I love Bonfire Night – the pretty fireworks that make a whole crowd go ‘ooooohhh’, the smell of the bonfire (wood smoke is an all time favourite smell), dressing up warm and snuggly in boots and scarves and gloves and most importantly, getting to eat the traditional foods – soup, hotdogs, toffee apples, cinder toffee and my favourite, parkin.
Parkin is one of those lovely squidgy, moist cakes that taste best when you make it a few days ahead, but fresh from the oven is fine too if you’ve left it to the last minute! Its delicious on its own, but also great with custard. It has a unique texture from the oats in it, and a very strong, dark, spicy flavour – if you haven’t tried it before do it now, and home made is so much better than shop bought!
110g (4 oz) self-raising flour
2tbsp ground ginger (yes that’s right, tablespoons!)
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
75g (3oz) oatmeal (this is finer than porridge oats, closer to ReadyBrek but not quite that fine)
175g (6oz) golden syrup
50g (2oz) black treacle
110g (4 oz) unsalted butter
110g (4 oz) soft brown sugar
1 free range egg, beaten
2 tbsp milk
1. Pre-heat the oven to 140C (120C fan)/275F/Gas 1.
2. Butter a 20cm (8 inch) square cake tin. I also part lined mine, just to make sure the bottom would come out easily but it should be okay without doing this.
3. Sieve the flour, a pinch of salt, the ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice together into a large bowl, then mix in the oatmeal.
4. Put the syrup, treacle, butter and soft brown sugar into a small saucepan and melt over a gentle heat – bring up to a simmer but do not boil.
5. Stir the treacle mixture into the flour mixture, and then mix in the beaten egg and milk to create a soft, almost pouring, consistency.
6. Pour into the buttered tin and bake for 1 1/4 hours, until firm in the centre. Test with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 5-10 minutes before turning out and cutting into squares.
(all photo credits miss suzylee)