The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

about Parkin and recipe

qahtan's picture

about Parkin and recipe

How to Bake Perfect Parkin
A Recipe for Yorkshire Gingerbread - A Moist, Sticky Ginger Cake

Parkin is a traditional gingerbread eaten in Autumn, in Yorkshire. It is a sweet and sticky cake that is perfect for long winter evenings.


Often associated with NorthYorkshire, particularly the Leeds and York regions, the origins of parkin are not known. It is also baked in other Northern regions such as Lancashire. Parkin is a moist and sticky cake which is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, but can be eaten all year round.

Guy Fawkes was born in Yorkshire, and this tasty gingerbread, which originated in that area, is traditionally baked in November to celebrate the foiling of his plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament!

The principal ingredients of parkin are white flour, oats, black treacle or molasses, butter and ginger. All these ingredients were important constituents of Northern, working-class diet in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, so it is likely that parkin evolved in that period. It is a cheap and filling cake that is distinguishable for its dark colour and lovely rich consistency.

Ingredients for Yorkshire Parkin:

  • 175g of plain flour (6oz)

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

  • 300g (10oz) of coarse oatmeal

  • 175g (6oz) of black treacle (molasses)

  • 125g (5oz) of butter

  • 100g (4oz) of dark soft brown sugar

  • 150ml (1/4 pint) of milk

  • 1 egg (medium sized, preferably kept at room temperature).

Method for Making Parkin:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c (medium setting, gas mark 4, 350 degrees f)

  • Sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger powder and salt

  • Stir in the oatmeal

  • Put the treacle, butter, sugar and milk in a pan and hear gently until the butter has melted.

  • Take pan off the heat and leave to cool down

  • When the mixture has cooled to tepid, mix in the beaten egg into the pan

  • Pour in to the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix until distributed evenly and the mixture is brown and sticky

  • Pour all ingredients into a greased and lined 18cm (7 inch) square baking tin or a loaf tin

  • Put in the oven and cook for 1 ¼ hours, until the top is browning and firm to the touch

  • Leave on a cooling rack in the tin for ten minutes

  • Turn out on to the cooling tray

Parkin is best eaten after a week of storage in an airtight tin, as this improves the consistency of the gingerbread. It is ideal served with cheese or eaten around a bonfire!

pmccool's picture

Parkin, its origins and how it is made.  It sounds delicious.  One of my favorite accompaniments for gingerbread is lemon sauce (haven't tried it with cheese, yet).



ehanner's picture


I think I asked you about this on the other thread but I'm confused about the course oats. The images I found for Yorkshire Parkin look like they have a rather course component similar to chopped up rolled oats.  Is that the idea?

Also, do you have a recipe for Christmas cake or pudding? I bought some mail order a couple years ago that came with the Lemon sauce. There was a coin (one pence maybe) attached to the top of the cake container. Heat the cake and pour warm sauce over the top. Rich and delicious.



qahtan's picture

 I wrote all this out just now then lost it. ;-((((((((

My husband buys organic porridge oats. large flake ... so to make the oat meal I needed for the parkin I put some of the porridge through my grain mill a couple times... did OK..

Christ mas pud....

 When my mum used to make Christmas pud, every one , big kids and little kids all got to give it a stir for luck, also a silver sixpence was scrubbed clean and put in the mix, so when rhe pud was cooked and served it was lucky if you got the sixpence, the  sauce you speak of I don't know of it going the cake but a rum sauce, or plain sweet white sauce was served with the pudding, as the pudding came to the table all aflame,,,,,,,

Christmas cake. I have made the same Christmas every year for over 50 years, some times I vary it a bit. but the basic recipe follows,it's a very nice cake and not too rich, some are really too rich........,

Both the cake and the pud should be made a while before Christmas..... Do not

freeze the cake..........................    


Read recipe and method first. Remember the cake is only as good as what goes in it, meaning butter is good, margarine makes the flavour yucky. As with all cakes every thing must be at room temperature. It's best that this cake has the butter and sugar creamed so well that the sugar almost dissolves into the butter, and the rest of the procedure is by hand only.

Oven temp 300', well line an 8 inch cake pan with buttered paper, bottom and sides.

10 oz butter, I use salted, as there is no added salt to recipe

5 oz soft brown sugar

5 oz white sugar

5 eggs

12 oz all purpose flour

8 oz each, currants, dark raisins, light raisins, chopped walnuts, glaze cherries, all red or red and green,

1 tsp powdered mace.


Sift mace into flour, mix all the fruits and walnuts together.

As I said above, cream butter and sugar well, add eggs one at a time and beat in well by hand, after egg 3, add a little of the four to stop any curdling, continue to add other 2 eggs, with a little more of the flour if needed.

Stir in remaining flour, and the fruits, and spoon mixture into baking pan. Cook for 2 hours, then carefully open oven door, place a roasting pan below cake, close door, boil kettle water, carefully open oven again and pour some of the boiling water into roasting pan, about 1-1/2 inches will do, this has to be done fairly fast and carefully, so that the cake doesn't know what you are doing, is the best way to describe it, cook another 1-1/2 hours. Cool in pan. Place tin foil on top of pan while cake is still hot, hot, and try and seal it to pan, so that the steam goes back into cake.

Leave to cool completely, then remove cake from pan, wrap, and save, Do not put in freezer.

The cake needs to mature, and cannot do this in the freezer.

This is called as you can see New Zealand butter cake, as that was the butter that was first used for it.


Marni's picture

Thank you for the background information.  I had been wanting to post and ask if you'd mind providing some history, but haven't had a moment.  So interesting, I plan to try this soon.  Thanks again,


Marni's picture

Do you know where the name Parkin comes from?

rhomp2002's picture

I eat steel cut oats almost every day for breakfast.  Since they are rather coarse would they work for this recipe for parkin?  Or would I need to grind them more.

qahtan's picture

Parkin comes from Yorkshire..................

 I mill my organic large flake oatmeal... twice. qahtan