Written by Claire Goodwin


A Bonfire Night dessert worth getting your forks out for

The night devoted to Guy Fawkes and fireworks may be on a Wednesday this year, but that hasn’t stopped GBBO contestant Claire Goodwin from making a Bonfire Sundae to remember, remember.

I love all the beautiful aromas that come with Bonfire Night baking. Ginger and muscovado and caramel and oatmeal. Beautiful.

I’m not so enthusiastic about the rather disturbing ritual of pretending to burn a man on a fire, but you know, swings, roundabouts, Roman candles, Catherine wheels and all that.

Just don’t get me started on the piss poor regulation of firework sales.

However, wrapping up warm and cosy with: a scarf and gloves; possibly (depending on the weather) some plastic bags over your socks – but inside your trainers, we don’t want anyone to think we are scrubbers after all; all the vowel sounds in the phonetic alphabet; and a coat that won’t ‘pick up the smoke’ (which therefore happens to be flammable, so don’t get too close) will have you ready for the pagan night of your life. Once you get the treats sorted of course.

Treacle and toffee apples (I can’t be the only one to bite off the toffee and then throw the boring apple away?), parkin and hot chocolate and coffees with booze in them.

This is where a baker such as myself comes into her element.

My house this past week has smelt divine, like childhood. There is something beautifully nostalgic about prizing open a tin of treacle and wrestling with the thick black ooze in order not to cover every conceivable surface with it.

And the bubble of the violently hot sugar on the stove makes us think, in a disturbingly macabre way, maybe we should put Guy in there. It would be much more painful than popping him on top of a fire.

There is something beautifully nostalgic about prizing open a tin of treacle and wrestling with the thick black ooze in order not to cover every conceivable surface with it.

There again, Guy didn’t try and blow up Tate and Lyle…

For this week’s treat I have made a beautiful ice cream sundae. You don’t need to make the ice cream, but if you are a purist, feel free.

I took myself down to Iceland and bought one of those three gallon tubs that have the added benefit of maintaining your six pack. Well, it works for Peter Andre. Mysterious Boy.

The parkin recipe can be used as a traditional recipe, meaning you can cook long and slow in a loaf tin, cool, then wrap tightly in cling film and let it rest for four to five days before eating (I know, I know).

But I have made this recipe as something you can ‘whip up’ while impressing guests with your last minute creativity. (And don’t forget the foolproof fallback: if all fails just put your shop-bought ice cream in the middle of the table and give everyone a ladle).

For a final cautionary word, please remember (remember) when you make your treacle toffee, the molten sugar will get hotter than the sun. However beautiful and silky and “I’ll-just-stick-my-fingers-in-for-a-quick-taste” it looks, just don’t.

Sound like I’m being a condescending prick? I did it last night. So more of a stupid prick than a condescending one.


For your ‘quick parkin’


110g medium ground oatmeal

110g self raising flour

110g dark muscovado sugar

1.5 teaspoons of ground ginger

110g butter or margarine

65g black treacle

65g golden syrup

1 egg

1) Preheat your oven to 150⁰C

2) Grease and line a baking tray (30cm length one will do), needs to be at least 2cm deep though

3) Put all your dry ingredients in a bowl and cream in the butter

4) Add your wet ingredients, including the egg, and mix thoroughly into a lovely rich thick batter

5) Spread onto tray, level out

6) Put in oven, Initially for 10 minutes then check. If your skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean then it’s done, if not, leave for a few minutes and check again

7) Cool, then chop up into rough pieces.

Treacle toffee


250g granulated sugar

75ml water

35g butter

50g black treacle

50g golden syrup

1) Lightly oil a shallow square tin

2) Put the granulated sugar and the water in a pan and gently heat until all the sugar has melted

3) Add all the other ingredients and dissolve in (you can stir this!)

4) Once everything is dissolved, bring to a rapid boil. It needs to boil (so really bubbling, see above pic) for about 10 minutes. You are aiming for it to get to ‘soft crack’ on your sugar thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, after 10 minutes, drop a little bit of the mixture in cold water. If the mix strings out into threads and remains hard, then you’re done.

5) Pour the mix into your tin and leave to cool

6) When it is semi set, you can spoon a bit out onto an oiled surface (or a silpat mat) and pull it and make shapes if you like. Obviously be careful with temperature. Once you isolate a small bit of mix from the main body of it, it starts to cool down fairly rapidly so you need to work quick if you’re being creative.

7) When it is cold and set, turn out of the pan, bash with a rolling pin into haphazard chunks and set aside

Build your sundae

1) If you’re doing for adults, I highly recommend drizzling a few shots of whiskey (I like J&B Rare) over the parkin and allowing it to soak for a few minutes before building the sundae
2) Layer ice cream and parkin in your sundae glasses (you can just use wine glasses if you don’t have anything posh, I used old jam jars), making sure you get a good mix in there
3) Add your treacle toffee to the top in a very artistic fashion
4) Put your face in it

This is lovely served with hot chocolate and marshmallows, the contrast of the warm flavours, warm and cold temperatures and differences in texture is awesome. You will probably need to get yourself checked for diabetes afterwards.

Enjoy folks!

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Written by Claire Goodwin

Claire is a speech therapist, baker, cake decorator, sometime radio guest and writer. She writes about food, being fat and living with mental health problems @bake_therapist; www.baketherapy.co.uk; www.facebook.com/CakeChemistryUK