The Perfect Traditional Yorkshire Parkin

Traditional Yorkshire Parkin recipe

  The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 95 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
320 Calories
16g Fat
44g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 320
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 197mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 35g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 157mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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. It's one of the best cakes for enjoying a taste of Yorkshire.

Yorkshire parkin is primarily the Northern English form of gingerbread, but different parkins are characterized by where they are made. The difference between gingerbread and parkin is parkin typically contains oats, while gingerbread does not. It is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night, November 5, which celebrates the great failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

This parkin recipe is easy to make and creates a lovely, moist, sticky spice cake. And although you can eat the cake almost immediately, it gets stickier if you wrap and store it for several days. In addition to keeping well in an airtight tin, this recipe can be eaten as a cake or warmed as a pudding with a dollop of custard. Use it as an alternative to sponge cake in a trifle, giving it a more autumn-y flavor.


Click Play to See This Moist Yorkshire Parkin Come Together

"The parkin came out moist and delicious. I weighed everything according to the recipe and it was perfect. I used porridge oats, golden syrup, and molasses. You can taste the butter, the slightly caramel flavor of the golden syrup and brown sugar, and the molasses and spice flavors. A real treat!" —Diana Rattray

The Perfect Traditional Yorkshire Parkin Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 8 ounces (220 g) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup (200 g) golden syrup, or light corn syrup

  • 1/2 cup (110 g) soft dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup (55 g) black treacle, or molasses

  • cup (200 g) self-rising flour

  • 1/2 cup (110 g) medium oatmeal, or porridge oatmeal

  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice, or pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making traditional Yorkshire parkin
     The Spruce
  2. Preheat the oven to 275 F / 140 C / Gas Mark 1. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square cake tin.

    A greased 8 x 8-inch pan
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  3. In a large, heavy-based saucepan, melt together the butter, golden syrup, brown sugar, and treacle over a gentle heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil; you simply need to melt them together.

    Butter, sugar, and syrups melted together in a pot
     The Spruce
  4. In a large, spacious baking bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal, ginger, nutmeg, mixed spice, and baking powder.

    Dry ingredients mixed in a bowl
     The Spruce
  5. Gradually add the melted butter mixture, stirring to coat all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

    Melted butter mixed into the dry ingredients
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  6. Gradually beat in the eggs a few tablespoons at a time.

    Beaten eggs added to batter in a bowl
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  7. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time if the mixture feels dry. You are looking for a soft cake batter. Stir well.

    Batter in a mixing bowl with milk on the side
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  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1 1/2 hours, until firm, set, and a dark golden brown.

    Batter poured into prepared pan
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  9. Remove the parkin from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

    Traditional Yorkshire parkin in a baking pan
     The Spruce
  10. Once cool, slice and store the parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of three days for the best flavor. 

    Traditional Yorkshire parkin stored in a tin
     The Spruce
  11. Serve and enjoy.

    Traditional Yorkshire parkin cut into squares
     The Spruce

How to Store

Parkin improves with a little age as it becomes moist and sticky. Store in an airtight container lined with parchment or waxed paper and consume within a couple of weeks. Parkin can also be frozen for longer storage. Wrap in parchment or waxed paper followed by plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge before serving.


  • You can even leave it up to a week before eating, and the flavors really develop, and the mixture softens even further and becomes moist and sticky. The Parkin will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.
  • It is a lovely sticky cake, but also makes a fab pudding with a little vanilla ice cream or go the whole hog and have custard.

Why Is Parkin Called Parkin?

The exact origins of parkin are unknown. The first known reference to the word is from the early 1700s, and the name may have come from a surname. It is popular in northern England during winter months, especially on Guy Fawkes Night.

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