Ingredients: 110g soft butter, 110g soft dark brown sugar (very important you get dark sugar for this dastardly devilishly dark cake), 55g black treacle, 200g golden syrup, 225g medium oatmeal, 110g self-raising flour, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice, 2 medium eggs, 1 tablespoon milk, and a pinch of salt.
Time taken: Half an hour making it, then an hour and a half anticipating it, then a lifetime wondering at its glory.
And welcome… to November! Can you believe it’s November?? It’s November already! And turning bloody cold, in Sheffield at least. Can you still muster memories of barbecues and sun burn and picnics? Freshly mowed lawns and the sun warming your face? Strawberries and Pimms and sangria? Bikinis and flip flops and bare arms? Those were days.
|Suzeroo and me back in the glory days of summer|
We’re living in a world that’s getting darker and colder. My Mother Bear confided in me this week that she’s feeling bored with it already. That she’d quite been looking forward to woolly clothes and cosy nights in, and a warm hot chocolate after an icy dog walk. But a few days into November and she’s had enough. As happens every year.
|Brr... brrrrr... bored.|
I wouldn’t say I’ve had enough yet, readers, but I am having a stroke of good luck! Which may be the cause of my very unseasonable cheer. What good luck, you say? Well. After a painful week of tooth ache, and then a sober week on antibiotics… this week (touch wood!) I can eat pain-free and drink plentifully. What luck.
|You'll find me Bridgeting in my pj's later|
Also, the gov have decided to refund me a load of tax (that I didn’t even know I’d paid). Which has loosened my knot of dread over money. As some of my friends will merrily remind me… I still don’t HAVE any money. I may never actually own really money – ha! – but my debt has shrunk and it’s cheered me up. Thanks gov.
|Cheers to that!|
AND my work decided to send me on a ‘business’ trip to Manchester. A day out of the office! What joy. There was actually no business involved – instead there were three art exhibitions, plus one film and one fancy meal. And all I needed to do was observe my surroundings… and rate my experience. Can we all PLEASE pray that I did a good enough job they’ll send me on more of these trips. Like one a week maybe. Forever and ever.
|Is this work? An Oasis photography exhibition?|
So, yeah, safe to say my luck is on the up at the moment! How’s your fortune been of late, readers?? Is life coming good, so far this November? Or is it all going to shit? Either way – just think – it’s Bonfire Night this weekend. If life’s going your way, then you can enjoy some magical fireworks and have a brilliant evening. If it’s really not, then you can drink and burn anything you like… call it a bonfire. Win win.
|There's very little that you can't burn really|
way – you can bake! Because what is Bonfire Night without Yorkshire Parkin?? Is
it even Bonfire Night, without it? I think not! Tis the true centrepiece of all
Bonfire buffets. This recipe may be from Yorkshire (and I do, admittedly, place
an above-average importance on recipes from my county) but I kid you not – this
is a bun not to miss. Bake your cares away. Bake Yorkshire Parkin.
|Just trust me on this one|
For those of you going… well, what is it? I can’t believe you’ve lived this long without Yorkshire Parkin in your life! I find this surprising and, frankly, shocking. Parkin’s basically like Jamaican ginger cake. But with oats and treacle in it. And extra spice. So it’s a lot heavier than ginger cake and it has a kind of wicked wintry taste to it.
|This is what all the fuss is about|
Whether you’ve heard of it or not… trust me, you need to bake some. Here’s the recipe – it’s no fuss just ingredients ina bowl, ina tin, in’t oven, n in yur mouth – for how you can bake Yorkshire Parkin in just 12 easy steps…
- Start by heating your oven to 140C.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Don’t worry – the temperature isn’t a typing error. We’re using this low oven temperature as your bun’s going to spend a long time in there, cooking slowly.
- Grease a 20cm x 20cm (ish) square cake tin, and line your tin with baking paper.
- Measure into a saucepan the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup.
- Gently heat the pan so that the contents melt, and stir them together gently.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Don't allow the mixture to get too hot or bubble, or else your ingredients could burn like a bonfire.
5. When everything has melted together, remove your pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Measure your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
- Crack your eggs into a mug and add the milk, then beat these two ingredients together using a fork.
- Add both your melted butter mixture and your eggy mixture into the main mixing bowl, and then use a wooden spoon to fold everything together.
- Pour your Parkin mix into your baking tin, and carefully transport this into the oven.
- Bake your bun in the oven for around 1 ½ hours
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Keep an eye on it. Parkin can easily become over-baked. I’ve sat at my grandma’s before trying to force dry Parkin down my throat and it isn’t enjoyable, readers.
- When the time’s up (or when your Parkin looks like it’s had enough heat) carefully take your Parkin out of the oven and switch it off.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Your Parkin needs at least half an hour to cool before you try cutting it. Now the stress of the bake is over, I recommend getting the dishes done at this point. It’s therapeutic cleaning up your mess, and you can take deep breaths and inhale the lovely spicy cakey smell of your Parkin.
- Once your Parkin feels totally cool, cut it up into hefty wedges and either plate up for afternoon tea, or divide between cake tins to pass on to your friends and family.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Much like an unopened bottle of wine (or as with myself!) ... Parkin only improves with age. Keep it as long as you like – don’t ever throw any away. Parkin gets richer and stickier and spicier, the longer that it’s in the tin, and I must insist you carry on eating it right through the month. Don’t doubt me.
(Recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food version, which can be found HERE).
So, that’s all there is to it. What do you think?? Straightforward recipe? Great cake at the end? … or would you beg to differ, readers?? Do let me know!
|Would be great to get some non-Yorkshire perspective|
I love Yorkshire Parkin. It’s a bun we’ve had every year on Bonfire Night while I’ve been growing up – makes me think of winter and family and home – and I reckon once you’ve sourced treacle and got the right spices, then it’s really easy to throw together.
|As ever, in life, you just hope for the best|
Half of Batch One went up to Father Bear’s and the other half went into the office (to rave reviews). I’m planning on baking Batch Two tonight or tomorrow for Mother Bear’s Bonfire Spectacular this weekend (with accompanying buffet and booze up).
Then it’s what to do with the rest of the treacle?! Do watch this space for recipes incorporating treacle. If dentists haven’t stripped the internet of them, then I’ll hunt them down and will certainly been giving some treacly recipes a go soon. Teeth beware!
|Stop! ... Treacle time.|
readers, here’s wishing you a fun and safe Bonfire Night. REMEMBER not to direct
fireworks towards people, use your common sense when waving sparklers, and
don’t try eating all the Parkin in one go (it’s a heavy cake). Hope you all
have a grand time and that your pets aren’t too stressed by the noise! Give
them hugs and love from me!