As you know, I work quite a bit with cake. It’s where I started my career and will always be one of my stronger skills. This past year, I have been working hard towards perfecting other pastry techniques and learning a thing or two about bread making. Through all this exploration and a lot of trial and error, I have really come to admire those that are talented pipers and cookie makers. You know, those beautifully decorative cookies with crazy detailed piping like on Sweetopia and SweetAmbs?! Now this is a skill I have far from mastered, but I mustered up as much piping ability as I could do to create this Gingerbread House Cake.
I’m not quite sure what the story behind the gingerbread house is. I suppose they are used as whimsical decorations, but it’s unclear to me if they are ever supposed to be eaten. I support pastry as art and can fully get behind a house made of cookies and candy, even if for just decoration. But, I decided to do something a little different this year. I create a Gingerbread House Cake – a cake carved into the shape of a house with a gingerbread cooke facade.
Once I did the math (or rather, my husband did), the concept what quite simple. Baked into a sheet cake and cut into squares, this gingerbread cake is easily transformed into a 3D cake. A few quick measurements and accurate cuts, and the cookie facade turn into the perfect canvas for house details. I ended up baking the cake in a 1/4 sheet pan. While the cake was baking, I started to sketch out the pieces. From the 1/4 sheet, I cut four 12 cm X 12 cm pieces and two 9 cm by 9 cm pieces. From the smaller two squares, I cut them diagonally in half to create the roof.
Using a simple buttercream, I assembled my cake to form a 3D house. I stacked the four large squares on top of each other with a bit of buttercream in between. For the roof, I carefully arranged the cut-side (long diagonal) on top of the base, and stacked the pieced front to back. Although my math was precise, a little bit of trimming was still necessary. For the Gingerbread Cookie Facade, I measured the entire front of the cake and roof. Based off of my cake, the cookies needed to make it a house measured out to be:
Roof- 4.75 inches X 4 inches (make two of these)
Front of House- 6.5 inches from center point to base; 4.6 inches across the base; 4 inches from base to roofline; 3.5 inches from roofline to center point
Don’t forget to cut out a door and feel free to add windows, shingles, or even a wreath!
Once the gingerbread cookies were cool and a quick batch of royal icing was whipped up, I was ready to transform them from plain shapes into beautiful, customized gingerbread houses. I mostly used a number 3 round top for all of my details. For the roof, I decided on a scalloped pattern. The scallops where then repeated onto the roofline. I gave my house some basic windows and minimal detail before piping whimsical scrolls to fill in the gaps. Once dry, I “glued” the cookies onto the house with extra royal icing. When the roof was assembled I was able to give it the finishing touch: icicles, and a bit of snow.
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup molasses
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 1/4 sheet pan and set aside.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high.
- Add in the brown sugar and combine.
- With the mixer on medium-low, add in the eggs, molasses, and grated ginger.
- Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Alternating between wet and dry, add in the flour mixture and milk- starting and ending with the dry.
- Pour batter into the sheet pan and bake until done (about 20 minutes)
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe by Sweetopia.
Royal Icing Recipe from Food Network
Feel free to get creative! Add your favorite candies, colored icing, and more. And the best part? You can eat the cake! What will you put on your own Gingerbread House Cake?