VEGAN GINGERBREAD HOUSE CAKE
I love ginger, love love it! So, I created the ultimate holiday cake, a vegan gingerbread cake that is topped with a vegan gluten-free gingerbread house, layered with vanilla buttercream frosting and adorned with gingerbread men cookies!
So, basically if you love all things gingerbread, then today I’ll teach you how to make a vegan gingerbread house and put it on top of a gingerbread cake, with cookies! It is a bit of work, so it’s only for people who really like to bake and decorate, but it sure is delicious!
I based this recipe off my most popular holiday cake every year, my Vegan Gingerbread Cake. It has a gluten-free version as well. The cake is the best gingerbread cake I’ve ever had in my life. It is SO full of flavor, rich spices and moist, fluffy and the perfect soft texture. The fact that it is actually a really healthy cake and made with whole grain flours, you would never know! Nobody will ever know this is vegan, trust me.
If you want to tackle on this project, you will need 4 of my recipes.
- 1 Vegan Gingerbread Cake recipe: I used the same recipe as my original cake, which is an 8×8 square cake. To make this into a 3 layer cake, the recipe amount only works in three 6 inch cakes, which is still plenty of cake after it’s all said and done. If you want a larger cake, I’d suggest doubling the cake recipe.
- 1 Vegan Gingerbread Cookie recipe: I used this recipe to make the mini gingerbread house and the men surrounding the cake.
- 1/2 batch Vegan Royal Icing recipe: This is the icing used to decorate the cookies and the outside of the gingerbread house. It is the icing used for my vegan gluten-free sugar cookies. Since it makes a lot, you only really need half the recipe.
- Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe: This is used to frost in between the layers of the cake and also is what is the “glue” to hold the house pieces together and along the seams and on the outside to look like snow. I have listed the updated recipe below on the recipe card, as to make it more stable to work with this recipe. This is just enough to decorate the small cake and gingerbread house how I did in the photos. If you want to fully frost the cake, I’d suggest doubling the recipe. Although I found the layers just frosted in between to be plenty and perfect, since the cake is so moist.
HOW TO MAKE AND BUILD VEGAN GINGERBREAD HOUSE
Step 1: You’ll need a full day or two to complete all of this, depending on your schedule. Make the gingerbread cake recipe and follow the instructions. Once it has cooled, place in the fridge, covered, for a couple of hours to firm up a bit, it will be easier to frost and work with.
Step 2: Make the gingerbread men cookie dough while the cake is cooling and place in the freezer just 30 minutes to firm up and become cold. Otherwise, the gingerbread house paper pieces will stick terribly to the room temperature dough, so do not skip chilling.
Step 3: If following my gingerbread house cookie paper template, cut those now, using the measurements given below. You will be cutting 6 pieces total using the 2 templates. 2 to represent the front and back of the house and 4 to represent the sides and roof.
Step 4: After chilling the dough, follow the linked gingerbread cookie recipe to roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use the paper shapes to place on the dough and use a sharp knife to trace around and cut out the shapes. Carefully place the cookies on the lined pan.
Step 5: Use a cookie cutter to make your gingerbread men or any other cookie shapes you want and place on the pan. Keep the cookies roughly the same size so they bake evenly. Bake the cookies as instructed, watching closely so they don’t burn. They are done when the edges are starting to turn golden brown, 8-9 minutes. Cool as directed.
Step 6: If possible, leave the cookies to sit out for a few hours or overnight at room temperature. They will get so firm this way and make it SO easy to build your vegan gingerbread house. Then decorate the cookies as desired. I just used the vegan royal icing to pipe some cute buttons on them, using different colors. You can use any dyes or colors you want, but if you are looking for healthier, vegan option, you can get them from Trucolor.
Step 7: Once you’ve decorated the cookies, set them aside to allow the icing to harden/firm up. 30 minutes to an hour or longer.
Step 8: Make the batch of vegan vanilla frosting, with the changes listed below on the recipe card.
Step 9: Now it’s time to put together the gingerbread house!
Step 10: Putting together the house was much easier than I thought it would be (it’s my first time!). My cookies are very easy to work with. Use two people if needed, but I did do this by myself and it was fairly easy since it is a small house. You will need to add the frosting to a piping bag with a small tip. You can cut a small corner off yourself using a piping bag, if preferred.
Step 11: Remember you are using the buttercream frosting to glue the house together, not the royal icing. Carefully pipe out a layer of thin frosting on each backside of the front window piece along the seams that will be adhering to the side pieces. The royal icing is for decorating the details, not gluing the house.
Step 12: Press each side piece up against the back of the front house piece, as pictured. Hold for a minute or two and carefully set down on a plate. I found it stuck really well since my icing was so thick.
Step 13: Add the back of the house piece to the side pieces by, again, adding some frosting along the seams of the back of the house piece. Let it sit a few minutes.
Step 14: Now, we will add the roof, which we need to be a little bit more delicate and careful. Pipe some frosting along the tops of each side piece, as pictured. Also, pipe the backs of the front house piece and the back house piece along the roof lines, where the arrows are.
