Friday, 4 December 2015

History Bakers: Yorkshire Parkin

Parkin is essentially the Northern English form of gingerbread. Different Parkins are characterised by where they are made and Yorkshire Parkin, one of the most famous, is made using oats. Traditionally, it is eaten on the 5th of November during Bonfire Night celebrations marking the infamous failure of Guy Fawkes (a Yorkshireman) to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. I love this cake and regularly bake it whatever the time of year.

This recipe is taken from The Yorkshire Dalesman, a monthly magazine of Dales life and industry. Hull History Centre has back copies from April 1939 to June 2013 and they are available to view in the search room (L.9.4). The recipe is easy to make and creates a lovely moist sticky cake. Although you can eat the cake almost immediately, and believe me it’s difficult to resist, I wrap it and store it in an airtight cake tin for several days as it gets stickier.

What you will need...

8oz/220g soft butter
4oz/110g soft, dark brown sugar
2oz/55g black treacle
7oz/200g golden syrup
5oz/120g medium oatmeal
7oz/200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 275 °F/140 °C/gas 1
Grease an 8” x 8”/20cm x 20cm square or loaf cake tin
In a large heavy- based saucepan melt together the butter, sugar, treacle, golden syrup over a gentle heat. In a large baking bowl stir together all the dry ingredients. Gradually add the melted butter mixture stirring to coat all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Part way through the mixing process...

Gradually, beat in the eggs a few tablespoons at a time. Finally add the milk and again stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1 hour, 30 minutes until firm and set and a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

Try to resist the cooling parkin!

Store the parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of three days, you can even leave it up to a week before eating and the flavours really develop and the mixture softens even further becoming moist and sticky. The cake will last up to two weeks in an airtight container.

Sticky and delicious!

Staff comments:
Carol        Absolutely gorgeous! Very moist and just the right amount of ginger
Laura       Fantastic cake! Lovely texture and ginger taste. Great for this time of year    
Claire       Lovely and comforting, a great winter treat
Verity       Perfectly baked!
Elaine       Very moist and tasty
Dave         Very nice. Gingery and filling
Mrs West   Delicious – moist and tangy

Michele Beadle, Reader Assistant

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