Parkin cake is a classic recipe, a traditional Yorkshire sweet and spiced cake that has oatmeal at its heart. Whilst its a favourite bake of mine, I have only recently found out that it has a link to fireworks night. Whilst you may think of the 5th of November as Guy Fawkes night, in Leeds the celebration is ‘Parkin Day’. So as fireworks night approaches I thought it was time to share my Southern take on the Northern classic.
Parkin is a robust cake which is traditionally eaten with either a slice of cheese or an apple. Because it is quiet a dense cake I have developed the recipe to bring in moisture from fruit, by using Pears. I absolutely love pears and am lucky to have access to traditional orchards across the South East, which grow fantastic varieties that influence my autumnal recipes, and Parkin is no exception. This recipe takes customary foods of the North and the South, then adds English oats to make a truly Great British cake.
A ‘cut and come again cake’, Parkin its the kind of cake that can be baked and eaten on fireworks night, then stored in a tin to enjoy for several days.
240g plain wholemeal flour
1 scant teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 generous teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 generous teaspoons of ground ginger
120g coarse oatmeal
120g medium oatmeal
180g barley malt extract (molasses or golden syrup can also be used)
120g lightly salted butter
100g Demerara sugar
125ml organic milk
1 large organic egg whisked
1 firm pear
A little extra butter and sugar for coating the pears.
Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
Grease a loaf tin.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger into a large mixing bowl.
Then mix in the oatmeal.
Place the barley malt extract, sugar and butter into a saucepan and melt into syrup. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
In the mixing bowl make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in the syrup and mix thoroughly.
Then stir in the milk.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg.
Add the egg to the mixture slowly, making sure to fully stir it through the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the tin.
Wash the pear and cut it into 4-5 vertical slices or enough to cover the length of the loaf tin.
Then carefully place the pear slices onto the top of the Parkin mixture. Push them into the mixture a little, but don’t let them sink into the cake.
Rub or brush a little butter onto the pear slices and sprinkle with a little sugar. This will caramelize the pears in the hot oven.
Cook for 25 minutes at 170C.
Then turn the Parkin and reduce the heat to 150C.
Cook for a further 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted into the Parkin comes out clean.