Bake this parkin cake with caramelised pears for a comforting autumnal dessert, then also try our easy pear cake.


  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1¼ tsp mixed spice
  • 200g porridge oats
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 75g black treacle
  • 110g dark muscovado sugar
  • 110g unsalted butter, plus a little for the tin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 500g (about 1) celeriac, peeled
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 700ml milk
  • 160g golden caster sugar
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • 4 pears
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 100g butter


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. To make the ice cream, cut the peeled celeriac in half and chop into thin slices then tip onto a baking sheet and spread out. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes until the celeriac is dark brown, and almost burnt, as this will add colour and flavour. Put the cream and milk into a saucepan and add the cooked celeriac. Bring to the boil, take off the heat and allow to infuse for 1 hour.

  • STEP 2

    Blend the infused milk and celeriac mixture with a stick blender until smooth. In another large bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy, then pour into the celeriac milk. Bring to a gentle simmer, continually stirring for 5 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and chill. Churn in an ice-cream maker then transfer to a container and freeze until needed.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. To make the parkin, sift the flour, ground ginger and mixed spice into a large bowl, add the oats, and mix. Melt the golden syrup, treacle, sugar and butter in a saucepan, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
    Add the egg and milk, then mix again briefly. Pour the mixture into a buttered and lined 900g loaf tin. Cook for 45mins-1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. The cake will be sticky and dense but keep checking every 5-10 minutes after 45 minutes with a skewer until cooked. Cool in the tin.

  • STEP 4

    To make the caramelised pears, put the sugar in a frying pan on a low heat until you get a light caramel. Don’t stir the sugar, just tip the pan until it’s all melted. Meanwhile, peel and cut the pears into quarters, remove the cores, then cut the quarters into thirds lengthways.

  • STEP 5

    Once you’ve got a light caramel, add the pears and stir. They may spit at you, so be careful. Add the spices and keep stirring. The sugar might stiffen, but turn up the heat a little and keep cooking until it melts again. Continue to cook until a knife can go through the pear with ease, though be careful not to overcook them.

  • STEP 6

    Remove from the heat, then add the butter and allow it to melt, giving it a final stir once melted. Cool for a minute, then tip the pears through a metal sieve over a bowl, to stop them over-cooking.

  • STEP 7

    Cut the parkin cake into slices, and put onto plates. Add a scoop of ice cream then divide the pears between them. Pour over some of the caramel sauce.


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