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How to make proper Yorkshire Parkin

Updated on August 21, 2015
How to make real Yorkshire parkin
How to make real Yorkshire parkin | Source

Yorkshire parkin - recipe from a Yorkshire woman

Wherever we are in the world, there are some home traditions that will always stay with us Yorkshire folk and parkin is one of them. You'll find that there are many recipes for parkin on the internet but this is the best. I suspect that it's similar to the recipe that my mum used to use.

Easy, delicious and evocative

Traditionally, parkin was made with thick black treacle but this is how we make it today. It's just how my mum used to make it and the recipe comes from 'Jac', a true Yorkshirewoman who now lives in New Zealand but like all of us, keeps our traditions alive - and especially our delicious local recipes.

Traditionally served on Bonfire Night

In November, when all English people seem to go a bit crazy and start lighting bonfires all over the countryside, parkin is an absolute essential. Once made store it in an airtight tin - it's actually better the day after cooking, if you can wait (I never can). Enjoy!

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 50 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour


  • 9 oz. flour
  • 3 and a half oz. oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 quarter teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 half teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 oz.margarine
  • 10 oz. Golden Syrup


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put a pan onto a low-medium heat and melt together the margarine and the syrup. Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir often.
  3. Now add the flour, ginger, oatmeal and sugar. Stir well.
  4. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Grease a baking tin (use a little margarine), add the mixture and bake for one hour.
  6. When cooled, cut into squares. Store in an airtight tin. It will keep for a couple of weeks - not that it ever gets the opportunity!
Lyles Golden Syrup 10.6 Fluid Oz Per Tin - Pack 2 Tins
Lyles Golden Syrup 10.6 Fluid Oz Per Tin - Pack 2 Tins

If you can't buy this locally, never fear. It's available online which is the most convenient way to shop.

Although individual tins are available, we buy these two-packs. We use it on pancakes as well as for cooking.

Actually, I can just eat it by the spoonful directly from the tin.


Parkin or ginger cake?

I've told people in the past about parkin and sometimes they will ask 'oh, you mean ginger cake? We have that often' but I promise you that parkin isn't simply a cake flavoured with ginger. Parkin has a texture that I've never come across in any cake anywhere in the world and believe me, I've experimented. (All in the nature of research of course!)

I think that one of the reasons we are so very fond of this is because it tended to be a once a year treat. And it's true that any food that you eat only occasionally is going to be more of a treat than something you have every day.

So in our family (my dad was rather strict about desserts and cakes because of weight issues) it was definitely a bonfire night treat.

In those days,there would be a 'street' bonfire.There was little point in neighbours all going to the trouble of building their own individual fires, so the street would get together as a community and have just the one - the location rotating between neighbours.

This was a great idea. It was the kids who built the bonfires, scouring the neighbourhood for wood, the dads contributed the fireworks and the mums and grandmothers .... they provided the food.

This is excellent because in addition to baked potatoes, beans, sausages and bonfire toffee, it was almost guaranteed that every mum or gran (or even aunt) would provide parkin.

There would also,naturally, be crates of beer for the grown-ups, pop for the kids and thermos flasks full of hot coffee (often containing a nip of rum) which was usually reserved for the ladies.

It's curious really that the population of England would spend a cold November evening standing round a bonfire, eating, drinking and ooh-ing at fireworks.

But it was such fun. We looked forward to it - and prepared for it - for weeks.

Very occasionally, someone's mum would be persuaded, against all traditions and customs, to make parkin at some other time of the year. July for example, or March. Shock, horror. Word would spread like wildfire along the street - 'Jean's mum is making parkin!' And Jean's mum (or whichever lady) would find a rabble of children at her door, just drooling with anticipation at the thought.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson


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    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Looks delicious! Yum

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

      Yum. I love the flavour of brownies - especially with a nice glass of milk.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erin Mellor: Mmm ... I'm sure it tastes better in cold weather :)

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      Just got back from the football and it's cold and foggy out tonight - perfect weather for making parkin.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: "You say aluminium, I say...." It is simple and so very good.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @oztoo lm: Great to meet another Yorkshire lass :) You must make it for your family and I bet this recipe is SO like the one your mum used to make.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      Well, this must be the simplest recipe I've seen for Yorkshire Parkin - yeah, best to avoid that aluminium (ha).

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 4 years ago

      I haven't seen this recipe in years. Growing up in Yorkshire it's an old favorite that Mum used to make. I'll have to introduce my Australian family to it now. Thanks for sharing.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Doug48: I aim to please, Doug :)

    • profile image

      Doug48 4 years ago

      You do know you keep posting this stuff you'll make a skinny boy eeerrr fat?