My essential gingerbread toolkit
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My essential gingerbread toolkit

When you’re in the business of gingerbread architecture, your gingerbread has to do more than just taste divine - it has to face many an issue of construction too! That means you need an essential toolkit of all the instruments you rely on to make your gingerbread buildings. If you’ve ever looked in your utensils drawer and thought “What tools do I need to make the perfect gingerbread?” well, pals, this is for you. This week I I’m taking you through my toolkit to show you what each bit is and what it does - and the best news is, it’s nothing you can’t get yourself at home:

Set squares/rulers, scalpel, cutting mat, kraft board

The tools of mathematicians, builders - and gingerbread makers (the holy trinity). These are crucial for making templates as realistic and translatable as possible. After all, what’s the point of a template if it’s not going to help you make the end building?

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Rolling pin with rings

Not just any rolling pins! The rings on my rolling pins help me set the thickness of each piece I’m rolling out.

Kitchen knives of different sizes

If anyone who isn’t in the culinary industry has as many intricate knives as I do - run for it. I need lots of different sizes of kitchen knife for cutting around templates of varying fiddliness!

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Microplane zester

I posted this on instagram a while ago and you went MAD for it, which I loved, as it means I truly have found my people. This microplane zester is essentially used as a tiny file for filing down all the edges. This makes the sides perfectly smooth, which helps creating angles on the pieces to make them fit together snugly.

Bread knife & small serrated knife

More knives! These serrated ones act as mini saws for cutting down baked pieces if needed.

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Mini silicone spatulas

Amongst other things, these bad boys act as bricklayer’s trowels! They’re great for mixing icing and then spreading it on to large pieces, plus cleaning up excess icing as you’re assembling.

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Lots of piping nozzles & icing bags

Couldn’t call myself a baker if I didn’t have these could I?! Your classic baking stuff comes in handy when piping delicate patterns - and that’s even before we get on to the actual icing gels and sprinkles I have…

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Paint and Make up brushes

I use paintbrushes to create one of my favourite effects - using gold lustre to make metallic everything! Rooves, fascias, window sills and everything in between. I love love love the effect of lustre on gingerbread and put it on everything I can get my hands on (but not if it doesn’t fit the brief - don’t worry.)

Thank you to Valentina from The Stars Inside for the fabulous photos too!

Ellie Kime
2018: A year in gingerbread
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Just as Michael Bublé thaws out in November to start cracking out those velvety Christmas tunes we all love, you may think that I only make gingerbread around Christmastime. However, I make gingerbread and biscuity bits ALL year round, and 2018 was my favourite year yet in terms of huge gingerbread buildings, projects, and partnerships!

I thought I’d look back at some of my favourite projects of 2018 - and look forward at some of the super exciting bits I’ve got coming up this year too - to hopefully excite and inspire you…


January saw me move into my beautiful new workspace in Hackney Central. I still love it to bits, as it's absolutely perfect - I can't wait to get cracking on some new projects in there! And hopefully my neighbours aren’t sick of the years’ worth of gingerbread smells wafting their way either…


February was the London Wedding Breakfast Club Brunch Fest, a couple of days away in Wiltshire with other members of the London Wedding Breakfast Club for fun and business development - but mainly fun, obviously. For this I made my first gingerbread llama piñata, and he got to hang out with real life llamas on the grounds of the beautiful venue we were staying in!


In March, I was honoured to be named as an Inspirational Woman on International Women's Day by Lagom magazine, alongside This Is The Kit and a host of other truly inspirational humans! I also did my very first dry spice lettering project, designed by calligrapher queen Alice Gabb.


For Clerkenwell Design Week, I collaborated with artist Adam Nathaniel Furman to create our alternative royal wedding cake design, “The Ginger Sutra”. He designed it in all of it’s bright, colour blocking glory, and I then built it in delicious gingerbread format.


July was the month I built the Palace of Versailles for the British Museum from vanilla and green tea biscuit. It was my first large-scale biscuit build not from gingerbread - it was an absolute dream-come-true commission.

Images by Eva Photography


The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson wedding shoot I was part of, created by Kirsty Mackenzie Photography and The Wedding Spark, was featured on Green Wedding Shoes. I made the Grand Budapest Hotel out of gingerbread, complete with gilded roof and pink window frames. I’d LOVE to do more film-based biscuit buildings this year!

