Traditional recipes

Bonfire Night parkin recipe

Bonfire Night parkin recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Celebration cakes

For my family, Bonfire Night isn't complete without a slice or two of sticky parkin. Let this sit for a few days before serving for best results.

Yorkshire, England, UK

44 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 125g black treacle
  • 50g honey
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 275g medium oatmeal
  • 1 large egg
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:50min ›Extra time:1day23hr40min › Ready in:2days

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a 20cm square cake tin, then line with baking parchment.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the black treacle, honey, butter and sugar together, stirring, until the butter and sugar have dissolved. Set aside until lukewarm.
  3. Sieve together the flour, ginger and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the oatmeal.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg and milk, then add the bicarb and stir into the flour mixture. Add the treacle mixture, and stir until evenly mixed – but don’t overmix.
  5. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes, or until firm to the touch in the middle.
  6. Cool the parkin in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on a rack. Keep in an airtight container for at least 2 days before serving - it becomes more flavourful and moist with time!

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Sticky Ginger Parkin

The Classic Sticky Ginger Parkin cake comes from Yorkshire and is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night in the UK. If you’re a gingerbread fan you need to try it! Make it a few days ahead of time and it will become even more sticky and spicy.

I searched for years for a good Yorkshire Parkin recipe. Maybe it wasn’t the recipes that were at fault – my impatience might have had a lot to do with it!

Little did I know the perfect recipe was right under my nose, sitting in my kitchen cupboard in my Great Grandmother’s 1950’s Good Housekeeping book. You probably have a cook book just like it in your own home – falling apart with pages missing, notes hastily scribbled in the footnotes of recipes and the spine long gone.

Parkin definitely benefits from being made several days in advance. Wrap it in baking paper, place in an airtight tin and forget about it for a few days. You will end up with a beautifully rich, moist spicy cake that is just perfect with a cup of tea.

If you’re planning on going to a Firework/Bonfire display in the next few days, do yourself a favour and tuck a slab of Parkin in your coat pocket. Your future self will thank you for it!

So this is it – the best Parkin recipe I’ve tried (so far!) I’ve increased the ginger flavour even further by adding some of that gorgeous preserved ginger in syrup.

You won’t usually find this in a traditional Parkin recipe, but I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re a big ginger fan like me.

Bonfire Night Parkin Cake

From what I gather, Parkin is traditionally baked until it's quite firm and then left in an airtight container to soften for a few days before eating. The recipe I've come up with gives you all the delicious soft texture straight out of the oven, no wait necessary (except to let the cake cool)! That said it is still a very good cake to bake ahead of time as it retains its moisture very well. The cake is also usually served in squares and baked in a square tin. I've used an 8" round cake tin (because that's what I've got) and sliced the cake into 10 pieces. It worked beautifully. I've also used maple syrup in place of the traditional golden syrup. But, if you can find it, you could use golden syrup or even honey.

Parkin Truffles for Bonfire Night

The 5th November is one of those dates in the calendar that always brings me pangs of homesickness. Back in the UK November 5th is Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes was arrested on November 5th 1605 after he and his colleagues planted explosives under parliament in an attempt to kill the king. Bonfires were lit around London to celebrate the failure of the plot and thus was born a celebration that continues to this day.

Although some places, such as Lewes in Sussex, still hold serious celebrations, for much of the country it is simply an excuse to gather with friends, let off a few fireworks and enjoy some hearty winter fare. November 5th is a date that always triggers food and drink related memories for me, whether it is enjoying a pint of a strong, dark winter brew in a North London pub before heading to the local park for the firework display, or the time we went to the Suffolk coast in early November and the firework party on the beach included an old tin bath full of jacket potatoes wrapped in a blanket.

In Britain, every year at this time food magazines and the recipe sections of newspapers will run articles on hearty bonfire night fare, from sausages and baked potatoes to hot chocolate and toffee apples. A popular item in these articles is parkin, a sticky gingerbread cake from the north of England made with black treacle, oats and ginger. It seemed an ideal candidate to turn into truffles to enjoy on November 5th.

I baked the parkin using a recipe for “Yorkshire Parkin” from “Oats In The North, Wheat From The South” by the Regula Ysewijn ( The initial result can sometimes seem a little dry but leave it for a few days and it almost magically becomes moister and stickier.

The parkin was then crumbled and mixed with golden syrup and butter to form the truffle centres, to which I also added some extra ginger, both ground and crystallised, to boost the flavour. These were then coated in more dark chocolate to make an excellent treat to enjoy on a cold winter night.

Parkin Truffles

2oz golden syrup (or agave syrup)

Pinch ground ginger (optional)

0.5oz crystallised ginger, finely chopped (optional)

Crumble the parkin into a bowl. Melt the syrup and butter together in a small pan over medium heat.

