Eleanor Rose

Forum Host
Nov 26, 2016
central NC

Parkin is an authentic old-fashioned English oatmeal and treacle (molasses) cake. It is a delicious sticky cake that reminds me of traditional gingerbread.


1 1/4 cups medium oatmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (maybe just a tad bit more)
1/3 cup black treacle (just fancy molasses)
1/3 cup golden syrup (cane syrup)
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup milk

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line it with baking parchment. You don’t need to line the ends.

Weigh out the dry ingredients and put into a large bowl. Stir together.

Put the butter, treacle, syrup and milk into a saucepan and warm over a medium heat until the butter is just melted. You don't want to boil the milk - just heat it to melt the ingredients together properly.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Mix the ingredients together with a spoon until fully incorporated. The mixture will be runny.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place it in the middle of the pre-heated oven.

Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours. If the cake around the edges springs back a little and the middle is at least set, that will do. Don’t over bake it or it will dry out!

Remove from the oven and allow it to fully cool.

Eleanor's Notes: Once it's cool, wrap the parkin in waxed paper and put it away in a tin with a lid for a couple of days to allow it to develop its full stickiness. If you don't have a tin, just wrap it in tin foil. It will be hard not to eat it right away, but it will be magnificent in a couple of days!

For my tea lover friends like @donna and @Anna Elizabeth Henry, parkin goes well with Earl Grey tea, but I think Earl Grey is delicious with anything gingery.

I'm guessing some of our CWT friends from Canada and England will be familiar with this recipe. @Northern Light, have you tried this? I've already checked with @Steph-GB and she agrees that parkin is delicious!

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Hussar Yeomanry

Dec 6, 2017
In response to:

"I'm guessing some of our CWT friends from Canada and England will be familiar with this recipe. @Northern Light, have you tried this? I've already checked with @Steph-GB and she agrees that parkin is delicious!"

It's a regional thing. I grew up in the south of England and had never heard of it. However in the north, and especially Yorkshire it is very well known and loved.

Deleted User CS

Retired User
Mar 18, 2015
Ellie. I hereby instantly nominate this delicious recipe for an award. This cake looks absolutely delicious. I love a cake that is dense and moist. This would pair greatly with a nice hot cup of tea WITH HONEY on a cold winter day or night. This is one recipe I will be definitely adding to my dessert repertoire. David.

Northern Light

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Jul 21, 2014
I have heard of it, but never had it. I thought it was from Scotland, so I have already learnt something new morning!
I may need to make this for my son, who like me loves anything ginger.

A bit more information about parkin:

Yorkshire parkin is primarily the Northern English form of gingerbread, but different parkins are characterized by where they are made. Those from Yorkshire are the most famous and the ones made there use oats, which make them different to others. Parkin is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, November 5th, celebrating the great failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. (Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshireman.)
(The Spruce Eats)

According to Wikipedia, parkin is an ancient food, and one that follows Britain's history from pagan times to now. changing as the country changed, but basically staying the same.

Parkin is virtually unknown south of the Humber (River) It is eaten in an area where oats were the staple grain for the poor, rather than wheat. It is closely related to tharf cake – an unsweetened cake cooked on a griddle rather than baked.[7] The traditional time of the year for tharf cakes to be made was directly after the oat harvest in the first week in November. For festive occasions, the cake would be sweetened with honey. In the seventeenth century (about 1650) sugar started to be imported from Barbados, and molasses was a by-product of the refining process. Molasses was first used by apothecaries; to make a medicine theriaca, from which name the word treacle is derived.[8] As molasses became plentiful, or treacle as it became called at that time, it was substituted for honey in the preparation of tharf cakes.[9]

In Northern Europe honey was used as a medicine, for festive cakes and making mead; before 1750 sweetness was not a characteristic of everyday food. Honey cakes had a special festive significance. They were baked to be hard, but after storage for a couple of weeks they regained their moisture becoming soft and even sticky. Molasses has the hygroscopic property. German Lebkuchen and Pfefferkuchen were other examples of hygroscopic holiday ginger-breads. They too were baked hard in summer and allowed to moisten for consumption at Christmas.[10]

Though parkin and tharf cake appear to be synonymous, all parkins generally were sweet tharf cakes.[6]

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