Photographer: Adam
Yields 30 small slices

This recipe was written by a former colleague of ours Karen O’Neill. Karen has moved on from Fisher & Paykel after six years as the product evaluator for cooking products. Her knowledge and experience were invaluable—we certainly learnt a lot sharing the cooking lab with Karen, and her English plumb and laugh are sorely missed around here!

Karen had a wealth of experience to draw on when it came to cooking, having trained at the Le Cordon Bleu in London doing their patisserie course, and then teaching pastry at our local polytech. Her recipes not only yield flavoursome and crowd pleasing food but are completely foolproof. Over the coming months we will be posting some of her best recipes that she worked on for the blog—definitely something for all of you to look forward to.

“Parkin is a type of ginger cake that originated in Northern England around the 18th century. It is flavoured with ground ginger and treacle, which were both produced using slave labour in the British colonies of the Caribbean and imported into the Northern port of Liverpool. Usually it also contains oats or oatmeal which is grown in the cooler climates of Northern England and across the border in Scotland. Both treacle and oatmeal were important components of the diet of working class people of northern England in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Like most ginger cakes, Parkin stores very well and traditional recipes, that are less rich than this version, improve considerably with keeping. In many homes Parkin would have been baked in the oven with the Sunday roast and served as a treat with a compote of tart fruit, like gooseberries or cooking apples. The remainder would then be stored in a wooden ‘Parkin-box’ and taken in packed lunches for the rest of the week.”


80g fine oatmeal
250ml (1 cup) milk
270g (about 1 cup) golden syrup
90g (about 1/3 cup) treacle
225g butter, roughly chopped
200g brown sugar
280g flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten


1. Heat the oven to 150C and line a 23cm square cake tin with baking paper.
2. Pour the milk over the oatmeal in a small bowl to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. Weigh the golden syrup and treacle into a saucepan and add the butter and brown sugar. Melt over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally. Don’t allow the mixture to boil.
4. In a large bowl sieve together the dry ingredients, ensuring they are well mixed.
5. Add the milk, eggs and syrup to the flour and mix thoroughly using a whisk. This is a very wet mixture. Pour into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 mins or until a toothpick or thin skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin and store in an airtight container.
This sweet sticky cake is delicious served with a tangy soft blue cheese or a slice of mature cheddar.