Gingerbread village cake
prep 1 hr | total time
For the cake
- 20cm homemade or shopbought cake of your choice
For the gingerbread houses
- 100g soft salted butter
- 50g light brown sugar
- 75g golden syrup
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 400g royal icing sugar
- juice of 2 lemons
- red, green and yellow food colouring pastes or powders
For the gingerbread butter cream
- 250g soft butter
- 500g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
- 2 tsp ground ginger
The biscuits can be baked up to a week ahead and kept in an airtight container. Decorate shortly before use
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- For the gingerbread houses, put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until fluffy. Whisk in the syrup and spices then slowly mix in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until the mix clumps together to form a thick dough. Knead briefly to bring the dough together. Shape into a disc, wrap and chill for 15 minutes to firm up.
- Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper, lightly dusted with flour, to about 5mm thickness. Cut out houses, either using a baking paper stencil to create uniform ‘terrace’ houses, or freeform higgledy-piggledy houses using a sharp knife. Measure the height of the cake, and make the roofs of the biscuits higher than the cake’s depth. Bake the houses on the tray for 12-15 minutes until golden and firm. Cool on a wire rack.
- Mix together the royal icing and enough lemon juice to create a thick, stable paste of piping consistency. Transfer half to a piping bag fitted with a fine writing nozzle. Divide the remainder between 3 small bowls and colour with the red, green and yellow food gels respectively. Spoon into separate piping bags with fine nozzles.
- Use the white piping icing to draw doors and windows to the houses, and pipe snow along the rooflines. Add detail with the coloured icing. Leave to set.
- Beat the buttercream ingredients together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
- Place the cake on a cake board or stand and spread two-thirds of the buttercream around the sides of the cake. Put the remaining buttercream into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe peaks of ‘snow’ onto the top of the cake. Stick the decorated houses around the cake, using a little leftover buttercream to secure them, and cover everything in a snowy drift of icing sugar if you like
Tip If you prefer, you can use only white icing to decorate your gingerbread houses.