Traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, parkin is an autumnal classic that is definitely due a revival. With a wonderfully nubbly texture and a deep, rich flavour, it’s a suitably seasonal snack from autumn to Christmas and beyond.

It’s also a joy to make. Everything is thrown into a saucepan and gently stirred together, a soothing process if ever there was one. I always enjoy baking something that requires no noisy equipment.

The hardest part about the recipe is not eating it straight away. It is absolutely necessary to give the cake a good 5 days – minimum – before slicing, and it will get stickier and more delicious the longer it sits. Make it a week ahead for best results.

The ingredients below are specified by weight, rather than volume. Because the whole thing is made in a saucepan, it really is the fastest and easiest way to simply pour everything straight into the pan, on a zeroed digital kitchen scale.


200g salted butter, plus a little extra to grease the tin
1 large egg
4 tbsp milk
200g golden syrup
85g black treacle or blackstrap molasses
85g light soft brown sugar
100g rolled oats or porridge oats
250g self-raising flour (see Tip, below)
1 tbsp ground ginger

Tip: If you can’t get self-raising flour, make your own by combining two cups of plain or all-purpose flour and four teaspoons of baking powder. Sift together to ensure it’s evenly combined and lump-free, then weigh out as directed.


Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C / 140C Fan. Butter a medium-sized square or rectangular metal cake tin and then line with nonstick baking parchment.

Add the egg and milk together in a small jug and beat together with a fork.

To a saucepan, measure in the golden syrup, treacle or molasses, sugar and butter. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.

To a bowl, add the oats, flour and ginger. Mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the saucepan all at once, then stir to combine. Next, add the egg and milk mixture and stir vigorously until incorporated.

Scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 1hr – 1hr and 10mins, or until the cake feels firm to the touch and slightly crusty on top. (If you’re unsure, give it another 5 – 10 minutes. You can’t really overdo it.)

Cool in the tin, then wrap the cake in more parchment and then a layer of tin foil. Keep it somewhere safe – away from prying eyes and picky fingers (or paws, in my case) – and after as many days as you have patience for, cut into squares and serve with a cup of tea.

2 thoughts on “Parkin

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