Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr


Makes 16 squares
A traditional sponge cake from Northern England flavoured with syrupy molasses, oatmeal and ginger

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal248
  • fat11.4g
  • saturates6.7g
  • carbs33.3g
  • sugars18.5g
  • fibre0.9g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.5g
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  • 200g butter, plus extra for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 large egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 4 tbsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 200g golden syrup
  • 85g treacle
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g medium oatmeal
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease a deep 22cm/9in square cake tin and line with baking parchment. Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.

  2. Gently melt the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter together in a large pan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Mix together the oatmeal, flour and ginger and stir into the syrup mixture, followed by the egg and milk.

  3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 mins - 1 hr until the cake feels firm and a little crusty on top. Cool in the tin then wrap in more parchment and foil and keep for 3-5 days before eating if you can – it’ll become softer and stickier the longer you leave it, up to 2 weeks.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (23)

vancanwak's picture

I think the description 'a traditional sponge cake' in the title is more correct than Parkin. This is delicious and great with custard. Parkin is much denser and eaten on its own. I suppose one man's meat is another man's poison

Gabi_AMJ's picture

So delicious! I 1st made this for my Dad's b'day- it was his childhood favourite- and we all love it so much that it's become an annual tradition. It's super easy to make and I love that you can make it way in advance- although it tastes amazing whenever you eat it, I've found that it really benefits the few days to absorb moisture. The taste is so moreish, really gingery, almost spicy, and goes down a treat with coffee (or tea). Would definitely recommend!!

becky_j88rls's picture

Ive made this recipe twice now, the first time it was quite dry and crumbly and seemed to be lacking in flavour but I added a bit extra treacle and more ginger this time and it was delicious. We couldn't wait the 3-5 days and had some still warm but it was lovely and moist and had a great flavour.

Pittstop71's picture

I honestly don't know why people are complaining this isn't authentic? I was born in Yorkshire and my mum and grandparents would often substitute margarine or butter when baking for lard, fat is fat after all. But nowadays LARD is largely unfashionable and substitutions have become normal. The results often taste better.

As for the people complaining the mixture is too dry, I'd check your weight scale, I've just made this as per the exact proportions above and the results are very wet, maybe you weighed out 1kg of flour by mistake.

If you want to conserve more of the treacle I'd suggest weighing all the wet ingredients directly into the pan before putting it on the heat with the sugar. That way you loose far less transferring it from pan to pan.

I did find another recipe for Parkin yesterday that called for two eggs and more milk, and cooked the resulting mixture for longer. I'd say if the results do look TOO wet, reduce the heat slightly and add maybe 30 minutes to the cooking time, but remember to test about 45-60 minutes in as it can dry out very quickly.

islacraig's picture

Very easy recipe but even though I left it for over a week, it was very dry and crumbly, i don't think I'll bother making this again.

jul34es's picture

Made this for later and it smells absolutely yummy and looks so moist.

stockportcook's picture

I agree with Rach. More syrup, where's the lard, and ADDING AN EGG!!!!????? Still I'm sure it tastes nice enough. As for the rest of you, suck it up and leave it for a week minimum as it tastes MUCH better. If you can get it off your teeth in less than 10 mins, it's too young, my Mum used to leave it for 4 weeks before we were allowed to try it. To quote from the Wikipaedia entry, 'Fresh parkin is frowned upon'.

singaporemum's picture

Very easy to make. Went down well with warm custard.

littleredpotato's picture

I wanted to make something like gingerbread (I'm in the US) but I didn't want to fuss too much with creaming butter and sugar. I found this recipe (had Lyle's in the cupboard and substituted molasses for the treacle) and I baked it this afternoon.

Wow...this is absolutely delicious. I expected it to be heavier especially with the all the butter and treacle/molasses but this is going to be great with some tea.

happydays95's picture

Message for to weigh syrup, put your pan on top of your scales and turn the dial to 0 zero....then weigh amount of syrup required e.g. 200 grams, then 85 grams black treacle (285) on dial, then add rest of ingredients....and heat in same pan.hope you can understand what I'm talking about.

nik1977's picture

Tastes nice but best eaten when still warm, I found it went dry when left for a few days.

radeth's picture

This is not a true Parkin recipe; where's the lard, vinegar & bicarb?
Yorkshire Parkin is dark, slightly sticky and better for leaving a few days before eating.
This is more like the gingerbreads favoured in the south.

marlenebrassington's picture

I would love to make this Parkin, but how do you measure syrup and treacle by weight withoiut scales? Any ideas out there!

The White Monk's picture

Hi, I know this is years after the original question but may help others. You could use "cups" which is an American unit of measure typically used in cooking. Liquids and dry ingredients are all different in cups so you must know your conversions. So for liquids 1/4 cup = 60ml. It will not be as accurate as weighing but its close and will work for your recipe.

To get an idea of measuring different ingredients using cups here are some examples: Liquid - 1 cup = 240ml, Dried ingredients - 1 cup flour = 150g, 1 cup caster sugar = 225g, 1 cup icing sugar = 115g, 1 cup brown sugar = 175g and 1 cup sultanas = 200g! So as you can see cups can vary depending on what is being measured. So you need to follow the entire recipe using one unit of measurement i.e. either cups or weigh in metric or imperial.

janineclayton's picture

amazing, quick and simple, managed to abstain for 2 days, now really sticky and delicious, hubby says needs more black treacle thou,
definitely making for bonfire party next weekend

glenyst's picture

I'm from Leeds, and this doesn't look dark enough for Parkin to me. It's a cake traditionally served on Bonfire Night (only, or thereabouts) and is usually made with more treacle and less golden syrup. You MUST make it in advance and save it for the day of your Bonfire or Firework Party. It goes beautifully sticky over a few days.

bridgethorpe's picture

Really tasty parkin. I increased the oatmeal and decreased the flour by 25g and added more ginger. The best one yet

woodyweb's picture

Fantastic recipe, so easy yet so tasty! Trying to leave it a few days, haven't managed it yet!

sameshrie's picture

Lovely, easy and quick. Will add more ginger the next time though. Real comfort food.

dracula1's picture

Gorgeous! No chance of it being left 3-5 days however. Made it this afternoon and looks like I'll have to make another tomorrow!
My wife said it's the best parkin she's ever tasted. Can see this being made on a regular basis, so easy too


Questions (2)

bobcooks's picture

I cannot buy self raising flour in Thailand that is any good. so I used plain flour and 2 heaped teaspoons of baking the beginning the cake rose quite well at 140 degrees C fan oven, but had sunk a little in the middle by the end of 50 minutes - I didn't open the door until the end of the 50 minutes.
What went wrong please?

goodfoodteam's picture

Normally a cake will sink for a number of reasons: if there is too much baking powder, the oven hasn't come to the correct temperature before baking, there is too much syrup or treacle, or it isn't fully cooked, however looking at other recipes for you, the general census is the Parkin does sink in the middle and it isn't anything to worry about. If the top of the cake looks a bit wrinkled rather than crusty this is a sign that there is too much baking powder in the cake, so next time try using a 5ml measuring spoon and using 2 1/4 tsp baking powder if converting plain flour to self-raising as the Good Food Kitchen recommends uses 1 tsp baking powder to every 110g of plain flour. 

last edited: 16:51, 19th Nov, 2015

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