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Friday 1 February 2013

Let Her Eat Cake: Winter Sunshine Orange Parkin

You know what I want at this time of year? Gooey, sugary things. What else? Sunshine. My new haircut looks like a tumbleweed, every umbrella I own is inside out and I NEED SOME SUN.

Since this British weather isn't going to oblige me anytime soon, I've been drawn instead to things which are sun-coloured, meaning of course, oranges! There are some glorious ones around at the moment, Seville oranges for marmalade, blood oranges just coming into season... in fact, they would be perfect in this, but could I find any this week? Could I hell. So I made do with ordinary navel oranges.

As for the rest of this recipe, it's a shameless bastardisation of traditional Parkin. What can I say? I'm a Southerner born and bred, I don't know any better... This cake is so beautifully fudgey and spicey and orangey that I hope I'll be forgiven, but it'd be nice to hear from any Northern sluts who have a fantastic do-not-mess-with-Granny's-Parkin recipe!

Winter Sunshine Orange Parkin
You'll need:
  • 200g unsalted butter (I know right? That's a lot of butter, mmm)
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 tbsp milk
  • 200g golden syrup (You can substitute for honey or maple syrup; I went for a bit of both!)
  • 4 tbsp treacle
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 100g oatmeal or fine rolled porridge oats 
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 seedless oranges (I used navel)
  • Zest of one of the oranges
Make it! 
  • Preheat the oven to 150 degrees, gas mark 3.  
  • Line and grease a 20cm square cake tin, at least 9cm deep.
  • Peel your oranges with a knife, cut into fine slices and set aside. (Don't worry if you're not as adept as that beardy chef man, he has a fancy sharp knife.)
  • Cube the butter and place it in a large saucepan along with the treacle, syrup and sugar and zest.
  • Gently heat and stir all the glorious, oozy things together until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg together with the milk. 
  • Put the flour, oats and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Pour the wonderfully thick treacle mixture over the top and stir in well. Add the egg and milk and continue to stir until fully combined. (Give it another splash of milk if the cake batter is looking a little dense)
  • Arrange your orange slices in the base of your lined tin. Because I hadn't made enough mess of the kitchen yet, I added a scattering of pomegranate seeds for extra colour and pretty factor.
  • Tip the batter over the oranges and smooth out the top. 
  • Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour, until the cake feels firm. That's long enough to watch an episode of Homeland, or in my case, frantically attempt to get pomegranate juice stains out of a white jumper.
  • Let the cake cool in the tin for two minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. 
  • Be all maverick and devour some immediately while it's still warm. After that, it'll keep in a tin for a fair old while, getting fudgier and more delicious.


  1. Help! how much flour?

  2. Oops! Thanks for spotting rachch! It's 250g.

  3. Oh well! I was 1/2 way through cooking- hot sugary goodness on the hob- when I noticed so I just took a stab at it anyway, going for 200g (210g in fact as I slipped a bit) of plain flour and a tsp on bicarb of soda. Not sure how they were supposed to turn out, but they went down well with everyone who tried them, so thanks for the recipe!

  4. Great, glad it worked out! (The joy of gooey, sticky cakes is that you can totally improvise here and there and get away with it!)


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