I do like to have a cake on hand when I have weekend guests. The moment invariably arrives where a cup of tea and a slice of something sweet will go down nicely. Given the time of year, I thought I’d make a Parkin. I grew up having Parkin as a Bonfire night treat and only latterly did I learn that this type of cake is indigenous to Lancashire and Yorkshire and rarely eaten in other parts of England. Even my Cheshire-bred husband never had Parkin. Now I’m not going to get started on the differences between Yorkshire and Lancashire versions, all I will say is that there is something appealing about celebrating and preserving my regional heritage, even if I am now mostly feeding suspicious southerners!
The best way I can describe a Parkin is a cross between a ginger cake and a flapjack. It’s imperative to make it about a week before you want to eat it, which gives the flavour time to mature and, most importantly, allows its texture to develop. It becomes denser and stickier the longer you leave it, evolving from an oaty ginger cake into something really special. I nearly always forget to bake it in time, but this year I had it in the oven a week in advance and then it sat, patiently wrapped in foil, ready for its weekend unveiling. Read more