Blog has moved, searching new blog...

This blog is now called Butcher, Baker has moved to:
Find all of these posts and much more over there.
Scroll down to see the post you're expecting!

Butcher, Baker

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Piles of Parkin

Parkin has been on "must bake" list for a while and when Sylvie @ A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit made some for British Food Fortnight I decided I had to give it a go.

Parkin is from Yorkshire and traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night. The principle ingredients of parkin are flour, oatmeal, fat (traditionally lard), black treacle and ginger. Lyle syrups are archetypal ingredients in British baking and the tins are kitchen icons. Black treacle reminds me of cooking Christmas cake with my mum. There was always a fight as to who would lick the spoon clean. As a child I was always intrigued by the lion logo on the tin. Innocent little me thought it was a sleeping lion with stars above it; in reality it is a dead lion with a swarm of bees. No I don't get it either, though wikipedia does go some way to explain it. I perfer to think it is still a lion happily dreaming away!

Black treacle has the ability to be explosive (hence why it tells you on the tin not to open it after best before date and dispose of it). Maybe this is why it appears in so many dishes associated with bonfire night!

I think I may have slightly overcooked it, but with a few days of rest it should begin to go stickier. I was also expecting it to come out a bit darker in colour so next time may use soft dark sugar instead of golden caster sugar. Saying that, it still takes very good!

from A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit

125 g butter (if using unsalted butter add 1 tsp salt)
125 g golden syrup
125 g black treacle
125 g golden caster sugar
250 g plain flour
250 g medium oatmeal
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten

1) Preheat oven to 150°C/Gas 2/300°F and line a 10x10 baking pan. Gently heat the butter, golden syrup, treacle and sugar in a pan, stirring constantly until all the sugar is dissolved.

2) In a bowl sift together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt (if using), ginger and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter mixture, beat until everything is combined.

3) When combined add the egg and mix until you have a smooth soft batter. If the batter seems to be stiff add 1tbsp of milk.

4) Pour into the tin and bake 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool before removing and cut into squares

Print this post


  1. Ive been inspired to make Parkin for Bonfire night. I love it but have never made it myself!!... and don't even start me on treacle!!

  2. mmmmm parkin...I just love the stuff. If you think that yours turned out a bit dry, just throw it in a covered container with a sliced up apple. The parkin will pull the moisture out of the apple and get nice and sticky. I'm still waiting on it to cool down a bit more before I start too much baking.

    I never knew about the dead lion and bees. As a child I thought that the lion had eaten all of the syrup and that the bees were buzzing around him because he was so sweet. I bet our parents never knew the truth either.

  3. Beth - It certainly is a perfect bonfire cake.

    Michele - thanks for the great tip to make the cake stickier.

  4. I've never eaten or made it so I just might do both very soon! I didn't know about the lion & bees either!

  5. This has been on my list for a while too, like Beth I think I'm going to make it for bonfire night.

  6. Jules, it's great to see that sometimes my blog does inspire other people to try one of the recipes. You're right this parkin isn't all that sticky, it wasn't when I made it either and it is lighter than what you usually see in the shops, but I did like it for it's not-so-stickiness. If you google for parkin recipes you'll find tons and they are all slightly different! I'm happy you liked it!

  7. Similarly, never knew this about the the lion and the bees. How horrible! Actually had to go to my tin of treacle in the cupboard to go and take a closer look...
    The parkin looks good though - on my 'to bake soon' list!

  8. Ooh, your parkin looks yummy, really nice and light.

    I have to admit I never even noticed the lion on golden syrup tin before (too busy sticking my fingers inside it I think), and I never knew about black treacle being explosive- wow.

  9. "Out of the strong came forth sweetness."

    Lol. Golden Syrup and Black Treacle are legendary!

  10. ...I will have to give this a go some time - for some reason Black Treacle is so cheap at the moment in Tesco's - only 24p!

    I have been trying to find some recipes - apart from the ginger cake I make

  11. Lovely Parkin Jules!! I made some Yorkshire Parkin recently and it's lovely for this time of year!

    Rosie x

  12. I love Parkin, it's perfect for Bonfire night with a cupa of steaming hot chocolate. Your parkin looks wonderfully delish!


  13. Christine, Antonia & Ginger - certainly make it in time for Bonfire night.

    Sylvie - Thank you for the recipe. After a few days of leaving it to rest it is now a really nice consistancy. It kept us well fueled on a long walk on Sunday.

    Caty - I loved licking the spoon after. mmmmmm.

    gkbloodsugar - they certainly are legendary!

    carolyn - I paid three times that in Tesco!

    Rosie - it is a perfect autumnal cake.

    Maria - I'll have to try it with hot chocolate.

  14. I never knew the lion was dead either! :-o

  15. Nat - I know. I still like to think it's sleeping!

  16. Nice Parkin!

    The dead lion and bees logo comes from Abram Lyle, the founder of Lyles who was a committed Christian. In the Old Testament (Book of Judges 14:14) Samson was travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness".

    I remember my grandmother telling me this as a child but I checked it at


My blog has moved to you can leave a comment here (but it may take me a while to reply). Pop over to the new blog, or email me at

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.