Monday, December 19, 2016

I Heart Gingerbread Houses

Hey you guys--we had a gingerbread party!  I've always wanted to have a gingerbread house making party, and Molly's winter b-day provided a good excuse.  Believe it or not, this party was executed pretty easily because it had to be.  With October and early November booked solid there wasn't much time for prep before Thanksgiving weekend (party was following Sunday).  Loyal church members may notice that these party pics include a sneak peak of the new living room rug.  All photos by my fav Lumatic Imagery.

We kept the decor pretty simple--just homemade paper garlands.  We did a dessert buffet, naturally.  

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house cookies, and white chocolate covered Oreos rounded out the pickings.  I'll try to do a separate post on baking but--spoiler--the spread was 50% homemade and 100% embellished.  Some of you are cringing at the pointsetta on the buffet--yeah, not ideal but it created the necessary height to balance out the cake after my set of three stacking cake plates lost their larger, bottom layer to clumsiness.  A close call, but I thought that side needed something.  And about that cake......

Molly's favorite part of the party, the cake sort of stole the show (and arguably made those Christmas cookies look a little dowdy).  Inspired by Katherine Sabbath, the Party Parade's Build-a-Cakes, and freak cakes generally.  I used a basic/fake buttercream (butter and confectioner's sugar, as opposed to a classic french buttercream with egg whites) and this recipe/instructions for the chocolate drizzle.  As long as your ganache has cooled a bit, and your buttercream has been in the fridge (I did 2 hours), it will not all melt together into a party-paralyzing puddle.  And no, I didn't know that until noon the day of the party but I trusted the Internet.  Practicing is a good idea, but not always possible.  I found this icing smoother and a turntable real game changers for getting the buttercream smooth.    

We had red aprons for everyone.  I thought that would be a nice favor, but really it is like sending dirty laundry home.  Ideally they would have been personalized, but the printable iron-on paper was tricky on the textured cotton duck.  Molly's teetered on the edge of usable, so I decided not to risk it on the others.  If you have the budget, embroidery would be a nice option. 

I pre-assembled all the gingerbread houses (Wilton kits from Michael's) on cake boards 10x14 cake boards.  I did that Wednesday night, wrapped them in cling wrap and put them on top of the kitchen cabinets; we added a ice cream cone tree form but didn't glue it down for ease of icing it and creative freedom.. We had extra candy for the kids to use--peppermint sticks, mints, marshmallow snowmen, kisses, etc. and lots of sprinkle options.  The polka-dot cups hold a bag of royal icing (from the kit) for each kid.  

Hindsight is 20/20, but gingerbread on kraft-paper does not make for a dynamic photo.

So many masterpeices.  In addition to the dirty aprons, we sent folks home with some themed lollies.  Gingerbread men are from Oriental Trading, and the clear sprinkle and red glitter pops are courtesy of my brother.  I figured he needed a new hobby.  

The birthday girl was pleased and so we will file this as a W.  

Both Charlotte and Molly stepped up to help with the party.  Molly & Char baked most of the Christmas cookies, and those circle garlands don't punch themselves.  And a set-up credit is owed to Charlotte--she is earning her stylist stripes:  steaming out all the linens and backdrop, punching the favor tags, setting up the candy and generally cleaning like a demon.


Milk Bottles:  Target dollar spot.
Candy for cake:  Cracker Barrel, Party City, Wilton gingerbread embellishments (Target, Michaels), Fresh Market
Red polka-dot paper:  Paper Source (on buffet) and Michael's (runner on dining table)
Buffet backdrop:  Blue table cloth (Amazon) and plastic table cloth as drape (Party City--roll)
Aprons:  Amazon
Clip Art (used for Molly's Apron, Lollipop tags and the not pictured invites):  Emily Peterson Studio
"Molly" glitter topper:  PaperMailParty


  1. wow- beautiful. The cake is wonderful. The garlands so festive. A big W!

  2. Impressed as always. This one is spectacular.