We’re going pulse-less this week for a seasonal sweet. As always at Beanies we’re perhaps just a smidge behind schedule as Bonfire Night/weekend is upon us (or just passed depending when you’re reading this!) however this is definitely not a one night wonder! Meera Sodha has teamed her Yorkshire Parkin with a Whisky Caramel Sauce and bananas so you can turn this bake into a hearty pud. I’m not just being pedantic with the Yorkshire emphasis, there is Lancashire Parkin too. Traditionally Yorkshire Parkin uses molasses or treacle to give a deeper flavour and is a little heavier on the oatmeal whereas Lancashire uses golden syrup and is lighter and sweeter as a result.
The hard part bit is to shun your Parkin after baking (if not serving with the sauce)-once cool it must be wrapped up well (I used greaseproof with a layer of foil on top) and popped in a lidded tin and left to cure to achieve its full deliciously sticky, dense potential. The longer you leave it the more moist it becomes. The bare minimum is 3 days but If you want the full, unadulterated joy, Good Housekeeping advises leaving it for 3 weeks.
If you want a more budget friendly alternative to Medjools you could use any pitted date but you may need to blitz rather than mash to get them to a paste. I was using fresh spice packets which made the nutmeg a little strong the first time I baked this so I reduced it by 1/2 a tsp the 2nd time around. I also added some orange and lemon zest because Felicity Cloake made it seem a nice addition.
Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
90g soft medjool dates, pitted from 100g gross weight
200g sunflower spread – (I used Naturli instead)
80g soft brown sugar
100g black molasses
100g golden syrup
200g plain flour
175g fine-cut oatmeal
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground mixed spice
For the whisky caramel sauce (optional)
150g sunflower spread
100ml golden syrup
80g soft dark brown sugar
1 large pinch sea salt
1 tbsp bourbon whisky
2 bananas, peeled and cut into coins, to serve
1.Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas 2½ and line a 22cm-square cake tin with greaseproof paper.
2.Put the dates in a bowl and cover with 130ml freshly boiled water. Mash with a fork until the fruit disintegrates and forms a paste.
3.Place a medium saucepan over a low to medium heat, and to it add the sunflower spread, sugar, molasses, golden syrup and mashed date paste. Warm until the spread has melted and the ingredients just come together, then take off the heat.
4.In a large bowl, mix the flour, oatmeal, bicarb, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice, then slowly fold in the wet mixture, until you have a thick, well-mixed batter. Scrape into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a skewer comes out clean.
5.If you’re not storing the cake – it will improve over time, wrapped in tinfoil or an airtight container – cut it into squares and serve it warm with a hot caramel.
6.To make the sauce, put the sunflower spread, golden syrup, sugar and salt into a small saucepan, and leave to melt over a low heat. Simmer for four to five minutes, until treacly, then take off the heat. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the whisky.
7.Prick the cake all over with a fork, cover with hot whisky caramel sauce and top with the banana coins.