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Gill Bland

Sparklin’ Parkin for bonfire night

Posted by Gill Bland Thursday, 30th October 2014



Mr Bland, who is a Yorkshire-man by birth, first introduced me to Parkin. In Yorkshire parkin is a Bonfire Night tradition and I can see why. The best way to describe it to those of us more southerly born is that it’s a really dense ginger cake. It is warming and sweet but the addition of oats and treacle create a depth of flavour and density of texture that is perfect for keeping the cold at bay on a cold November night. It’s also sturdy enough to be wrapped up and shoved in a coat pocket for the walk home!


Ideally parkin is made a few days (or even a week) before you want to eat it, as it matures excellently. However, it is still very good eaten fresh out of the oven, especially if drenched in custard. I am told that is also good eaten with a nice sharp cheese such as Wensleydale so I suppose I’ll just have to try that out and report back.


I have given the option to sub-in oat granola for some of the porridgr oats as I like the extra texture it gives. If you do that you need to bring the sugar down a little as noted in the recipe below. 


Bonfire Cake 



  • 225g porridge oats OR 175g porridge oats & 50g oat granola
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground ginger (Some people like to ½ tsp cinnamon or if you like it fiery you could also add chopped stem ginger)
  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g soft dark brown sugar OR 200g if using granola
  • 170g black treacle
  • 60g golden syrup
  • 120g butter
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 250ml milk



  1. Preheat the oven to 170c (160c fan)
  2. Grease and line a large loaf tin – the  2lb kind
  3. Measure the treacle, butter and sugar into a saucepan and heat gently until melted
  4. While this is happening, sieve the flour, baking powder, and ginger into a large bowl
  5. Stir the oats and granola into the flour
  6. One the treacle mixture is melted add it to the flour and oats and mix together well. It might be quite stiff
  7. Add the egg and milk and stir well again
  8. Pour into a tine and bake at 170c for 30mins, then turn down to 150c for another 30mins
  9. Use a skewer to check it’s cooked. Wrap in brown paper and leave in an airtight tin to mature for a few days.





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