Traditional Yorkshire Parkin Recipe - Bonfire Night Treat

Traditional Yorkshire Parkin Recipe - Bonfire Night Treat

A traditional Yorkshire Parkin recipe - the perfect treat for Bonfire Night (even if this year’s celebrations have to remain at home)! Our resident star baker, Lauren provides her failsafe recipe for this wonderfully wintry sticky ginger cake.

With autumn now in all its orange-hued glory, Halloween has just passed, Bonfire Night quickly comes around.

Bonfire Night for me conjures up thoughts of campfire foods, muddy boots, faces lit up by fire light but most importantly ‘Yorkshire Parkin’*. It’s the best thing about bonfire night if you ask me.

In the not so distant past, it would be a time to dig out those big ol’ jumpers and boots to gather with your family and friends for a terrifyingly loud firework display to light up the biggest bonfire you can!

Even though most of us can’t gather in big crowds this year we could still enjoy a more, cosy affair?!

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

Penny for the Guy?

We’ve all heard these sayings, but why do we celebrate with fireworks and tossing an effigy (a ‘Guy’) of Guy Fawkes onto a big fire and on this day every year? And who exactly is Guy Fawkes?

Who is this Guy?  

A mostly UK tradition, Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night or for the more trad; Guy Fawkes Night (FKA Gunpowder Treason Day) is observed every November 5th to commemorate the failed attempt to blow up the House of Lords, London in 1605. Guy Fawkes was one of a group of conspirators who tried to assassinate King James I in order to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. An anonymous tip off saved the parliament from being blown up. Since then, his name has since been synonymous with the ‘gun powder plot’.

The Recipe? Yorkshire Parkin

Ooh yes! It’s a dark, spicy, sticky ‘gingerbread like’ Bonfire Night delight! Full of treacly oaty goodness. It’s been around for centuries, even before the gunpowder plot, but over the years it has come to be a traditional Bonfire Night food to this day, particularly in Northern England.

*Yorkshire Parkin or Lancashire Parkin? Yorkshire folk claim it to be theirs as Guy Fawkes was born in York.  As it’s claimed to exist before the gunpowder plot, I’m not sure we can claim that to be true. There are different versions as well, some use nutmeg, some use mixed spice. The Yorkshire Parkin version uses oats, whereas the Lancashire version doesn’t.

See the ingredients list below – you’ll also need a 22cm x 22cm square or round cake tin, greased or lined with parchment. If you’re using porridge oats, you’ll need a food processor too.


  • Golden Syrup 80g*
  • Black Treacle 120g
  • Unsalted Butter 170g, plus extra to grease
  • Dark Brown Sugar 170g
  • Medium Oatmeal or Porridge Oats 200g*
  • Self-Raising Flour 200g
  • Ground Ginger 3 tsp
  • Ground Nutmeg ½ tsp (or a bit more if you’re like me and like to ‘freestyle’)
  • Mixed Spice 1 tsp
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Milk 4 tbsp

*More traditional Yorkshire Parkin has more treacle than golden syrup but if you prefer it less strong and sweeter switch the weights around with more golden syrup to treacle and add a little less brown sugar.  

Top Tip: Though traditionally oatmeal is used, porridge oats work well instead. Pulse to a medium texture in a food processor


1. Pre-heat the oven to 14°C.

2. Measure out the syrup, treacle, butter and sugar into a saucepan and melt on a low heat, stirring until the sugar has melted*. Don’t allow to boil, it’ll cause a right mess if it boils over. Take off the heat.

3. If you are using porridge oats instead of oatmeal, weigh these out and give them a quick blitz in a food processor until medium coarse

4. Measure the rest of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and add the oats to the bowl along with the syrup mixture, give it a good stir.

5. Add the beaten egg and milk, stir again and pour into the prepared tin.

6. Bake! It should take about 1hr -1.5 hrs. Check it though after about 45 minutes. The top should just spring back if it’s done.


Your Yorkshire Parkin will keep for up to 2 weeks and gets better with age if kept in an airtight container.

 *Top Tip: Weighing the black treacle, golden syrup & butter straight into the saucepan you are heating it in saves time trying to retrieve all that goodness from the mixing bowl

Although it takes about an hour to cook it’s so simple to make. Enjoy it around the bonfire (if you’re having one) or equally just as good with a cup of tea and a book.

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Yorkshire Parkin photo credit: