Those of you who don’t live in the north of England probably haven’t heard of parkin before. It’s a cake made of treacle, butter, sugar – you know, all the healthy stuff – and ginger, and it’s traditionally eaten on bonfire night.

Its tastes similar to a sticky ginger cake but whole oats give it a nice coarse texture.

Now, I read somewhere parkin is supposed to mature a week or two before it’s eaten. After a minute or two of laughing I accepted early on that cake doesn’t last that long in our house, so feel free to mature in an airtight container for a week or two if you have more willpower than we do.

I’ve baked this as a loaf, but you can also bake it in a brownie dish, cutting it up into squares. Enjoyed warm with a bit of cream, you’re onto a winner!

Serves 2 (over a weekend)

200g unsalted butter
200g golden syrup
85g black treacle
85g soft brown sugar
250g self-raising flour
100g rolled oats
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
4 tablespoons milk
A pinch of salt

  1. Add the butter, golden syrup, black treacle and brown sugar in a large saucepan and place over a low heat until the butter has melted. Leave to one side
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, oats, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl and pour into the saucepan of molten calories, before mixing together
  3. Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl. Add a couple of dollops of the saucepan mix into the egg and milk bowl. This tempers the eggs, bringing the egg up to temperature, thus preventing the eggs from scrambling when you pour into the saucepan
  4. Once tempered, pour the egg and milk mix into the saucepan and quickly mix together, careful not to overmix
  5. Pour into a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper and place in the centre of a pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes at 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1
  6. Remove from the oven when a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy with fireworks!

Top tip

  • There is no clean way of pouring treacle out of a tin, unless you get the squeezy tube. Either way, when weighing it, it’s best if you way it directly into the pan to minimise the mess
  • I use whole oats to give the cake some coarseness. If you try this and don’t like the texture, ground the oats first before using them
  • When melting the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup, make sure you use a large saucepan – it needs to be big enough to hold the flour too.

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