Gingerbread Cottage

Cinnamon-Orange Gingerbread

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    10-12

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Birthday Cake Book

The Birthday Cake Book

By Fiona Cairns

Published 2011

  • About

There’s no reason why a gingerbread house should be reserved for Christmas festivities and covered in snow. It makes a great birthday cake at any time of the year, personalised with favourite sweets or chocolates. It will keep for up to a week, stored in a dry place.

Ingredients

To Bake

  • 700 g plain flour, plus more to dust
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250 g salted butter, very slightly softened and diced
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200 g light muscovado sugar
  • 6 tbsp golden syrup
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange

Method

To Bake

Sift the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub together with your fingertips - or tip into a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer and blend - until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Add the egg yolks, sugar, syrup and orange zest and mix until the dough comes together. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.

Wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour to rest the dough. Line two or three baking trays with baking parchment.

Divide the dough in half. Roll out one half on a well-floured surface into a large rectangle about 5mm thick. Cut out two rectangles for the roof, each 15.5x2lem; it cuts like a dream! (Or lift the rolled out dough on to the baking sheets and cut it to shape there.)

Re-roll any offcuts with the remaining dough and roll out two triangles, each 22x22x18.5cm, for the front and back walls of the house. Into the front of the house, cut out two windows using the heart and circle cutters. With a knife, cut out a door hole, about 5.5cm high and 3cm wide. Cut out two doors, each about 7x2.5cm. Cut out a square base, 26x26cm. I moulded a chimney about 4.5x2cm but every house is different; this is simply a guide.

Rest in the fridge or a cool place for about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 170°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Bake in batches, or all together if you have room in your oven, for 15-20 minutes. Re-trim straight away, as the dough may have spread a bit, and re-cut the heart and round windows, if necessary.

To Assemble and Decorate

To assemble, place the gingerbread base on to the drum, securing with a little royal icing. Place the royal icing into a piping bag, snip the end, and stick the roofs and walls on to the base. You can do this in stages, using small boxes or cake tins for support until the gingerbread cottage is firmly stuck together.

Using royal icing as glue’, decorate the house with the sweets then, with the no. 1 nozzle, pipe on the window and door decorations. Sprinkle the hundreds and thousands all around for the grass. Cut the Curly Wurlys to form the fence and gate, and add the flowers, securing them all again with the royal icing.