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!
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Parkin is a traditional sticky oat spice cake from northern England that's enjoyed on Guy Fawkes Night., i.e. Bonfire Night.
- 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
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F or 275 F for convection bake. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan and line it with parchment paper.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and rolled oats in a large bowl.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the corn syrup, molasses and brown sugar. Heat until warm but not hot.
Mix this into the dry ingredients.
Beat together the eggs and milk and stir this into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center springs back and is set.
Serve warm or cold, on its own, with caramel sauce or with baked apples.
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