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(43 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr


Makes 16 squares

Parkin is a traditional sponge cake from Northern England flavoured with syrupy molasses, oatmeal and ginger. A lovely teatime treat!

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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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…

  • 200g golden syrup
    Golden syrup

    Golden syrup

    goal-dun sir-rup

    Golden syrup is a translucent, golden-amber coloured, sweet 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. Butter a deep 22cm 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. Keep for up to five days before eating if you can – it’ll become softer and stickier the longer you leave it, up to two weeks.

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Comments, questions and tips

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4th Nov, 2018
Found this a little bit dry and not very gingery. Agree Mini Cook 3 Tbsp of ginger. But not sure about the moisture?
Mini Cook's picture
Mini Cook
24th Oct, 2018
Tastes great! But will need more ginger, possibly 3 tbsp.
8th Feb, 2018
Delicious. It seems everyone has their own view on what parkin should be like, probably due to the varying family recipes people grew up with. That aside, this is a lovely recipe that I have made time and time again.
25th Oct, 2017
Made this tonight. Followed every step according to the recipe which is really easy. So good and loved the slightly burned caramel taste coming from treacle.
16th Oct, 2017
i'm not sure if the oven should've been lower, as the top burnt but the underneath was raw, so i had to cut the top off and carry on cooking the middle. maybe i should've used a more shallow tin. however it tastes good and is definitely parkin!
Dark Storm
9th Oct, 2017
Second time round I think I have it right, as scales went off during making last time.
24th Oct, 2016
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
1st Jul, 2016
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!!
17th Nov, 2015
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.
3rd Nov, 2014
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.


bobcooks's picture
10th Nov, 2015
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
19th Nov, 2015
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. 
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