Thursday, 5 November 2015

Bonfire Night Parkin

It's bonfire night, and here's a cake to warm you up. A classic bake of Yorkshire, this cake is perfectly autumnal. Rich with oats and treacle, yet heavily spiced with ginger and cinnamon, it's a delicious treat whilst watching the fireworks. I've topped the cake with honeycomb, also known as cinder toffee, which is another sweet sold at every bonfire night display.

This is a super simple cake to bake, as the butter and sugar are melted together - no laborious creaming is required! This cake gets even better after being left a few days after baking :)

If you've never tried parkin, give it a go, and let me know if you like this English delicacy :D

Makes one 20cm cake


For the parkin:

  • 175g golden syrup
  • 50g treacle
  • 110g butter
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 75g porridge oats 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp milk

For the honeycomb:
  • 75g granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


1. Preheat your oven to 140c/130c fan/ gas mark 1. Grease the base of a 20cm circular cake tin.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the syrup, treacle, butter and sugar together. Stir frequently until all of the butter has melted.

3. Sift into the pan the flour and spices, and fold in. Once no more flour can be seen, add the egg and milk to the pan. Beat briefly, this will be a  very loose cake mixture.

4. Pour into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 75-90 minutes, until the sides of the cake are coming away from the tin, and the center feels firm to the touch.

Before baking

After baking

5. Leave for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto the wire rack to cool fully. Store in an airtight container.

6. Make the honeycomb. In a medium saucepan pour in the sugar and golden syrup. Stir briefly to melt the sugar, then remove the spoon from the pan.

7. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and have a whisk by the pan, ready for use.

8. Leave the mixture to boil WITHOUT stirring, until the caramel becomes a golden brown (this takes about 5 minutes). Take off the heat, and add the bicarbonate of soda. Whisk quickly and vigorously (the mixture will bubble up a lot at this point). After 5 seconds, pour onto the prepared tray - be very careful not to touch the molten honeycomb at this stage!!

9. Leave to set for approximately 30 minutes until firm to the touch. Break into shards.

10. Top the cake with the shards of honeycomb to finish.

11. Enjoy!

Love honeycomb? Then you'll love my chocolate and orange, and white chocolate and ginger honeycomb crunchies! :)
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  1. Just found your recipe...looks and sounds delicious! I've been able to figure out what to use for treacle, but am stuck on porridge oats. Are they made through a particular type of milling? Can I use another type of oats? Thanks!

    1. Hi there! It is amazing, especially if after baking you leave it in an airtight tin for a few days :D. You can use any type of oats :)
      In the UK (or at least around me) the usual oats you buy in the supermarket are called "porridge oats". I've used oats that are finely milled or whole before, and both work really well. Hope that clears things up :)
      Let me know how the cake goes! ^_^