Ginger Parkin Cake

by Dominic Franks from @DomInTheKitchen

Ginger Parkin is a traditional cake from Yorkshire that dates back to pagan times and was baked in the Autumn to mark the turn of the seasons. The cake itself is filled with robust and inexpensive ingredients such as oats, golden syrup and black treacle which creates a delightfully sticky, chewy cake. But it’s the generous amounts of ginger that really packs a punch, bringing this cake alive and adding a depth of flavour that only improves with time!

I love ginger.  It’s so versatile and whilst it has quite a distinct flavour it can be used in so many sweet and savoury dishes that its unique profile only adds freshness and bite to every dish it’s used in. I love both fresh and dried ginger. Using it fresh works really well in Asian-inspired dishes such as stir-fries or steamed dumplings. Dried ginger is glorious as one of the ‘Christmas’ spices but add it to stewed fruit for a crumble or with apples and plums in a cake and it has a depth of flavour that is unbeatable.

I’ve gone really generous here with the ginger for this ginger parkin but dial it up or down depending on what you like.

Kitchen tools:
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Prep:  8mins

Cooking time: 50 mins

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 8-12


  • 200g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 85g treacle
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g medium oatmeal
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

Heat the oven to 140C fan. Butter a deep 22cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment – I’m using a 31 cm oval ceramic casserole dish.

Beat the egg and milk together with a fork, then set aside.

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.

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 the tin in more parchment and foil and place somewhere cool.

Tip: The most important key to making parkin is to LET IT SIT IN A SEALED CONTAINER FOR AT LEAST 3 DAYS BEFORE EATING.  The resting time is what develops both the texture and the flavour of the cake and is essential.  The oats will soften, the treacle and golden syrup will fully penetrate and soak through the grains, and the flavour of the ginger will fully develop.  So don’t be impatient, let time do its intended job!


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