I grew up in Australia and yet bizarrely had quite a traditional Yorkshire upbringing. My mother, and over time, all of her sisters and her parents, emigrated under the Assisted Package scheme created after the Second World War, where a tenner could buy you a new life in other parts of the Commonwealth. They took to Aussie life like naturals and yet were all very proud ‘£10 poms’, as their new Aussie friends and neighbours called them. The foodie traditions of their former lives in Leeds persisted for many years – we were the family who sat down to a sweltering roast turkey dinner every Christmas, when native Aussies were throwing a few prawns on the barbie and spending the day in the pool. To this day, every member of the family, including me, prides themselves on being able to turn out a cracking Yorkshire pudding.
My grandparents took me and a mulitude of cousins to the beach most weeks, setting up basecamp with a bottomless urn of tea, inevitably gritty egg and salad cream sandwiches and a big tin of sticky Ginger Parkin, which they would produce at intervals to refuel an exhausted tribe of grandchildren.
I can’t think why, but I’ve never tried to cook this wonderful cake. The taste takes me straight back to my childhood days on the beach, and if nothing else, I really want my own girls to acquire a taste for it and to learn to make it. So we did. It’s super easy – a melt and mix method where nothing can really go wrong. A word of caution – don’t cook it too fast. It need a very moderate oven to cook all the way through. And be generous with the ginger!
- 100g soft butter
- 100g soft dark brown sugar
- 50g black treacle
- 200g golden syrup
- 225g ground almonds
- 115g self-raising flour
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp milk
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 120C fan and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
- In a small pan, melt the butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup. Don't allow the mixture to boil or bubble. As soon as they have melted together, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Slowly add the melted butter and syrup mixture and then pour in the beaten eggs and milk and combine well.
- Pour the batter into your baking tin andake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Do keep an eye on it as parkin can easily bake too quickly. The parkin is ready when it no longer wobbles in the centre and a skewer comes out clean.