Pear Parkin for #SundaySupper

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in #SundaySupper, Cakes, Features | 22 comments

Pear Parkin for #SundaySupper

What a delightful theme we have this week for #SundaySupper – Hometown Recipes, hosted by Coleen of The Redhead Baker. I can’t wait to learn about the culinary hometown traditions from different parts of the world! I’m so glad that I can call Yorkshire home, so I’m sharing a twist on parkin – a classic cake from this part of the world.

Sheffield in Yorkshire is a pretty special place. It has some kind of magnetic draw which keeps people here. Like many people, I came here for university, and fell in love. I spent a few years away once I graduated, but I kept going back to visit friends, until finally, I gave into the inevitable, and came back to live. It has a reputation as an industrial city, and it’s true that it’s a city proud of its steelworks heritage, but it’s also the greenest city in the UK, with a third of it contained within a national park. I live a 15-minute drive from the dramatic beauty of the Peak District, yet I can still walk into the city centre. It’s a big city by British standards, but people know each other, and it’s the kind of place where old traditions stay.

If you don’t know much about Yorkshire, there are a few things to understand. It’s fiercely independent – during the fever about the Scottish referendum, there were serious proposals for a Yorkshire referendum too (yes, really). It’s a place of beautiful natural landscapes, urban might, and a unique dialect, where the words ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ are still very much in use. We’ve no time up here for pretentious trends, which means that the food is down-to-earth and wholesome. Stout meat pies, Sunday roasts (with Yorkshire puddings, of course), and Sheffield-made Henderson’s Relish is what it’s all about.


Parkin is a Yorkshire cake usually made for bonfire night, but you can buy it at markets throughout the cold, winter months. Traditionally, it’s made with a load of treacle (molasses), giving it a rich, dark colour. It’s the kind of cake you can imagine ramblers taking to fortify them on a wild, blustery walk on the moors.

I’ve adapted the traditional recipe somewhat (which is probably sacrilege),but even just looking at a traditional recipe for parkin is enough to make your teeth fall out. Most call for 200 grams of treacle, plus at least 150g of golden syrup, plus a considerable amount of sugar. Now, I have a sweet tooth, but even I can’t cope with that. I’m also not the biggest fan of treacle, so I’ve made a lighter, brighter version and added a pear topping. It’s still gingery, and made with plenty of rolled oats, so it’s got that parkin texture – somewhere between cake and flapjack.

Feel free to add treacle if you want, especially for that bonfire flavour. But this is my homage to Yorkshire – and it’s a parkin that would go down well in the springtime too.

Golden syrup cake

Pear Parkin
A lighter twist on traditional Yorkshire parkin
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 100g golden syrup
  2. 100g light brown sugar
  3. 100g butter
  4. 170g self-raising flour (I used a gluten-free blend)
  5. 150g rolled oats (I used certified gluten-free oats)
  6. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  7. 100ml milk
  8. 3 tsps ground ginger
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C, and line a shallow, rectangular baking tin.
  2. Heat a pan of water on the stove and place a bowl over the top.
  3. Put the golden syrup, sugar and butter into the bowl, and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and fold in the flour, oats and ginger.
  5. Stir in the egg and milk.
  6. Transfer to the tin, and top with the pear slices.
  7. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until golden and hardened on the surface.
  8. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into small squares.
  1. The parkin can be eaten right away, but it is better after a day or two stored in an airtight container, when it goes deliciously sticky.
  2. Eat on its own, or serve with custard for a satisfying pudding.
Happy Baking Days

pear parkin

Now see what else is cooking in other hometowns in the #SundaySupper world!



Appetizers and Snacks

Main Dishes

Side Dishes


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  1. I’ve never heard of a parkin before, but any pear-ginger cake is fine by me! It sounds amazing!!
    Liz recently posted..Chocolate Earthquake Cake #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Most people, even in the UK, won’t have heard of it either,it’s very much a Yorkshire thing!

  2. Hah, I love your parkin, however I’d love to try the traditional. I’m a treacle fanatic and I don’t mind me teeth falling out. Baby steps by trying yours first though 😉
    Shannon R recently posted..Vegan Timbits RecipeMy Profile

    • You would love the original then Shannon! Enjoy 😉

  3. Hello there! Always glad to meet a UK blogger! I follow Vohn’s Vittles from Scotland and Chocolate Log Blog from Cornwall, too. I’m also lucky enough to have a UK foods section in my local grocery store, so I can actually get my hands on golden syrup, etc. :)

    This looks like a great recipe to try! Thanks for contributing to #SundaySupper!
    Katie @ Recipe for Perfection recently posted..Candied Kumquat Peels, Kumquat Syrup, and Kumquat-Ade Recipe | #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Good to meet you too Katie! Glad you have a UK foods section – I wish I had a US food section at mine every time I read everyone’s recipes!

  4. This looks like a lovely cake!
    Laura Dembowski recently posted..Carob Bumpy Cake #Sunday SupperMy Profile

    • Thank you Laura!

  5. I just spotted golden syrup in my local grocery store and now I have a reason to buy it. What a lovely cake!
    Renee recently posted..Honey Cola Baked Ham for #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you, Renee! Oh there are so many good uses for golden syrup! Flapjack is one of the first things a lot of children bake here – just golden syrup, oats, butter and sugar :-)

  6. Ohh, this looks good, and I was thinking this would be perfect to serve at a Downton Abbey themed dinner I am having. It looks so good!
    Deanna Samaan recently posted..Pittsburgh Devonshire Sandwich #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • It would be ideal, especially since it’s set in Yorkshire! A Downton Abbey dinner party sounds like so much fun! I hope you’ll blog about it :-)

  7. Looks beautiful!
    Shaina recently posted..South Jersey Boardwalk Caramel Corn #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you Shaina!

  8. I’ve never heard of a parkin before, so I did guess that your hometown was outside the US, but that’s as far as I got. The cake looks so wonderful and I loved reading your post!
    Julie @ Texan New Yorker recently posted..Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile con Carne #SundaySupperMy Profile

  9. Everything about this post is enjoyable, Katie! I looked up precisely where Sheffield is on the map…I’m delighted to hear thee and thou are still actually spoken! Now I’m even more in a tizzy of do I use my air miles for a Japan trip or a UK trip? One thing is certain though – your Pear Parkin cake looks and sounds deeeelicious =) Of course, I’ve filed the recipe for my to-make wish list =)
    The Ninja Baker recently posted..Chocolate Pocky Cake, #SundaySupperMy Profile

  10. The pears are just beautiful in your cake. I love the combination with ginger. Your hometown sounds great.

  11. I love pears. They’re oh so tasty. I see pictures of pear cakes all over, but this one really is on the list to make. It looks amazing and I bet it tastes even better.
    Christie recently posted..Hot Brown Ham Sliders – #SundaySupper Hometown FoodMy Profile

  12. The pears look beautiful in the cake. Parkin is new to me, but everything about this cake tells me it would be an instant favorite!

  13. I have never heard of this cake before but your version looks lovely. It is similar to the recipe I shared this week.
    Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm recently posted..Weekend Wrap Up and the Weekly MenutMy Profile

  14. Oh my gosh, Katy–I LOVE your blog! It’s so bright and adorable and YOU. The pear parkin, too 😉 it’s so lovely to meet you in this cheery space! Have a fantabulous week, gal!
    Ala recently posted..Comment on Apple Fritter Blondies by wallflourgirlMy Profile

  15. Look at those delicious pears in there! Yum!
    Cindys Recipes and Writings recently posted..Mile High Strawberry Pie #SundaySupperMy Profile