This is a jewel of cake. A modest, dark sponge which sits in a tin, glossy with syrup. Many people aren’t familiar with t’ lovely Parkin, however I have practically been brought up on the stuff (due to my Yorkshire roots – yes, they miss out ‘the’ – hence t’). Now you may be wondering what on earth this is… Well it is a ginger cake from Yorkshire, traditionally made with oats, ginger and treacle. My version is my Grandmother’s and is slightly different – no oats, and golden syrup as well as treacle.
Believe me when I say that this cake is divine. I have tried making the original Parkin, which tasted dry, bitter and unpleasant. This one is treacly, sweet and spicy. The other great thing about Parkin is that it actually tastes better if you keep it for a few days (so feel free to store it for up to two weeks in a sealed tin). Look at the shine on that!:
Although not as fancy looking as the enticing chocolate gateau or victoria sponge, this is a humble cake that tastes of home. The spicing of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon combined with dollops of treacle and sticky syrup is heavenly.
If you don’t happen to have black treacle, then substitute it for golden syrup, but the effect of the gloriously black treacle makes it dark, rich and delicious. If you’re feeling really indulgent, have a blob of clotted cream with your slice. But I am a purist when it comes to this one.
When you find yourself bored of baking batches and batches of pink fairy cakes, and icing each one with sickly buttercream, bake this. You will never go back, perfect for afternoon tea with a scone (ok and maybe a sliver of chocolate cake!).
Gingerbread Yorkshire Parkin
Makes an 8″ cake
110g/4oz light brown sugar/light muscavado sugar
110g/4oz golden syrup
110g/4oz black treacle
225g/8oz self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
150ml/5 floz milk
1) Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan and grease an 8″ cake tin. In a small pan, gently melt the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle until the butter has melted and everything is one big treacly pool. Leave to cool a little.
2) Chuck all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. In a jug, beat the milk and egg together.
3) Pour the milk and egg in to the dry ingredients bit by bit, mixing along the way. Then repeat with the melted treacle mixture. There you have it! Your Parkin mixture. Spoon it into the tin.
4) Bake for 1 hour and leave to cool. Store it in a tin for as long as you can! Although no more than 2 weeks. Eat in syrupy, gingery heaven.
If you want to make a more glamourous pudding, cut this into neat squares and serve with caramel sauce and poached pears in spices – yum yum yum… P.S. make sure your greedy family don’t eat it first (like mine have, quel surprise!) Bake on my chums!