I take great pride in being a northerner, funny accent and all, so I was rather offended when my boyfriend doubted my northern credentials for the simple reason that I had never tried parkin. Parkin, for anyone else who has been living in ignorance, is a traditional cake from Yorkshire or Lancashire, and is basically a ginger cake with oatmeal in. I’m a huge fan of both ginger cake and oats, so it seemed like a winner for me, as well as a chance to treat the aforementioned Lancashire boyfriend to his favourite cake.
The recipe I acquired is from The Great British Book Of Baking, based on the TV series I am yet to see but am guaranteed to love. It’s a straightforward recipe to follow, and was quite fun to make with all the stickiness from the treacle and syrup. The aroma while it was baking was amazing as well. Ginger cake holds fond memories for me anyway – my mum used to have a Marks&Spencer recipe for ginger loaf cake that was one of my childhood favourites. Sadly, she threw away the recipe book when she moved house, so for now I’ll have to make do with the parkin as a substitute. The oats are such a great addition, giving it a bit of extra texture and bite. Not only does it taste glorious, but the stickiness is to die for.
With this cake added to my repertoire, hopefully nobody will have the cheek to question my northern-ness again!
Parkin (from the Great British Bake-Off)
(Makes 1 large cake)
225g plain flour
a good pinch of salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp baking powder
100g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
175g golden syrup
175g black treacle
4 tbsp milk
25g chopped stem ginger
1. Grease and line a 20cm square dish and preheat the oven to 180C. Sift the flour, salt, ginger and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the oatmeal.
2. Place the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle in a pan, and heat gently until melted, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, beat the egg and milk together.
3. Pour the melted mixture and the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, add the chopped stem ginger and mix well to make a thick batter. Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes until firm (mine took about 35 minutes).
4. Stand the tin on a wire rack until completely cool, then turn out the cake and wrap it in foil. Keep it for a week, if you can – I was somewhat impatient and tucked into half of it after 3 days, and kept the other half the full week as recommended and it really made a difference. Both batches were delicious, but the second batch was much more moist, just as gingery cakes should be. Definitely worth the wait!