parkin cake was known as the cake of the poor, because it used oats—the staple grain of the poor—as one of its main ingredients and was traditionally made in early November, after the oats were harvested, which is probably why it became associated with bonfire night, the 5th of November. Essentially, it’s a gingerbread with oatmeal in it and makes a tasty snack on a cold autumn night.
100g / 4 oz / .5 cup butter
100g / 4 oz / .5 cup soft dark brown sugar
1 tbsp black treacle/molasses
4 tbsp golden syrup/corn syrup
225 g / 8 oz / 2.5 cups oatmeal
100 g / 4 oz / 7/8 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
pinch of salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 beaten eggs
2 tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to gas mark 2/ 150°C / 130°C fan / 300°F.
- Melt butter, brown sugar, black treacle/molasses and 4 tbsp golden syrup/corn syrup in a pan over low heat.
- Let the butter and molasses mixture cool a little, then stir it into a bowl with the oatmeal, self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, pinch of salt and ground ginger.
- Mix in the eggs and milk. Spoon into a greased and lined 20.5cm/8 in square cake pan and bake for about 1 to 1.5 hours, until golden.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin, then turn out. Wrap well in greaseproof/waxed paper and store in a container for up to three days.