We never made gingerbread houses as a family when I was a kid.
Don’t get me wrong… we had LOTS of great Christmas traditions, and just like in that horribly depressing yet seriously sweet Christmas song that plays on the radio just about every day this time of year (I’ll never look at red shoes the same again, btw), Mama made Christmas good in our house.
We just never got into the whole gingerbread making gig.
The thing is… I WAS a candy girl. And a frosting girl … and a gingerbread cookies girl (well, ANY kindo’ cookies, really, but ya know… we’re focusing here)… ok, so I was basically into any substance that had obscene amounts of sugar involved.
Right, well whenever I’d see other people’s gingerbread house creations proudly displayed amongst their Christmas decor… knowing that they got to sit there for what SURELY was an extensive amount of time, designing and decorating their little house made out of cookies with any and every kind of delicious candy known to man…
I’d nearly swoon.
‘Cause who could POSSIBLY ever BE so lucky? (Shouldo’ known I was destined to be a cake artist at that moment, I suppose.)
But you know, now that I think back on it, I never DID ask my parents if we could make our own gingerbread houses.
NO idea why. Maybe I just assumed that activity was only permissible for those who DIDN’T lose all kinds of self control around sugary substances.
And people like me were just… banned?
Regardless, I’ve grown up. (Well, physically anyway.) And now I’M the Mama. And I get to start whatever Christmas traditions I want with our little family here… and ya bettah BA-LIEVE gingerbread house making is ON.THAT.LIST.
(Though there are strict rules pertaining to the eating of any and/or all ingredients involved.
See? Grown up.)
But I also have had this hankering to make a CAKE that looks like a gingerbread house for quite some time now.
Maybe something to do with the fact that I’d get to design and decorate it all by myself… without any little people at the helm, dictating what should go where and throwing all color coordination to the wind.
(Let’s not dance around it, people… decorating gingerbread houses with children is a designer’s NIGHTMARE.)
So I decided this was the year I was gonna give it a go (alone) as my contribution to this month’s special Christmas edition series of blog posts!
And while I’ve never actually baked gingerbread (those little kits are just TOO easy, ya know?) I decided that I was gonna stick with what I knew… modeling chocolate and fondant. (Even for the candies… ’cause there was something in my brain that told me that would be more fun.
Weird little brain.)
So here she is! My (modeling chocolate) gingerbread house cake…
that I got to make for an extensive amount of time…
littered with all sorts of deliciousness…
that, if nothing else, is perfectly color coordinated.
I can now die a happy girl.
(And I have no comment with regards to the amount of sugary substances ingested in the making of this creation.)
I’ve included some tips as to how I made many aspects of this cake, down below, including a mini tutorial on the making of the peppermint candies. Hope it’s somewhat insightful!
And again, here’s our little Christmas video that we put together for you to try to help spread some Christmas cheer.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Xx
How I made it…
I went and found a free gingerbread house template I liked, online.
I traced the parts onto a piece of card stock right from my computer screen.
(‘Cause my printer’s broken. And I needed to make this work.)
I cut them out, rolled out some brown modeling chocolate and cut out the appropriate amount of parts from the mod choc.
I then pressed the mod choc with two different impression mats I had in my closet, and dusted the pieces with a darker shade of brown to get the “baked” effect.
I used my oval cutter set from Fox Run, and cut out two different sizes (and edges) to make the windows.
To make the candy canes, I twisted and then rolled white and red mod choc together.
I snipped little green donut shapes with scissors to make the tiny wreaths.
The bottom tier was first wrapped with a measured (use a quilting ruler to do this… it makes life SO much easier) rectangle of mod choc (also made to look like gingerbread.)
Then, I rolled out a thick, somewhat puffy layer of fondant slightly bigger than the top diameter of the tier, and attached it to the top (and top sides) of the cake with water.
You could carve real cake into a house shape and attach the panels together around it with royal icing,
or if you don’t need the extra cake, you could use rice krispie treats formed to the right shape as a base for the panels.
Once the panels were attached, I piped white royal icing onto the roof in different patterns along the edges, and used a knife to spread enough to cover the entire top.
I sprinkled sugar pearls and jimmies onto the icing before it dried.
To make the peppermint candies, I first rolled each color into rather large, same size, somewhat flattened ball shapes.
I cut them each into six even pieces.
I attached the pieces together using water, alternating the colors.
This part’s kind of different, but it works.
Use you finger and work that baby, gently rolling it on its side to lengthen it into a log shape.
Once you’ve got it into a log, cut it in half and start cutting off little discs.
Place one finger in the middle of the disc, keep it there, and while applying gentle pressure, carefully turn the disc with your other hand.
You’ll get a fun swirl in the middle like a real peppermint!
Brush them with confectioner’s glaze, and voila!!
Now add them EVERYWHERE, along with some swirly trees, sanding sugar for the iced look, a little gingerbread boy, and LOTS of sugar pearls…
and you’ve got yo’self a a li’l something ANY kid will swoon over.
(Specifically the gingerbread house-deprived ones. 😉 )