Pour the syrup mixture over the crumbled parkin and mix well to combine. Add ground and/or crystallised ginger if required and a pinch of salt.

Melt 4oz of the dark chocolate over medium heat in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pan of water. Add the melted chocolate to the bread and syrup mixture and stir to combine. At this point you can sneak a little taste to check if any adjustments to the seasoning is required.

When cool, place in the refrigerator for an hour or two until the mixture is firm.

Taking a teaspoon full of the mixture at a time, roll into balls to form the centres of the truffles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then return to the fridge to firm up again.

Melt the remaining 4oz of dark chocolate for the coating in a double boiler. Dip the truffle centres in the melted chocolate to coat and place on baking parchment to set.

How to make Yorkshire Parkin.

Making a Parkin cake, couldn't be easier. Once you've switched on the oven, weighed out all the ingredients, greased and lined your baking tin, you are ready to start baking.

The mixture is a little runny, which is why it's essential that you also line your loose bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. To help prevent any batter from oozing out.

Place the butter, black treacle, golden syrup, and brown sugar in a pan over low heat. Gently simmer until all the sugar and butter have melted. Take off the heat and leave to one side to cool a little.

Place all the dry ingredients consisting of Oatmeal, Flour, Baking Powder and Ginger into a large mixing bowl that is heatproof and gently mix everything together. Then pour the cooled sugar treacle mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Now is the time to add the eggs and milk, but add the milk first and give it a good mix. Then gradually add the eggs and mix until well combined. Remember that the mixture may still be a little warm, you don’t want scrambled eggs.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 35 - 45 mins or until baked, testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean.

Leave in the tin to cool for around 15 mins before removing from the tin onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Parkin can be eaten straight away. But it does improve with age by keeping tightly wrapped in an airtight container for 2 – 5 days, before cutting and eating.

Yorkshire Parkin - Sticky Oatmeal Gingerbread for Bonfire Night

A wonderful tradition from Northern England, in particular from the county of Yorkshire this wonderful gingerbread is traditionally eaten on the 5th November which is Bonfire Night, also called Guy Fawkes night or Fireworks Night. There are many ways to make ginger parkin this is my recipe for this deliciously, sticky and dark gingerbread with oats. This recipe is an egg free parkin, and I was always told that Parkin should NEVER contain eggs in it, whether that is true or not, I'm not sure! Try to plan ahead when you make this recipe, it is MUCH better when kept for 2 to 3 days before eating, as it become stickier and more intense in flavour. This keeps for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container and freezes well, if there is any left! I use jumbo porridge oats in my parkin, for a nice chewy texture - but any porridge oats or oatmeal will be suitable. Please note, if you make this with the suggested alternatives of corn syrup and molasses, it will not be quite the same flavour, but it should still be sticky!

Bonfire Night: Traditional Parkin Cake Recipe

Bonfire Night is upon us and ‘Remember, remember’ is stuck in our heads.

The tradition of Bonfire Night dates back to the failed Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament by a group of of Roman Catholics led by Robert Catesby.

Bonfire night, often named Guy Fawkes night sees towns across the country light huge bonfires, let off fireworks, burn an effigy or a “guy” and celebrate that Parliament is still standing.

Each of these traditions is symbolic. The Guy/effigy is made of old clothes and stuff with straw and is a reminder of Guy Fawkes.

The fireworks are a reminder of the gunpowder Fawkes hid in the cellar of the houses of Parliament.

As well as being used to burn the effigy, the bonfires are used to cook potatoes wrapped in foil and to warm up soups for the crowds to eat in the cold November weather.

One of the lesser known traditions is that of Parkin cake. In Yorkshire, Parkin cake is as much a part of Bonfire Night as the other traditions. The cake is deliciously stick with a ginger kick and perfect for a cold evening. Although the cake is now a bonfire night tradition, it actually predates the gunpowder plot.

Find out how to make your own Parkin cake below.


200g Butter
1 Egg
4 Tablespoons of Milk
200g Golden Syrup
85g Treacle
85g Light Soft Brown Sugar
100g Medium Oatmeal
2509g Self-Raising Flour
1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger


Serves: 16
Cooking and Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cuisine: English


  1. Start by heating the oven to 160c/140c fan/ gas mark 3.
  2. Grease a deep square cake tin and line with baking parchment.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add the milk and the beaten egg together with a fork.
  4. Slowly melt the syrup, sugar, butter and treacle together in a large pan until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the ginger, oatmeal and flour and stir and then add the egg and milk mixture.
  6. Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes and remove when the cake feels firm and has a crunchy top.
  7. Allow to cool and then wrap in parchment and foil.
  8. The cake will keep for up to five days but will probably all be eaten well before them.

