The Perfect Traditional Yorkshire Parkin Recipe

Traditional Yorkshire Parkin

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Ratings (72)
  • Total: 110 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: 1 Yorkshire Parkin (6 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
876 Calories
37g Fat
135g Carbs
7g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sticky, moist, tasty, and ever so comforting, a traditional Yorkshire parkin is the stuff of winter nights and bonfires. 

Yorkshire parkin is primarily the Northern English form of gingerbread, but different parkins are characterized by where they are made. Those from Yorkshire are the most famous and the ones made there use oats, which make them different to others. Parkin is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, November 5th, celebrating the great failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. (Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshireman.)

This parkin recipe is easy to make and creates a lovely, moist, sticky cake - though you can eat the cake almost immediately. It gets stickier if you wrap and store it for several days. The other beauty of the cake is it keeps well in an airtight tin, can be eaten as a cake or warmed as a pudding with a dollop of custard and an alternative to sponge cake in a trifle, giving it a more autumn-y flavor than a light summer trifle.

Parkin is one of the best cakes for enjoying a taste of Yorkshire.


  • 8 oz./220 g. butter (soft)
  • 1/2 cup/110 g. dark brown sugar (soft)
  • 1/4 cup/55 g. black treacle (or molasses)
  • 1 cup/200 g. golden syrup (or corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup/110 g. medium oatmeal
  • 1 cup/200 g. self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp. milk (if needed)

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 275 F/140 C/Gas 1.

  2. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square cake tin.

  3. In a large, heavy-based saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, treacle, and golden syrup over a gentle heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil, you simply need to melt these together.

  4. In a large, spacious baking bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.

  5. Gradually add the melted butter mixture, stirring to coat all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

  6. Gradually beat in the eggs a few tablespoons at a time.

  7. Finally, add a tablespoon of milk at a time, if the mixture feels dry. You are looking for a soft cake batter. Stir well.

  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1 1/2 hours, until firm, set, and a dark golden brown.

  9. Remove the parkin from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

  10. Once cool, store the parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of 3 days, if you can resist eating it. 

Kitchen Notes

  • You can even leave it up to a week before eating and the flavors really develop and the mixture softens even further and become moist and sticky. The Parkin will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.

  • It is a lovely stick cake, but also makes a fab pudding with a little vanilla ice cream or go the whole hog, and have custard