First things first - if you want this to be properly sticky for Bonfire Night - get baking it right away! Secondly, it's probably best not to look at the rest of this recipe if sugar horrifies you. And now we have that out of the way, the rest!...
When I started exploring how to make a 'vegan version' of this delicious sugar-laden, spicy, gingery and sticky cake that we northern Brits all associate with Bonfire Night and autumn, I realised it is one of those recipes that doesn't even "need" eggs or an 'official' binder that much at all (since the non-vegan recipes have eggs in them).
There is soooo much sugar and goo and syrupy naughtiness in Parkin, that you're pretty much guaranteed it is going to glue itself together of its own accord. So, to say this is a 'vegan version' of the cake sort of gives the wrong impression. It's just the same, but without the eggs, which weren't needed anyhow.
Actually, it's not "just the same" - it's better :) Because it not only tastes incredible, and I have manipulated the ingredients a little to my preference, it's also kinder.
Having said that about eggs though, I have used in this recipe ground linseed (flaxseed) which is a common 'egg replacement' and binder in vegan cooking. But the recipe does actually work without - the oats and all the sugar see to that.
So don't fret if you don't have linseed. It does add a slightly nicer texture, and helps the cake to retain moisture a little more, though it is certainly not essential (still keep the soya milk if you take out the linseed). It also seems to help encourage that all important stickiness (if you can wait it out to let it develop!).
This is, of course, the only downside to making Parkin. To really enjoy it at its best, when it goes all sticky, you have to leave it for a few days - even up to a week. This is nigh on impossible for myself, I nibble as the days go by and maybe manage to have a couple of sticky slices left by the time I'm supposed to be eating it.
I *think* this could probably work well as a gluten-free recipe too. I would maybe adjust the flour to oats ratio - increasing the oats slightly, and decreasing the amount of specialist gluten-free flour used.
My recipe here comes from using a 240ml cup - so the cup measurement is by far the more accurate. Even though I weigh things out on the scales, my scales are not very good. Use cups if you can!
Vegan Bonfire Night Yorkshire Parkin
Makes 16 squares
1¼ cups / 185g plain flour
¾ cup / 125g rolled oats
¾ cup / 120ml Golden Syrup
½ cup / 100g sugar
¼ cup / 60ml black treacle
⅓ cup / 80ml rapeseed (canola) oil
4 tablespoons soya milk
2 tablespoons ground linseed (flaxseed)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease a tray bake tin (approx 8in x 8in) or silicone tray with oil.
2. In a small jug, whisk the ground linseed with the soya milk with a fork for a minute or two until frothy, and then set aside to go gloopy.
3. In a small saucepan, slowly heat the sugar, treacle and golden syrup until the sugar dissolves (do not boil!). Whisk in the oil and leave to cool.
4. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger and mixed spice and then combine the oats. Make a well in the middle and then pour in the sugar syrup mixture and combine, adding the soya milk and linseed concoction too.
5. Pour the batter into the baking tray and bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean but there is still springiness to the top. Take care not to over-bake as the cake will go rock solid in parts and be tough!
6. Leave to cool about ten minutes inside the tray/tin, and then cut into squares while still soft.
7. Now here's the hard bit – to enjoy Parkin at its very best, it needs a few days to go sticky! Cover the tin with foil and place out of temptation's way. Leave at least 2-3 days if not longer for the best enjoyment of it!