Step 15: Add each roof piece carefully pressing into the front and house pieces.
Step 16: Now, add the house (on a plate) into the fridge to quickly firm up for 10-15 minutes. This will make it much easier to do the finishing touches or decorating.
Step 17: After the house has chilled, you will add the snow parts to decorate the house and cover any messy seams. Use the same piping bag, and go along the rooftop and roof lines and down the seams of the house doing a mini back and forth motion to create a snowy look with the frosting, as pictured.
Step 18: Place the house back in the fridge until you are ready to top it on your cake.
Step 19: Frost the layers of your cake, as you wish. I used a large piping tip to do a pretty design. I just swirled a layer in between the cake layers and piped some pretty design on the top layer.
Step 20: Add the whole cake to whatever serving platter or stand you want to use. Add a decorate snow or frosting effect around the bottom layer for where your gingerbread men will go. It helps them to stick and look super cute.
Step 21: Now carefully take the house from the fridge and place on top of the cake! I actually placed the house on a mini piece of cardboard sized to fit, so that it sat flat on the cake and didn’t look crooked or anything by placing it directly on the frosting.
I hope you enjoyed this and have fun making it if you like! If you’d rather keep it simple and completely skip the mini vegan gluten-free gingerbread house, then you can just make the gingerbread cake recipe and decorate it as you wish. It is such an easy recipe. Here it is simple, but still so pretty and festive with a few gingerbread men on top!
MORE VEGAN HOLIDAY RECIPES
- Vegan Gluten-free Sugar Cut-out Cookies
- Best Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Cardamom Pecan Cookies
- Vegan Cranberry Bundt Cake
- Vegan Almond Butter Blossoms
Vegan Gingerbread House Cake
- vegan vanilla buttercream frosting (RECIPE BELOW)
- 1 vegan gingerbread cake recipe
- 1/2 batch vegan royal icing
- 1 batch vegan gingerbread cookies
- decorative sprinkles or anything extra you may want to use to decorate
- color to dye some of the icing, if desired. I like Trucolor, but use whatever you like. Not all are vegan, so be sure to check.
- Piping bags and tips. You will need a tiny tip to decorate the cookies.
FROSTING FOR THE CAKE AND "GLUE" FOR THE HOUSE
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (216g) Spectrum shortening (SEE NOTES) softened, room temp
- 6 tablespoons (84g) vegan Earth Balance butter stick softened, room temp
- 3 3/4 cups (570g) powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla powder
- Please weigh ingredients for accuracy, super important for baking, especially a project like this. The icing and frosting has to be precise, so the texture works properly.
- I use this scale.
- PLEASE refer to the actual post and read everything, so you are informed. I've included step by step instructions, details and photos, to help with the process. This will be much easier to follow than putting it all here.
- I used the same recipe as my original gingerbread cake, which is an 8x8 square cake. To make this into a 3 layer cake, the recipe amount only works in three 6 inch cakes, which is still plenty of cake after it's all said and done. If you want a larger cake, I'd suggest doubling the cake recipe.
- Make the gingerbread cake, as instructed.
- Make the gingerbread cookies as instructed in the link above and following my template in the post if making the gingerbread house. This is only for a mini size, as pictured. If wanting to make a larger one, you will have to multiply to how large you want it.
- Make the frosting recipe listed above. This is a bit different than my original recipe, so that it is more stable. Beat together the shortening and butter until smooth. Add the sugar in slowly, beating in small amounts, until fully mixed, thick and fluffy. Add the vanilla and briefly beat it in. You will need this amount to frost the 3 layer cake as I have in the photos, plus put together a mini gingerbread house.
- Make the vegan royal icing. For decorating the cookies, I used a tiny tip for the gingerbread men and dots on the house pieces.
- Remember you are using the buttercream frosting to glue the house together along the seams, not the royal icing. The frosting is also what is the snow on the outside of the house, Since this needs to be a bit thicker (so it holds) than the piping decorations, I just used a ziplock bag and snipped off the corner a 1/4 inch to pipe along the seams to hold each piece, and also on the outside for the snow.
- Chill the gingerbread house to firm up until ready to place on top of the cake.
- SHORTENING: Please note that I highly recommend using the Spectrum shortening. It is sold in many stores or online. The ONLY ingredient is palm fruit oil. I don't recommend Crisco, as it is multiple oils and ingredients, mainly soybean oil and will affect the texture outcome likely and be more greasy. The shortening cannot be subbed for coconut oil or more butter here, or the structure will not work as well.
- TIME: I really had to guess on the time that it takes to do all of this, since I worked on it on and off for a day, since I have a daughter in school. Making the cake and the cookies is very quick, as is mixing up a batch of frosting and royal icing. The part where time becomes a factor, is the waiting on the cookies to cool the cake to cool, icing the cookies, the cake, etc. Everybody works at a different pace when decorating cookies and cake, so keep that in mind.
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