Parkin – spicy black treacle cake for bonfire night

Mrs. Strong’s Yorkshire parkin recipe

Parkin – spicy cake with a slightly crunchy top

With Guy Fawkes night (or bonfire night) approaching (5th November), it’s that time of year to make Mrs. Strong’s parkin.

Now, parkin is a Yorkshire speciality, and Mrs. Strong was our much-loved, jolly, elderly next door neighbour when I was little (she was in her 80s when I was five) growing up in a North Yorkshire village. She had a lively sense of humour and would keep me entertained for hours, telling me stories (about her childhood pranks in Scotland), feeding me with her lovely homemade cakes, and playing board games.

Mrs. Strong’s parkin recipe is simply the best. The main point to note is to use black treacle, not golden syrup. And I’ve adapted it by putting in more spice (surprise surprise).

Download parkin recipe here

3 easy steps – Melt butter, treacle + sugar. Mix dry ingredients. Mix together + beat.

Makes about 20 squares

~ 6oz (12 tablespoons) self raising flour
~ ½ teaspoon salt
~ ½ teaspoon bicarb of soda
~ 1 – 2 teaspoons mixed spice (add whatever you like from cinnamon, coriander, clove, nutmeg, caraway – I like to add the first four plus a couple of cardomom pod seeds)
~ 1 teaspoon ground ginger

~ 2oz (50g) butter/marg
~ 2oz (4 tablespoons) brown sugar
~ 250g black treacle (½ of a 454g tin)

~ 1½ tablespoons milk
~ 2 eggs, beaten
~ 1/8 pint boiling water

Heat oven to 140°C/fan 150°C

1. Sieve all the dry ingredients except the sugar in a bowl

2. Melt the butter, sugar and treacle in a pan

3. Pour the melted pan mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients (a well in middle), then add the beaten eggs + milk. Add the boiling water and beat until it bubbles

4. Pour into a greased baking tray + bake in a pre-heated oven at 150°C for an hour

5. Leave to cool then cut into squares

This cake keeps really well in an air-tight tin and in fact – it tastes even better after a few days (the spices develop somehow over time). And if you freeze some, you’ll have a ready supply of dessert (the spices in the cake taste amazing served with vanilla ice-cream).

Bonfire night’s coming. Bring out the sparklers.


Download parkin recipe here


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