New year in London. Fireworks, music and light. We had a dinner reservation at the exquisite Northern Hall restaurant in the Corinthia Hotel near the river Thames. What a place of delight. The interior displaying a distinct flair of the Great Gatsby, leather-chairs of understated masculinity soften by crystal lamps golden glow and picture perfect flower arrangements. The dinning tables so casually arranged, giving one the necessary intimacy to enjoy a private conversation, yet feeling pleasantly surrounded by the circle of remaining guests. We started our dinner with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, followed by a starter, main course and dessert. The description of the menu, sounded simple, yet nothing had prepared us for the variety of culinary delights, cascading into perfect crescendo by the final course by serving Yorkshire Pudding Parkin with caramelized pears and vanilla ice-cream. Only one bite and we were inrevocabley in love. The cake is so unbelievably soft and abundantly full of flavour as if coming from a fairy tail. The Parking is a Northern England speciality, usually served on bonfire night, yet frequently enjoyed on other occasions throughout the year. I have decided to surprise my loved one, by preparing this lovely moist sticky cake for Valentine, bringing memories of our holiday in England and whispering of passion and love.
- 220g soft butter
- 110g soft, dark brown sugar
- 55g black treacle/molasses
- 200g golden syrup/ corn syrup
- 120g medium oatmeal
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp milk
1. Heat the oven to 140°C.
2. Cover the base of 20cm x 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
3. In a large heavy-based saucepan melt together the butter, sugar, treacle, golden syrup over a gentle heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil, you simply need to melt these together.
4. In a large, spacious, baking bowl stir together all the dry ingredients. Gradually add the melted butter mixture stirring to coat all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5. Gradually, beat in the eggs a few tablespoons at a time. Finally add the milk and again stir well.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook for 1½ hours until firm and set and a dark golden brown.
7. Remove the Parkin from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once cool store the Parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of 3 days if you can resist eating it, you can even leave it up to a week before eating and the flavours really develop and the mixture softens even further and become moist and sticky. The Parkin will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.
8. Cut the cake by using heart-shaped cookie cutter into hearts and serve with caramelized pears and vanilla ice-cream.