Saturday, September 26, 2009

Warming the Inside

Now that September is almost over with (say it ain't so!) it seems that the weather that has been oh-so-cooperatively seasonal over the months of June, July and August feels right at home. It's settled itself in and all too soon we will find ourselves wearing ankle high snow boots, but standing knee-deep in a snowdrift. I know I'm already layering sweaters on, and the flannel bedsheets and socks have once again made their appearance in an attempt to keep my feet from turning a rather odd shade of grey by two in the morning!

But no amount of external blankets and wool fuzzies can truly warm your core. The human furnace has to be stoked from within, with rich hearty stews, steaming cups of apple cider, and bowls of oatmeal. One of the favourite tricks of mine to warm up in a hurry is to have a bite or two of raw fresh ginger - all on it's own. The flame from the tiny morsel is enough to kick-start the rest of my sluggish system, and when the annual flu strikes me down (as it always does!) a good dose of it chopped into a cup of green tea helps chase away the edge of nausea.

This cake is one of those snacks that is the perfect cold-weather type of food. Rich with ginger, stuffed full of comforting, hearty oatmeal and even with a bittersweet edge of dark molasses, a simple batter transforms in the oven to something that nestles comfortably next to that mid-afternoon cuppa you enjoy in your fuzzies.

I actually decided to make this dessert - known as Parkin Cake - back in the summer when I was planning a visit to my old elementary school stomping grounds. I know of my favourite teacher there's love for ginger, and it simply wouldn't do for me to show up there after some 8 months incommunicado without some sort of nosh! When I was a student there (eons ago!! Haha) my family (in particular, my mom) were known for being the ones that always showed up to bake sale Friday and field trip fundraisers with something home made. No Snack Packs of Timbits or pre-wrapped Rice Krispie treats for us! Usually when it was our group's turn to bring something in it was a batch of my mom's trademark chocolate chippers, or if it was still within our apple-glut season her my mom's famously delicious apple squares, that made it onto the table. Even if it was just brownies from a mix (a very rare occurrence, in fact I only remember once or twice) it was mixed and baked in our kitchen, and there never seemed to be any leftover freebies for the staff to hoard after class. I do try to continue the tradition of bringing a piece of our home to my second home when I can, and with a recipe this simple to execute and comforting to eat I couldn't pass it up. Even if you can't eat the whole pan yourself (or simply want to save a few squares for later) this keeps rediculously well - either wrap it in plastic and keep (at room temperature) for up to a week, or wrap it once more in foil and freeze it for at least 3 months. I reccommend cutting it and wrapping individual squares before freezing them in a heavy-duty Ziploc for easy emergency snackage!

Nouveau Parkin Cake
Serves 8
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup large-flake rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup low fat plain yogurt
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9" square pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In another larger bowl, beat together yogurt, ginger, sugar, butter, syrup, and molasses.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix well, but do not beat.
  5. Bake 40 minutes.
  6. Cool 1 hour in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 229.2
Total Fat: 6.7 g
Cholesterol: 17.1 mg
Sodium: 133.1 mg
Total Carbs: 39.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g
Protein: 4.3 g


  1. Mmmm I'm a big fan of ginger and even though it's spring here and supposed to be warming up, I still have the heater blaring tonight and the fuzzy warm bed socks on so I think I see this in my very near future!

  2. It so cold this morning & a warm slice of that sounds perfect


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