For more recipes, go to our blog page where you can find tonnes of great recipes from a variety of different cuisines.

LardButty food reviews

Mrs. Strong’s Yorkshire parkin recipe

Parkin – spicy cake with a slightly crunchy top

With Guy Fawkes night (or bonfire night) approaching (5th November), it’s that time of year to make Mrs. Strong’s parkin.

Now, parkin is a Yorkshire speciality, and Mrs. Strong was our much-loved, jolly, elderly next door neighbour when I was little (she was in her 80s when I was five) growing up in a North Yorkshire village. She had a lively sense of humour and would keep me entertained for hours, telling me stories (about her childhood pranks in Scotland), feeding me with her lovely homemade cakes, and playing board games.

Mrs. Strong’s parkin recipe is simply the best. The main point to note is to use black treacle, not golden syrup. And I’ve adapted it by putting in more spice (surprise surprise).

3 easy steps – Melt butter, treacle + sugar. Mix dry ingredients. Mix together + beat.

Makes about 20 squares

6oz (12 tablespoons) self raising flour

1 – 2 teaspoons mixed spice (add whatever you like from cinnamon, coriander, clove, nutmeg, caraway – I like to add the first four plus a couple of cardomom pod seeds)

2oz (4 tablespoons) brown sugar

250g black treacle (½ of a 454g tin)

Heat oven to 140°C/fan 150°C

1. Sieve all the dry ingredients except the sugar in a bowl

2. Melt the butter, sugar and treacle in a pan

3. Pour the melted pan mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients (a well in middle), then add the beaten eggs + milk. Add the boiling water and beat until it bubbles

4. Pour into a greased baking tray + bake in a pre-heated oven at 150°C for an hour

5. Leave to cool then cut into squares

This cake keeps really well in an air-tight tin and in fact – it tastes even better after a few days (the spices develop somehow over time). And if you freeze some, you’ll have a ready supply of dessert (the spices in the cake taste amazing served with vanilla ice-cream).

Why is Parkin eaten on Bonfire Night?

The traditional cake eaten on bonfire night is Parkin Cake, a sticky cake containing a mix of oatmeal, ginger, treacle and syrup. Other foods include sausages cooked over the flames and marshmallows toasted in the fire. In main town and cities, torch-lit processions are also popular on this night too.

Beside above, how long can you keep Parkin for? two weeks

Herein, what is the difference between Gingerbread and Parkin?

Store Gingerbread in an airtight container. The difference between Parkin and Gingerbread Is usually the addition of oatmeal. Treacle gives the Parkin a dark, rich colour and the oatmeal a nutty texture. As this recipe doesn't contain eggs, it is a good choice for anyone who is allergic to them.

Parkin is a gingerbread cake traditionally made with oatmeal and black treacle, which originated in northern England. Often associated with Yorkshire, particularly the Leeds area, it is very widespread and popular elsewhere, notably in Lancashire.

Top 5 Bonfire Night Recipes for Baking Lovers | MSB Food

Woolly jumpers, crackling fires, hot chocolate, late nights, crisp air, golden leaves. Bonfire season is the embodiment of being cosy, but most importantly, it’s all about wholesome and hearty food. A colourful blend of warm and rich ingredients packed with aromatic spices and sweet flavours, these delectable bakes are bound to get your taste buds into the autumn spirit.

If you’re hosting your own bonfire party this year, treat your guests to these bonfire-inspired tasty bakes. Wrap up warm around a blazing bonfire with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and one of our delicious autumnal treats for the perfect bonfire night. Read on to discover our top 5 bonfire night recipes for baking enthusiasts…

Homemade Sticky Toffee Apples

An old-school favourite, relive your younger years and make your own batch of sticky toffee apples to enjoy, this bonfire night.

300g caster sugar / 1 tbsp sesame seeds or 35g pecan nuts, chopped (optional) / 2 apples, cored / Kelly’s of Cornwall Clotted Cream Ice Cream

Prepare the apples and pierce each with a wooden paddle pop stick to hold. Line a tray with baking parchment. Very gently, dissolve the sugar in a large pan. Don’t stir with a spoon, just move the pan with a swirling motion to move the sugar around. Once it has dissolved, bubble until you have a golden brown caramel. Add the sesame or pecans if using. Working quickly, dip each apple into the caramel, coating them evenly. Place onto the baking parchment. If the caramel becomes a little sticky, just warm it over a low heat until it loosens a little. Serve immediately with Kelly’s of Cornwall Clotted Cream Ice Cream.

Puff Pastry Catherine Wheels

The iconic Catherine wheel firework is given a gastronomic twist here with these delightful puff pastry bites with apple and pecans.


