It seems a shame that parkin is associated with Bonfire Night and ignored for the rest of year. Well, I refuse to wait 12 months for it. Parkin is a rich cake that has many versions from all over the north of England. Thought to originate from the early 1700s, it’s one of those great cakes that get better in the days after you bake it.
My version is a little different. I use lots of treacle for a deep rich flavour, and figs and pecan nuts to add an amazing crunch.
Preheat the oven to 140°C fan/160°C/285°F/gas 3.
Place the ale, treacle and golden syrup in a large saucepan over a low heat and gently stir until the treacle has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, butter and lard in a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, rub them together using your fingers. Place them in a large mixing bowl and mix in the figs, nuts, oatmeal and egg to a stiff mixture.
Add the beer mixture and mix to a smooth consistency. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the rolled oats evenly over the top.
Bake for 40–45 minutes. After 40 minutes, test the parkin with a skewer inserted into the centre: the skewer should come out completely clean and the cake should have shrunk away from the sides of the tin slightly. It may need a few more minutes.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
Cut into slices when cool. The slices will keep for up to 7 days in an airtight container.
This recipe is from Bake it Great by Luis Troyano, published by Pavilion. Recipe photography by Clare Winfield.