Blog original written for the Manchester based online magazine ‘4 Manchester Women’
Parkin…feels like I haven’t made this for a while…it’s been 12 whole months since it popped out of my recipe books and made an appearance in my well used ovens. Each year I make several batches to give to friends and family and to take along to Bonfire night parties, and each year I wonder why I don’t get it out more often. As I sit and write this, the smell of Parkin wafts through the house as it rises in the oven. Will I be able to resist trying a little later on tonight? As Parkin vastly improves in taste and texture if you leave it for a few days, I tell myself I will wrap is tightly in foil and leave it well alone until the weekend….if this happens it will be a first, no cake in this house lasts longer than 24 hours…we love our cake and we certainly eat it…one of the major advantages of baking for a living.
So what exactly is Parkin? Well there is lots of history to it which I won’t detail here, basically it comes from up North (yippee) and is kind of a cakey version of gingerbread, often baked with oatmeal and treacle. Records of it trace back a good few centuries and no-one seems to know exactly why it has been associated with November 5th (not too concerned about that, just want it to taste good). Recipes vary massively, we normally bake one that contains treacle and oatmeal, but decided to give this a go this year….
Auntie Eva’s Parkin Recipe
Good old Auntie Eva brings us this one from her home in Bradford at the age of 93! Still sharp as her name (Eva Sharp) she will be delighted to know that her favourite Parkin recipe is being shared with others.
2 breakfast cups of self-raising flour
1 breakfast cup of sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4oz stork margarine (she is very particular about that!)
1 small table spoon golden syrup
1 cup boiled milk
Really simple to make, just mix the dry ingredient’s, rub in the margarine and pour over the milk and syrup – stir well and bake in a 20cm square tin. Bake for 1 hour at 100 degrees, then turn the oven up by 10 degrees and bake for another half an hour.
If you want to add the oatmeal, just reduce the amount of self-raising flour and replace it with the equivalent amount of oatmeal , either double the amount of golden syrup or add a tablespoon of treacle.
Bakers tip: to help you spoon in the syrup and treacle, place your metal spoon in a mug of boiling water before using it – the syrup will just slide of the spoon into your mixing bowl.
Wrap your parkin in foil and leave it for a few days before eating.