125g plain flour / Pinch of salt / 100g Country Life Butter, chilled / 1 red apple, grated / 3-4 tbsp Nestlé Carnation Caramel / 25g pecans, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Grease 2 baking trays. Place the flour and salt in a bowl, cut the butter into small cubes and toss in the flour until coated. Using a round-bladed knife, stir in 80-100ml water to form a dough, keeping the butter cubes as whole as possible. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface to a rough 28 x 16cm rectangle. Fold the bottom third up to the centre, then fold the top section over, like an envelope. Chill for 20 minutes. Repeat the process 3 more times before finally rolling out to a 30 x 18cm rectangle. Squeeze most of the juice from the grated apple. Spread the pastry with 2 tbsp caramel and scatter over the apple and pecans. Roll up from one long side and cut into 16 slices. Place the wheels on the trays and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Brush with the remaining caramel while still hot.

Recipe by Waitrose.

Fireworks Parkin

Originally from Yorkshire, Parkin has become a symbol of Bonfire night. Give it some additional pizzazz and decorate with candy stars to emulate a firework’s sparkle.


150g Country Life Unsalted Butter / 150g Lyle’s Black Treacle / 150g Lyle’s Golden Syrup, plus 1 tbsp for decorating / 100g Tate & Lyle Dark Muscovado Sugar (selected stores) / 25g fresh ginger, grated / 250g self-raising flour / 2 tsp mixed spice / 100g oatmeal / 1 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Egg / 4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk

Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Grease and base line a 20cm square tin. Melt the butter, treacle, golden syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the grated ginger and cool slightly. Mix together the flour, spice and oatmeal. Stir in the syrup mixture. Whisk together the egg and milk and stir into the mix. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour. Once cooled, brush the top with a warmed tablespoon of golden syrup and decorate with silver balls, stars and edible glitter.

Recipe by Waitrose.

Orange Cream Brandy Snaps

Another British classic, this brandy snap recipe has been given an autumnal twist with a zingy orange cream filling.


125g unsalted butter / 125g light soft brown sugar / 125g golden syrup / 4 tsp lemon juice / 125g plain flour, sifted / 1 tsp ground ginger / For the cream: 600ml double cream / 1 tbsp icing sugar / 1 tbsp orange flower water / zest of 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Stir the butter, sugar, golden syrup and lemon juice in a pan over a moderate heat until the butter has melted and all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and ginger, mixing to a smooth paste. Once the mixture is completely cool, roll in into walnut-sized balls. Press them onto a greased tray, spacing them well apart. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown and lacy. Allow them to relax for a second or two, then mould them into a tube shape by gently wrapping them round the handle of a wooden spoon. If they cool before you can mould them, put them back in the oven for a minute to soften again. Whip the double cream and gently fold in the icing sugar, orange flower water and orange zest. Shortly before serving, put the cream in a large piping bag and fill each brandy snap. Stack them, Jenga-style, on a plate and serve immediately, while they’re chewy and crispy.

Spiced Almond Torte

Infused with fiery autumnal spices, this tasty torte is packed full of flavour for the perfect bonfire night treat.


For the torte: 4 medium eggs, separated / 100g light brown muscovado sugar / 100g golden caster sugar / 300g ground almonds / 100g Taste the Difference farmhouse butter, melted / 1 small shot of espresso or strong coffee/ 1 tsp vanilla extract / 1 tsp freshly grated ginger / 1/2 tsp cinnamon / 1/2 tsp nutmeg / 1/4 tsp cardamom / To decorate: 125g icing sugar / Zest and juice of 1 small clementine / 50g flaked almonds, toasted / Extra clementine zest (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and lightly grease a 23cm round cake tin, or line it with baking parchment. Beat the egg yolks with the sugars in a mixing bowl for a few minutes until creamy and aerated. Add the remaining ingredients and stir through with a large spoon until the mixture is even. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a large metal spoon, add a spoonful of the egg whites to the spiced almond mixture to loosen it before adding the rest of the egg whites and fold them in. Be careful not to over-fold – the mixture should be mousse-like. Scoop the torte batter into the tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 30–35 minutes, or until the cake has risen, looks golden brown and feels firm to the touch. If in doubt, insert a skewer. It should come out clean or with a few crumbs on it. Any wet batter remaining on the skewer means it’s not quite done yet. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before turning the cake out to cool completely. Finally, make the clementine glaze: put the icing sugar in a bowl and stir in the grated clementine zest along with a tablespoonful of freshly squeezed juice. Stir until you have a sticky glaze, adding a little more clementine juice as needed and gently drizzle this over the cake. Once the glaze has set slightly, scatter toasted almonds on top and finely grate a little extra clementine zest for colour.

Watch the video: Making a Traditional Yorkshire Parkin for Bonfire Night (January 2022).