No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

VEGAN PARKIN - the concise recipe

(The story behind this recipe.)
Simple Parkin (vegan)

100g porridge oats
100g wholemeal flour (for a gluten-free (ish) version, substitute with Dove's gluten free flour)
2 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
4 tsps ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
100g sugar
100g blackstrap molasses (or treacle if you can’t find molasses)
220g lukewarm water
80g vegetable oil

       Preheat the oven to 180C [or see microwave version below]
       Measure the oats, flour, baking powder, ginger and mixed spice and stir to distribute the ingredients
       Gently heat the molasses and water together to approximately blood heat and add to dry ingredients
       Add the oil to the mix and stir – initially with a large spoon or spatula, then with a whisk
       Pour in to an oiled and lined 20cm (8” inch) cake tin
       Put in the oven and cook for between 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
       Leave on a cooling rack in the tin for ten minutes
Turn out on to the cooling tray

With a traditional parkin it is recommended you leave it for several days to mature. This is supposed to enhance the taste. I’ve no idea whether this works with this recipe – as, in this house, the parkin disappears very quickly after cooling. It is simply gorgeous from the moment it is cool enough to eat.

The only way I’ve found not to gorge on this cake is to, as soon as possible, cut it into, say, 50g pieces, then put them in the freezer. This way I can allow myself one piece per day.

If anyone has the strength and fortitude to keep the parkin for several days to see if it does in fact improve with keeping, I’d be very glad to hear from them!

Variation: For a gluten free version of this, simply use Dove’s gluten free flour in place of the wholemeal flour - and you'll need GF oats.

27th July.
Following a conversation on the Wildfood forum about microwaving carrot cake, I decided I'd try this with parkin.

I put my 800w microwave on for 3 minutes - and the parkin looked like this:

Baked in the oven my silicon cake form contains the parkin easily - but it rose much more in the microwave, as you can see! 
Once it's turned out onto the cooling rack, you can't tell the difference between a cake made in the oven - or in the microwave!
Comparing the two methods of baking:
40 minutes in the oven (with 10 minutes warm-up time), as against 5 minutes in the microwave - and you get a better risen cake!


  1. All printed out and ready to try, thanks Paul

  2. Hi Pauli,

    What is the mixed spice that is called for in the parkin recipe?


  3. Hi John

    I'm really sorry - I thought I'd responded to this! :(

    Here in the UK mixed spice is a collection of - mainly sweet - spices.

    The current one I'm using contains:
    Corriander seed
    Caraway seed
    Fennel seed

    So, quite a variety! The ingredients are mentioned in order of quantity - so there's more cinnamon than coriander seed - more of that than caraway seed, etc, etc.


    Cheers, Paul

  4. Holiday Wainwright23 November 2015 at 18:31

    Made this and also your vegan chocolate cake several times and it's really awesome :) thanks!

    1. Hi Holiday - thought I'd responded to your post. Sorry.

      Thanks for your comments - I made a ginger cake today, identical to the choc cake, but just substituted ginger for cocoa powder.


  5. This has become a firm favourite of all of us. I make it very often and play with the ingredients. For example, just made again and instead of 100g of sugar, substituted 100g of grated apple and fresh ginger. Absolutely gorgeous.

  6. That's great to hear - thanks for the feedback!


  7. Oh, thank you! The recipe I have is quite good but it calls for butter and two weeks to mature (I admit only once did I manage to leave it alone for the full two weeks LOL). The butter always makes me weary, although to be fair it has never gone bad. But I like the idea of using oil instead so I'm looking forward to giving your version a try. And yours has blackstrap, yum!! I always use blackstrap in mine too even though the recipe says not use blackstrap. No idea why, it makes the flavour so decadent.