Yorkshire Parkin

We're travelling south of the border for this recipe! Gordon tried this cake for the Open Day in July having found it in a wartime recipe book created by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Library and Archives Service using their Nutrition Collection. This recipe came from a Ministry of Food pamphlet issued in June 1918 called 'How to eke out the fat'. Fat was needed to manufacture explosives so there was a shortage at home. The recipe suggests using bacon fat - 'excellent for this purpose' - but Gordon just used butter so that visiting vegetarians wouldn't miss out!

  • 4 oz oatmeal
  • 4 oz flour
  • 4 oz treacle
  • 2 oz fat
  • 1/2 gill milk
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves to taste
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  1. Mix the oatmeal, flour, ginger and spice together in a bowl and rub in the fat

  2. Warm the treacle slightly. Make a well in the centre of the ingredients in the bowl and pour the treacle into the well

  3. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda into the milk and add this into the well too

  4. Work into a stiff paste, adding the vinegar at the last moment

  5. Divide the paste into equal quantities, form into rounds, flatten them and bake on a slightly greased tin in a moderate oven for 20 to 25 minutes

Recipe Notes

The recipe suggests that equal amounts of ordinary flour and potato flour can be used - there would not always have been enough ordinary flour during the First World War, particularly after rationing began.