What is Yorkshire Parkin?Yorkshire Parkin (originally known as Perkin) is the north England form of gingerbread. Parkin is closely associated with Yorkshire but is, in fact, eaten all over the north,most of the south, and Scotland as well, it is so loved.
The History of ParkinThe cake originated centuries ago and originally was reserved for high days and holidays as the spices, treacle and sugars used were prohibitively expensive for every day eating. It was (and still is) the cake eaten on Bonfire Night (November 5th).
Parkin is now a sticky, sweet ginger cake but before the advent of the modern cooker (circa the mid 19th century) the cake would have more resembled a biscuit as it would be cooked on the hearthstone.
The finished cake would then be stored in a wooden box for anything from a few days up to a couple of weeks to ‘mature’ and become moist and sticky; this method of storing is still the best to get a true moist and sticky cake. As the boxes are hard to come by, wrapping in a little greaseproof will suffice – avoid airtight as the cake will not mature properly.
Yorkshire Parkin TodayMy childhood memories of eating Parkin have changed little and need little other than a misty autumn evening, the scent of a bonfire and spent fireworks to evoke those wonderful times with my family. As I said above, Parkin really is too lovely to save just for one night a year and is now eaten more frequently. There are some very good commercially made cakes, Lottie Shaw's is one of my favourites, but you cant beat a home made one.
Click here for an easy and highly popular recipe for Yorkshire Parkin, and if you want to see just how easy it is to make, here's a video to show you how.
Other Uses for ParkinParkin is also a very versatile cake and can be used as both a cake, a pudding and even as a topping on other dishes. My favourite always will be with a cup of tea but have a look at these other suggestions for a little added inspiration.
- Replace the traditional sponge cake in a trifle with slices of Parkin for a lovely ginger flavour. Sprinkle the cake with a little syrup from stem ginger and use fine slivers of the ginger as decoration.
- Move over Sticky Toffee Pudding, serve warm Parkin drenched with hot toffee sauce, custard or vanilla ice cream.
- For a match made in heaven, serve warm Yorkshire Parkin with stewed or roasted Yorkshire Rhubarb and a little thick cream. Hard to believe, but if you do ever have any leftover Parkin:
- Leave the cake to dry and break into crumbs and use as a topping for ice cream, or if you are making ice cream, add the crumbs before churning.
- Stir the crumbs into a cheesecake mixture. The crumbs also freeze well for using later.