Yorkshire Parkin is an age old ginger cake recipe from Northern England. It's moist, sticky and full of wholesome oats; perfect for Autumn and Bonfire night! It takes just 15 minutes to whip together (no machine required), then sit back as it slowly bakes in the oven and fills the house with a delightful, treacle aroma.
👩🏻🍳 Why make this recipe
Traditionally made with wholesome oatmeal and plenty of sticky black treacle, this is the best kind of ginger cake for cold and frosty nights. Great on its own but extra special when served warm and with custard.
This parkin recipe is one that has been tried and tested again and again. Originally adapted from my Grandmas recipe and then tweaked over the years to get it perfectly moist and crumbly. This rich textured and full flavoured parkin is the only cake recipe I want to be making and eating at the start of November.
To make a 9x9 inch tin (about 16 pieces) of this Yorkshire parkin recipe you will need:
Self Raising flour: This recipe uses UK self raising flour, which is different to the USA version. If you don't have this type of flour, it can be substituted for: 250g (2 cups) of all purpose flour + 2 ½ level tsp of baking powder. For more info see this article on how to make self raising flour.
Fine oats or Oatmeal: Oatmeal is finely sliced oats, which have a fine texture. This helps to produce the perfect chewy texture that parkin is so well known for. The best option for parkin is medium oatmeal. However, if you don't have access to oatmeal you can use normal oats but try to opt for rolled oats or fine porridge oats. If you only have whole oats you could blitz these in a food processor in order to break them up before adding to the recipe.
Muscovado sugar: Muscovado sugar is a coarse, unrefined, dark brown sugar. It contains natural molasses and has a toffee-like taste. The next best alternative is dark brown sugar. However, this is finer, has less molasses and a milder taste.
Golden syrup: Again, I believe this is a UK based product and is best not substituted if it can be helped. Golden syrup is thick and smooth with a golden colour. It has a unique sweet, caramel, buttery taste. If you can't find it in your local store you can easily make your own golden syrup.
Black treacle: Again, a UK product but it can be swapped for dark molasses.
🔪 Step by step instructions
- Pre heat the oven to 140°C (275°F) and line a 9x9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper.
- In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, salt, ginger and oats.
- Melt the muscovado sugar, butter, treacle, and golden syrup over a low heat in a small pan.
- Pour the melted mixture into the flour mixture.
- Gently stir the melted ingredients into the dry mixture until completely combined.
- In a small jug whisk together the milk and egg and gradually add to the cake mixture.
- Carefully transfer the mixture to the lined tin and smooth evenly with a wooden spoon.
- Place in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool, then transfer to a wire rack before slicing into 16 square pieces.
❓ Frequently asked questions
Once made this lovely Yorkshire Parkin can be wrapped in cling film and stored in an air tight container for a good few weeks. The high amount of sugar means that it keeps really well and actually improves with age. - A bit like a Christmas cake.
Once baked this cake can be frozen as a whole or sliced up and frozen as separate pieces. Wrap the whole thing or individual pieces in a double layer of cling film then freeze for up to 3 months.
To defrost leave on the side for a couple of hours - this will take more or less time to defrost depend on the size. Alternatively microwave in 30 second bursts until defrosted and slightly warmed through.
Not baking parkin for long enough can mean the gooey mixture inside will cause the cake to collapse/sink as it cools. However, leaving it for longer can make the parkin too dry. The best advice is to check with a skewer 10 minutes before the end baking. Then make a judgement based on how clean the skewer is.
Yorkshire parkin uses oatmeal and plenty of black treacle. Lancashire parkin, although still northern and still parkin, skips out the treacle and uses just golden syrup. Gingerbread or ginger cake also uses golden syrup and of course ginger, but has no treacle and no oats or oatmeal.
In my opinion parkin isn't parkin without fine oats for that chewy texture and a good amount of black treacle, which makes the cake warming and moist and also gives it a super strong and slightly bitter flavour thats almost like liquorish.
🍰 Other Autumn baking recipes
- Pumpkin and date muffins
- Apple treacle tart
- Plum and rhubarb crumble
- Apple crumble
- Bakewell tart
- How to Roast Chestnuts
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Yorkshire Parkin Recipe
- 9x9 square baking tin
- Greaseproof paper
- Large mixing bowl
- Small saucepan
- Measuring jug
- Wooden spoon
- 250 g Self-raising flour
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- Pinch of Salt
- 250 g Fine oats or medium oatmeal
- 120 g Light brown muscovado sugar
- 150 g Unsalted Butter
- 200 g Black Treacle (or dark molasses)
- 100 g Golden Syrup
- 150 ml Semi Skimmed Milk
- 1 large egg
- Pre heat the oven to 140°C (275°F).
- Line a 9x9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper.
- Sieve 250g self raising flour into a large mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt, 2 tsp ground ginger and 250g fine oats/oatmeal then mix together with a wooden spoon.
- Next place 120g muscovado sugar, 150g butter, 200g black treacle, and 100g golden syrup into a small sauce pan. Put the pan over a low heat and melt, whilst stirring well. Once fully melted, carefully pour into the flour mixture and stir together. The mixture will appear quite thick.
- Whisk together the milk and egg. Then gradually add the milk mix to the cake mixture, stirring well between each addition. The mixture should now loosen up.
- Once all the milk is added transfer the cake mix to the lined tin. Spread evenly across the base of the tin.
- Place the tin in the centre of the oven and cook for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Once cooked remove from the oven. Leave the parkin to cool completely before removing from the tin. This will ensure your parkin stays in one piece. Then transfer to a wire rack before slicing into 16 square pieces.
- The flour in this recipe can be replaced with 250g (2 cups) all purpose flour + 2 ½ level tsp of baking powder.
- Fine oats or medium oatmeal can be swapped for rolled oats or fine porridge oats. Or blitz whole oats in a food processor before adding to the recipe.
- Replace muscovado sugar with dark brown sugar (Note that dark brown sugar is finer, has less molasses and a milder taste).
- If you can’t get hold of UK golden syrup, have a go making your own.
- Black treacle can be replaced with dark molasses.
This post was first published in October 2017. Updated in October 2020 with new images, step-by-step photos and recipe tips & FAQs.