Parkin is a form of oatmeal gingerbread common to Yorkshire and other parts of England where oats were grown in abundance. Dark and treacly, parkin makes the perfect accompaniment to mid-autumn holidays like Bonfire Night – an occasion for which it is often made. Once baked, cover well and allow to mature and soften up for a few days before serving.

Serves: 12 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes


  • 400 g/14 oz (3½ sticks) unsalted butter

  • 200 g/7 oz (¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon) soft dark brown sugar

    TST_The British Cookbook cover The British Cook Book Ben Mervis
  • 100 g/3½ oz (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons) black treacle (blackstrap molasses)

  • 350 g/12 oz (1 cup) golden syrup

  • 350 g/12 oz (3 cups minus 2 teaspoons) self-rising flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons (12 g/¼ oz) ground ginger

  • 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg

  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice

  • 250 g/9 oz (2 cups) medium oatmeal

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 120 ml/4 fl oz (½ cup) full-fat (whole) milk 


Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1. Line a 30 x 20 cm/12 x 8 inch cake pan with baking (parchment) paper.

Put the butter, sugar, treacle (blackstrap molasses) and golden syrup into a saucepan and slowly stir over a low heat for 2–3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a large bowl. Add the oatmeal and mix together. Beat the sweet liquid mixture from the saucepan into the bowl using a wooden spoon, then gradually incorporate the beaten eggs and milk, alternating between splashes of the 2, and stirring constantly.

Tip the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven on the central rack for 45 minutes, or until deep brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in its pan. Take it out of the pan and, if you can, cover with baking paper and keep it in a cool, dark place for at least 3 days before slicing and eating.

Adapted from The British Cook Book by Ben Mervis (Phaidon, 2022)