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Grandmas Secret Parkin Recipe

For years I have been intending to try out Chris’s Grandma’s recipe for her famous Parkin cake.

Ever wondered how to make parkin? This is an age-old recipe passed down through generations of the family, and one that Grandma had down to a fine art.

On a Sunday for a long as I knew her, right up until when she was 96.  Grandma baked huge batches of home made Parkin for friends and family. She even used to bake a batch every time I visited Essex for my Mum and Dad, who like everybody else just loved her secret recipe.

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Grandmas Secret Lancashire Parkin Recipe

The reason it was secret, well we just couldn’t decipher her handwriting or measurements. I remember years ago she scribbled the recipe down for me, a cup of this, spoon full of that. And lets just say it ended in disaster and I never tried it again until now.

Thankfully Chris’s Mum retained Grandma’s recipe book and scribbling’s when we lost her 5 years ago. She has spent the last few years experimenting and deciphering, to get the measurements just right so it tasted just how Grandma intended. I decided now I had exact instructions at hand I would try to re-create this little bit of magic. This recipe really should continue through the generations of our family and will always come with tales of what an inspiration crazy lady Madge Christie was.

How To Make Grandma’s  Parkin Cake


  • 8 Oz Self Raising Flour
  • 3 Oz Sugar (White or Brown)
  • 3 Oz Clover, made with buttermilk for an extra buttery taste
  • 1 Tsp. of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 Tsp. of Ground Ginger
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp.’s of Syrup
  • 1 Breakfast Cup of Warm Milk


  • Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees
  • Rub the Clover into the flour and sugar
  • Mix together the Bi Carbonate of Soda and Ginger and then fold into the mixture
  • Beat the egg and then add that and the syrup to the mixture with a wooden spoon
  • Add the warm milk and mix well before transferring to a cake tin lined with greaseproof paper
  • Bake at 180 degrees for the first ten minutes
  • Then turn the oven down to 140 for the last 25 minutes
  • Take from the oven and allow it to cool slightly, before serving warm with vanilla ice cream.
  • Or alternatively put in an airtight container and leave for a day or two, the longer you leave it the stickier it gets.

Click here for downloadable PDF version

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I much prefer making family meals and desserts from a recipe rather than buying off the shelf, this way I know exactly what is in the recipe. And with Clover having nothing artificial added it is the obvious choice for rustling up natural home made recipes for the family.

Clover is also great for spreading and frying (even at low temperatures) so  perfect  for frying up our Sunday pancakes and for midweek lunches. With 50% less saturated fat than butter it is an obvious choice for our weekly shop.

Especially with Jack, we are able to work out the carbohydrate value, and I know exactly what is in the recipe, this leaves me safe in the knowledge that there is nothing artificial in it just like Grandma intended.


Author of Extraordinary Chaos a family lifestyle and travel blog from a 40+ mum of teenage boys, sharing our family travels, recipes, reviews and country living. Also the co editor of Cruising With Kids Family Cruise Blog

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  1. 9th November 2015 / 1:50 pm

    Oh Sarah it looks so good, love your photos and I do think it is so lovely to have a recipe that has been handed down and reminds you of a special person. xx

    • SarahJChristie
      9th November 2015 / 8:43 pm

      Ah thank you Hayley, yes it is so precious to us all and is in essence one of Grandmas great legacies, she was famous for this recipe x

  2. 9th November 2015 / 4:19 pm

    Mmm…that looks delicious! I bet it tastes even better knowing it comes form Grandma’s recipe. I am attempting to make my Grandma’s Christmas Cake this year for the first time. I hope it works out and is worth all the hard work!

    • SarahJChristie
      9th November 2015 / 8:45 pm

      Thanks Bronwyn, oh it does and I am so blessed it was a success and the boys endorsed it as having a great likeness x

  3. 10th November 2015 / 10:51 pm

    Nom nom!! This looks so delicious!!!! We make my nana’s secret recipe marmalade and I love the fact it’s been passed down! Beautiful pics Sarah – this is a lovely post xxxx

    • SarahJChristie
      13th November 2015 / 8:36 pm

      Thank you Caro, yes it is so lovely to have a recipe passed down isn’t it? And it tastes amazing x

  4. 15th February 2016 / 4:00 pm

    YUMMY!!! This looks amazing Sarah and what a fab recipe – love anything like this xx

    • SarahJChristie
      16th February 2016 / 11:16 am

      Thanks Jess, it tastes amazing, in fact too good I cant resist it xx

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