Gingerbread castle recipe

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This gingerbread castle is certain to wow the room this festive season!

gingerbread castle
(Image credit: Future PLC)
  • Nut-free
  • Vegetarian
Makes1
SkillMedium
Preparation Time40 mins
Cooking Time50 mins plus cooling
Total Time1 hours 30 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories675 Kcal34%
Fat30 g43%
Saturated Fat17 g85%
Carbohydrates91 g35%

What could be even better than a gingerbread house? A fairytale gingerbread castle, of course.

Show off your construction and exterior decorating skills as well as your baking ones with this amazing centrepiece creation. With rows of fancy tall windows, snow dusted battlements and even its own ribboned drawbridge, this castle is fun, challenging and satisfying to make. While it's difficult to portion up a treat like this, there is certainly enough delicious gingerbread here for a party of 20 people. It also comes with its own chocolate dipping sauce. So, although it's hard to take the first bite of something so beautiful, once people start, they won't be able to stop.

Ingredients

  • 500g unsalted butter
  • 400g dark muscovado sugar
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 1.2kg plain flour
  • 4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2½tbsp ground ginger
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 1tsp green food colouring

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 200g double cream
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

For decoration:

  • Edible gold spray and gold glitter
  • Green ribbon

You will need:

  • an A4 piece of paper
  • 4 flat baking trays
  • 2 piping bags

WEIGHT CONVERTER

grams
to
cups

Method

  1. First, make the castle template. Use an A4 piece of paper, in portrait orientation. Each side of the castle will have two turrets. Mark them out on either side at the top of the paper, by measuring 7cm (2¾inch) in from sides and drawing a vertical line down 7cm (2¾inch). Connect the bottom of these two lines with a horizontal line. You now have a slim rectangle in the middle of the top of your sheet. Cut this out, to leave two 'towers' to either side. Now you want to create a crenelated effect at the top of each tower, for battlements. Draw two small, evenly spaced, slim vertical rectangles coming down from top of each turret. They should be about 2cm long and 1cm wide. Cut these out to create the battlements. Finally, draw a drawbridge by marking two 10cm (4inch) vertical lines, 8cm (3inches) in from each side at the bottom. Draw a line at the top to join them and form a rectangle. Cut out the rectangle. Set the castle template aside. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. In a large saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar and golden syrup, then, off the heat, mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger. You should have a firm dough. Allow to cool for 1 min.

  3. Divide the dough into four, then roll each piece out to size a little bigger than A4 on a piece on baking paper. Using the template, cut each piece into the castle shape, choosing just one piece of dough to cut the drawbridge out of. Transfer the drawbridge rectangle to a separate piece of baking paper. Place each gingerbread castle shape via the baking paper to an individual baking tray then bake for 8-10 mins until golden. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your oven. Allow to cool slightly then trim any edges to straighten if they have cooked uneven (see tip).

  4. To assemble the castle, make a thick icing by stirring 2 tbsp of cold water into 300g (10½oz) of the icing sugar and use half of it to fill an icing bag with a 1cm wide nozzle or a plastic bag you can cut the tip off once full of icing. On a large cake board or flat baking tin, draw out a 21cm (¼inch) square with the icing. Place one non-drawbridge wall, flat on a work surface and ice a line of icing down one side. Place another full wall side upright onto the icing, matching up the sides exactly, then hold for 1 min. Turn the walls on to their bottoms so they are standing up and onto the icing square. Attach another full wall in the same way, then attached the front of the castle with the icing.

  5. Ice the edging of the turrets with the white icing, then set the white icing bag aside. Spray the top of the white icing with gold. In a bowl, mix together the green food colouring, 50g (1¾oz) icing sugar and 1-2 tsp of cold water to make a thick paste. Fill another icing bag or plastic bag with the mixture and pipe window shapes on all walls of the castle. Attach the bottom of the rectangular piece of gingerbread to the bottom of the drawbridge hole with the white icing then add two pieces of thin green ribbon either side of the drawbridge with the white icing. Use the remaining white icing to pipe snowlike toppings to all the windows and the drawbridge. Dust with edible gold spray and glitter, and allow to set.

  6. To make the chocolate sauce, place the cream in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, then add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Allow to cool then transfer to a serving pot. If you have made the sauce ahead, reheat in the microwave for 30 secs-1 min and stir. Spray with gold and then serve with the gingerbread house. After it’s been demolished, keep gingerbread in an airtight container for up to a week.

    RECIPE AND FOOD STYLING: LIZ O’KEEFE

Top tips for making this gingerbread castle

If your walls have come out of the oven a little wonky, don't worry. You can fix most things - like a wobbly base with extra royal icing to stick things down. To trim sides that have bulged you can use a cheese grater to gently flatten them. For smaller areas, such as around the battlement crenelations, a clean nail file is a handy fixer.

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Elisa Roche
Elisa Roche

Elisa is a chef, food stylist and journalist. She has also been the editorial director of food and drinks content for more than 40 magazines and websites. As well as being host of the brand new Careers Conversations series podcast at Food Matters Live.