So this is how it goes with the gingerbread houses in our home. We usually buy pre-made box kits with ready-made hard-as-a-rock pieces that A) usually include one cracked or broken wall and B) never stand up and stick together like they’re supposed to. Constructing a gingerbread house from a box kit is a job very much like stretching too-small fitted sheets over a large mattress or trying to open a double stroller while resting a baby on your hip–both things I’ve attempted more times than I’ve liked and rendered pulling out my toilet vocabulary. The things I mutter under my breath during gingerbread house construction most definitely take the Christ out of Christmas, and when the icing isn’t strong enough to hold the south wall up, you bet the glue gun’s coming out.
We’re coming at it a different way this year with a lay-flat gingerbread house that is not only easy to decorate but also doesn’t taste like a spiced 2 x 4–the No Cursing Ginberbread CAKE! Easy enough to make that you can bunch several of them together to construct an entire lay-flat gingerbread village.
We used this recipe for the gingerbread cake, and it’s perfection–“gingerbready” enough where you recognize that rich holiday spice flavor but still mild so kids like it, especially with a little buttercream frosting.
I used my mom’s classic buttercream recipe which I never measure–softened butter, powdered sugar, a little vanilla and milk. And I skip the pastry bag and spoon it into a large gallon-size Ziplock (stiffer than the small ones) and clip the tip to decorate.
I love the options with a lay flat cake. You can stretch butcher paper out on a table and create an entire winter wonderland scene with these. And kids can extend their decorating skills to the paper, dusting powdered sugar snow, adding drawings, etc. I love the simplicity of just the brown cake with a little white frosting, but for kids you can go wild and add all the candy fixings, colored frosting, etc.
The trees are about the size of a cupcake, so you could set up a gorgeous dessert table with a village scene for a holiday event. Or lay out several of these cakes for a gingerbread house decorating party where kids aren’t crying because their houses are caving in. See? WIN for all.
When you’re done gazing at how pretty the finished product looks, slice it up and serve it, because it’s so good!
Save your cursing for when your tree dries up two days before Christmas, or when you run out of tape at midnight Christmas Eve with nine gifts still left to wrap, or–here’s a new one–when your brother buys all your kids Yellies for Christmas (no seriously, click on it. It’s a real toy with the single design goal of making parents lose their shit).
But gingerbread houses? Nothing but peace and love now.