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Parkin – a Guy Fawkes Night Tradition

Parkin is a traditional sticky oat spice cake from northern England that’s enjoyed on November 5, Guy Fawkes Night, i.e. Bonfire Night!



Originally published November, 2007.

Traditionally eaten on Guy Fawkes Night in northern England, Parkin is a sticky ginger, spice and oatmeal cake. Think an oat-y gingerbread with a brownie-like texture. Spouse is a big gingerbread fan and she loves this recipe.

Guy Fawkes Night of course refers to the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up the House of Lords in London. The annual bonfires supposedly started as an annual commemoration that the plot was foiled and King James survived.

In Newfoundland we do refer to the event as Guy Fawkes Night as well, but most often locals will just call it Bonfire Night. There would have been many individual bonfires lit in small communities on the island when I was growing up but most have now given way to organized community events.



Having survived over 4 centuries, it is one of those celebrations that underlines the close connection that we maintain to our British heritage here in Newfoundland.

As a tip of the hat to that historical connection, I researched the few recipes for parkin that I could find online at the time, as well as soliciting the advice of an ex-pat Brit who grew up in Northern England in the Pre World War II era.

He remembers his mother’s parkin, which the children greedily stuffed into their pockets to enjoy beside the evening bonfire. Upon sampling my version he declared it to be spot on. Apparently a dry parkin is not a parkin at all!



Like this Parkin recipe?

You’ll find hundreds of other sweet ideas in our Cakes & Pies Category and even more in our Desserts Category.

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Parkin image with title text


If you liked this recipe you may also like to try our very popular recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding.

How to make Perfect Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

5 from 2 votes
Parkin - a Guy Fawkes Night traditon
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins

Parkin is a traditional sticky oat spice cake from northern England that's enjoyed on Guy Fawkes Night., i.e. Bonfire Night.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: British Inspired
Servings: 15 or more servings
Author: Barry C. Parsons
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup rolled oats large
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup corn syrup or golden syrup if you can find it
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F or 275 F for convection bake. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch pan and line it with parchment paper.

  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and rolled oats in a large bowl.

  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the corn syrup, molasses and brown sugar. Heat until warm but not hot.
  4. Mix this into the dry ingredients.
  5. Beat together the eggs and milk and stir this into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center springs back and is set.
  8. Serve warm or cold, on its own, with caramel sauce or with baked apples.

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Recipe Rating

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Seandelle Goldthorpe (nee Oates)

Friday 5th of November 2021

My Husband is from Yorkshire, England and made this last night. He didn’t expect it to turn out as well as it did. Reminded him of his Childhood sitting around the bonfire with his family on Guy Faulks night. Thanks for posting. Love all your Recipes that we have tried.


Friday 11th of October 2019

What is golden syrup?


Tuesday 15th of January 2019

I just made Parkin last night. It is so good and looks exactly like the pictures you posted! I have a question. Have you ever made it with raisins? I was thinking of trying that next time I make it and wondered if you ever tried it. I was thinking golden raisins.

Barry C. Parsons

Thursday 28th of March 2019

Raisins would be a great addition, I think.


Saturday 19th of May 2018

Can I use honey instead of corn syrup?


Saturday 4th of November 2017

2 tablespoons of ginger seems like a lot. Is that right?

Barry C. Parsons

Monday 6th of November 2017

It really is not for a gingerbread based recipe.

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