Parkin is a soft, ginger-flavoured egg-less cake based on ginger, oatmeal and black treacle.
It is moist, sometimes even sticky.
It is usually baked in a rectangular cake pan, and cut into squares to serve.
It's associated with both Yorkshire and Lancashire in England, but particularly Yorkshire. In Yorkshire, you can get it in stores year round. In other parts of England, you can often find it in stores around the 5th of November, as it frequently appears at Guy Fawkes bonfires.
In Yorkshire, many people used to bake two at once: one to age for a few days, and the other that would be served hot out of the oven, with apple sauce.
In Lancaster, there tends to be more oatmeal in the recipes.
Some date the cake to Celtic harvest festivals. However, with the use of ginger, and a sweetener such as treacle (both products coming to Britain via Caribbean trade), and a chemical leavener such as baking powder or baking soda, it probably actually originated in the early 1800s during industrialization -- at least, in the form we now know it.
Parkin and Perkin used to be the pet name version of Peter.
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