Gingerbread House by Cake Mix Dr.

Gingerbread House

Recipe written by Anne Byrn 11/13/2000

After some tinkering I found that by adding oil, either sorghum or molasses, and ground ginger you have a tight but workable dough that can be rolled and cut into sections of the house. And the ginger in the dough smells wonderful and gets everyone in the holiday mood! Our house ended up looking more like a festive country church than a house. The children decorated it with gobs of hard candies and gumdrops on the sides, and slivered almonds for the roof, and all was well affixed with royal icing. The uncooked royal icing makes this house one meant for visual enjoyment, not for eating.

From The Cake Mix Doctor, page 218



2 packages (18.25 ounces each) plain spice cake mix
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower
1 cup sorghum syrup or molasses
1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed
1/4-cup all-purpose flour


5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 large egg whites


Assorted peppermint sticks, hard candy mix, licorice, gum-drops, and slivered almonds

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Set aside 3 ungreased baking sheets.

  2. Place the cake mix, ginger, oil, and sorghum or molasses in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture comes together into a ball, 1 minute. Stop the machine and add water as needed to make the dough come together and be firm but still workable. Blend again at low speed to incorporate the water.

  3. Sprinkle flour over a clean work surface and roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a ruler and a sharp knife, cut six rectangles from the dough, each 7 by 4 1/2 inches. With floured fingers or with a metal spatula, place four of the rectangles on two of the baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator.

  4. Make the peaked roof. Using a ruler and knife, mark the midpoint of one of the short ends of the two remaining rectangles (about 2 1/4 inches in). From that end, measure and mark 2 1/2 inches along both of the long sides. Place the ruler on the dough going from the midpoint mark to the mark along one long side to form a corner triangle. Cut away the triangle. Repeat this from the midpoint mark to the mark on the other long side. Mark and cut the remaining rectangle of dough the same way. Carefully place the peaked pieces and the four triangles on the third baking sheet. On the flat end of one of the peaked pieces, cut out a piece 2 1/4 inches high and 1 1/2 inches wide. This will be the door. Place this door back on the baking sheet. Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator and place all three in the oven. If your oven is not large enough, place two pans on the center rack and place the third pan in the center of the highest rack.

  5. Bake until the dough is lightly brown and firm, 15 to 17 minutes. Be careful not to overbake the sheet on the highest rack. Remove the pans to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. The dough may puff up but you just need to press it back down with the back of a metal spatula. Carefully slide a spatula underneath the pieces of the house and place them on racks to cool overnight.

  6. The next day, prepare the Royal Icing. Place the confectioners’ sugar and egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides of the bowl down again if needed. The icing should look smooth and thick.

  7. When you are ready to assemble the gingerbread house, fill a pastry tube with the Royal Icing, if you have one, or just use a dinner knife. Cover a tray with waxed paper or plastic wrap to protect it. Join one peaked piece and the short side of one side piece with royal icing at the inside corner seam. Support the pieces with small water glasses pushed right up next to them. Do the same for the other peaked piece and side piece, then join the four pieces at the two remaining inside corner seams. Let this frame dry for 1 hour. Place the roof rectangle at an angle over the house and affix along the edges with icing. Place the second roof rectangle at an angle over the house. It will overlap the first. Affix it to the edges and along the top of the roof with icing. If you wish, use the triangles and the royal icing to create a chimney sticking out of the roof. Place the triangles so that the short flat sides form the top of the chimney. Affix the chimney to the roof with royal icing. Seal the tops together with icing. Let this dry for 1 hour. During this time you can pipe or spread royal icing around the house and create candy landscaping, with gumdrops for shrubs and candy canes for a walkway, if desired. If the sides seem secure you can go ahead and decorate the sides and ends with candy, spreading them with a little icing before gently pushing them against the gingerbread.

  8. When the roof has dried, spread the roof with icing and sprinkle over lots of slivered almonds to look like roofing tiles. Attach the front door using royal icing, if desired, and decorate the door with candies. Let the house dry out well, a day or so, before transporting it.

This gingerbread house keeps at room temperature in a dry room for 2 to 3 weeks.