Vegan parkin - this vegan version of the classic Yorkshire parkin is a sticky, spicy ginger cake made with oatmeal. It is easy to make, incredibly moreish and perfect for bonfire night! Eggless and dairy-free.
This vegan parkin is a gloriously sticky, spicy ginger cake that is incredibly easy to make, very moreish and the perfect cold weather treat.
It is denser than a regular ginger cake, thanks to the addition of ground oats. This makes it an excellent, warming, filling snack.
Just the ticket for cold Winter walks or standing around the bonfire on Guy Fawkes night, especially if you wash it down with a flask of tea!
What Is Parkin?:
Parkin is a traditional ginger cake which originates from Yorkshire and Lancashire. It is baked throughout the winter months but it is traditional to eat it on bonfire night/Guy Fawkes night (the 5th November).
The main difference between parkin and regular ginger cake is that parkin contains oats, usually medium oatmeal. This gives it a denser, chewier texture than ginger cake.
Often it is baked to a hard slab, which is wrapped and stored for a week before serving, during which time it softens and becomes sticky.
There are various different recipes for parkin, it is difficult to say which is the most traditional and people have very strong opinions about how it should be made!
For this reason I can't claim that my recipe is the ultimate vegan parkin recipe. However, I did test eight (yes, eight!) different versions and this one was by far mine and my husband's favourite, so it is my personal ultimate vegan parkin.
I shall leave it up to you to decide whether it is traditional or not!
What Do I Need To Make Vegan Parkin?:
Treacle and golden syrup: Some recipes for parkin use all treacle, but I think that it is nicest made with a blend of treacle and golden syrup, all treacle is a bit too intensely flavoured for me.
You can skew the balance more towards either one of them if you prefer, as long as the total amount that you use remains the same (280g total syrup).
You can replace the treacle with molasses but there is no replacement for the golden syrup. There is simply nothing else like it. If you are unable to buy it then it is possible to make your own.
Brown sugar: Either dark brown soft or muscovado sugar will work. You can use light brown but dark is definitely better.
Vegan butter: Ideally you want to use a block butter/margarine, not the spreadable kind in a tub which has too high a water content for baking and won't yield the best results. I use Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Block.
You could probably also swap the butter for refined coconut oil, or do 50/50 butter and coconut oil. Some traditional recipes use half lard, half butter, so a mix of butter and coconut oil would be a good swap for this.
Oats: You could use fine or medium oatmeal, but I don't bother buying different oats just to make parkin. I simply pulse porridge oats in the food processor/blender until they are mostly ground up, but still retain some chunky texture; you don't want to blend them too far and end up making oat flour.
Plain flour: regular plain (all-purpose) flour is fine.
Baking powder: I tested versions of parkin with baking powder as the raising agent, and some with bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) as the raising agent instead. I much preferred the baking powder versions and they were far less likely to sink in the middle.
If you don't have baking powder but do have bicarb you can use 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) instead of the baking powder but be aware that the parkin is very likely to sink in the middle. It will still be delicious however!
Ground ginger and mixed spice: You want to go fairly heavy on the ground ginger for parkin, it should be spicy! I also add a bit of mixed spice for extra flavour.
If you aren't in the UK then mixed spice is a blend of sweet spices. You could use pumpkin spice instead or just add a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Milk: I like unsweetened soy milk best for baking as it has the highest protein content. We are using it to replace an egg so high protein is best! Any variety will work however if you don't have soy, but do go for unsweetened if you can, there is already quite a lot of sugar in this cake!
Salt: a good pinch of salt helps to temper the sweetness a little and enhance the flavour.
How To Make Vegan Parkin:
(For ingredients and full instructions see the recipe card below)
Start by grinding up your oats; I use regular rolled porridge oats. Simply pulse them in a food processor or blender until they are roughly ground, they should all be chopped up but still retain some chunky texture. The photo below shows what you are aiming for.
Add the ground oats to a large bowl along with plain flour, baking powder, ground ginger, mixed spice and a pinch of salt. Whisk it all together until well combined.
To a saucepan add dark brown soft or muscovado sugar, golden syrup, treacle and vegan butter, heat gently until it is melted.
Pour the syrup mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Pour some non-dairy milk into the pan that had the syrup in and give it a stir to pick up any sticky bits that may be left in the pan. (This is optional but I don't like to waste the sticky bits stuck to the pan).
Add the milk to the bowl then stir everything together until no dry lumps remain. The batter doesn't look very appetising but it will taste delicious once it is baked, trust me!
Pour the batter into a greased and lined 23cm/9in square cake tin and spread it level. Bake for about 30 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Once the parkin has cooled it can be eaten right away, or stored in a tin for up to a couple of weeks.
For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.
For the ground oats, simply pulse rolled porridge oats in a food processor or blender until they are mostly ground up but still retain some chunky texture; you don't want to blend them too far and make oat flour. See photo above for what the texture should look like.
Parkin contains quite a lot of sugar, this is what gives it it's moist, sticky texture and wonderful flavour. Don't reduce it, the results won't be as good.
I really recommend weighing out your golden syrup and treacle as being too heavy handed with them can cause the parkin to sink, and they are very difficult to measure accurately in cups.
For an extra kick of ginger, stir a large handful of chopped candied or stem ginger into the batter before you bake the cake.
Unlike some parkin recipes which need to be stored for a week before they can be eaten, my vegan parkin is good to eat straight away. It will keep in an airtight container for a week or two however and will become more sticky and delicious as it keeps.
Can I Freeze It?:
Yes. Once the parkin is cooled it can be wrapped and frozen; either whole or in individual slices.
More Vegan Ginger Recipes:
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
*All images and content on Domestic Gothess are copyright protected. If you want to share this recipe then please do so by using the share buttons provided. Do not screenshot or post the recipe or content in full.*
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) roughly ground porridge oats* (or medium oatmeal)
- 250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 3 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice (or pumpkin spice)
- a good pinch of salt
- 200 g (1 cup) dark brown soft sugar or dark muscovado sugar
- 130 g (4 ½ oz / ½ cup + 1 Tbsp) vegan block butter/margarine
- 180 g (6 ⅓ oz / ½ cup + 1 Tbsp) golden syrup
- 100 g (3 ½ oz / ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp) treacle (or molasses)
- 160 ml (⅔ cup) unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy is best)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm / 9 inch square cake tin and line it with baking parchment.
- Whisk together the ground oats/oatmeal, plain flour, baking powder, ground ginger, mixed spice and salt in a large bowl until well combined.
- Place the brown sugar, butter, golden syrup and treacle in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Don't let the mixture boil.
- Pour the syrup mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Pour the milk into the pan that had the syrup in and give it a stir to pick up any sticky bits that may be left in the pan.
- Add the milk to the bowl then stir everything together until no dry lumps remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and spread it level. Bake for about 30 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave the parkin to cool in the tin then cut into bars and store in an airtight container.
- For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.
- *For the ground oats, simply pulse rolled porridge oats in a food processor or blender until they are mostly ground up but still retain some chunky texture; you don’t want to blend them too far and make oat flour. See post above for a photo of what the texture should look like.