Parkin (1952)

Sticking with the northern theme, we have the parkin; a cakey gingerbread hybrid that’s been baked commercially throughout Yorkshire for decades. It’s a classic bonfire night treat which means I’m a whole nine months early – not that you need an excuse. A hearty slab of this soft, spiced cake can be enjoyed all year round. 

The recipe is taken from the Good Housekeeping Compendium 1952 which offers sound advice to the amateur baker;

‘In order to make good cakes it is not necessary to know a large number of recipes, but rather to master to perfection the few basic processes required to produce the majority of cakes; these can then be varied in innumerable ways.’

Serves: 4-6


  • 8oz flour
  • 8oz medium oatmeal
  •  A pinch of salt
  • 2 tsps ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  •  1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 6oz dripping
  • 8oz treacle
  • 4oz brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk


  1. Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well
  2. Melt the dripping, treacle and sugar into a saucepan and stir into the dry ingredients
  3. Add the beaten egg and the milk and mix until smooth
  4. Pour into a well-greased and lined square tin, and bake in a slow oven (325F  gas mark 2) for about 1 hour


My parkin was definitely more biscuit than cake, probably owing to the high dripping content. Traditionally, parkin should not be eaten until 24 hours after baking – longer, if you can wait. Leave in an airtight tin and a week later you’ll have a wonderfully moist ginger cake – perfect for an afternoon tea break.

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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