Images by Kirsty Mackenzie Photography


Another amazing film-based wedding shoot I was part of, this time inspired by the iconic Labyrinth, was published on Offbeat Bride. Of course, I made a gingerbread labyrinth as an alternative wedding cake!

Images by Fleming Photo


I got to build my Ideal Gingerbread Home (a gingerbread town house for The Ideal Home Show At Christmas), my biggest building to date. I learnt so much and had the time of my life planning it and bringing it to life - can't wait to hopefully make something even bigger and better this year!


In December, I made my TV debut on Kirstie's Handmade Christmas, where I was honoured to judge the gingerbread competition. I had so much fun hanging out with the fab production team that day, and people's comments since the show came out have been so lovely!

What’s next?

Looking ahead to 2019: I have got a couple of really fun commissions coming up in a couple of months including a gorgeously geeky wedding, and a massive bar mitzvah.

I’m also working on some super exciting collaborations at the moment which I can’t wait to get cracking on with. On top of that, I can't say too much, but I might be appearing on your TV screens again soon too!

Ellie Kime
Alternative 3D Gingerbread Wedding Favours
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Alternative Gingerbread Wedding Favours

A couple of weeks ago I chatted to you about alternative gingerbread wedding cakes, but that’s not where our wedding wares end - this week I’m going to show you how gingerbread biscuits can make the perfect alternative wedding favour too! I specialise in 3D gingerbread so nothing’s off limits…

Alternative wedding favour boxes

Wedding favour boxes are such a fun addition to a wedding table. Plonk a box totally made from gingerbread in the middle of the table, fill it with more treats, and your guests will totally love it! They’re also completely customisable, down to their shape, their colour scheme, and the patterns.

Edible gingerbread table numbers

It’s the motto I live by, but you can and should make everything out of gingerbread. Wedding favour boxes can also double as table numbers, like this colourful design above - then, when everyone’s found their seat, they can start to dismantle it and eat it!

Individual 3D biscuit favours

Biscuits are great - undoubtedly - but what’s even better than 2D biscuits? 3D biscuits. Why not have every one of your guests greeted with a cute biscuit at their place setting? Whether you’re having a tropical cactus themed wedding or you’re having a winter wedding that requires mini gingerbread houses to slot onto the side of a hot mug, I can design something for you!

Individual biscuit boxes

Individual biscuit boxes are another really cute way of thanking your guests for being there. They’re a great double whammy as not only do they look great and can be used there and then, they can also be taken home to enjoy whilst nursing the day-after hangover (unlike sugared almonds, which without fail always just get left on the table. Soz sugared almonds.)

If you’re looking to spice up your wedding with some 3D gingerbread favours, get in touch here and we can chat all about your wedding plans!

Ellie Kime
Alternative Gingerbread Wedding Cakes

Just as a dog is for life and not just for Christmas, so is biscuit - and that’s why it makes such a fantastic addition to weddings. Gingerbread is so versatile and so much can be done with it to fit your theme that it’s ideal whether you’re having a winter or summer wedding. ‘Out there’ enough that it’ll totally enthrall guests, but traditional enough that people will want to dive in, it’s the perfect alternative wedding cake idea. I also do biscuit cakes too, if you’re more of a custard cream kind of person (I don’t judge.) Here’s a few of the options as some inspiration for ya, but as everything is handmade by me in East London, you can have essentially whatever you most desire!

Alternative Gingerbread Wedding Cake Ideas

Giant gingerbread house

Phil & Ellie (who refer to themselves as Phellie!) got married in late December 2017. They were having a festive wedding at Woodlands Park Hotel in Cobham, Surrey and wanted a fun Christmassy alternative to a traditional wedding cake, so requested a gingerbread version of the venue. On the day they pretended to cut it with a delicate cake knife before pulling out a big wooden mallet they'd hidden and smashing it to smitherines! (My kind of couple!)

Photography by Anneli Marinovich

For a super elegant and super wintery wedding shoot, La Fête asked me to create cute gingerbread houses to go under glass domes. These doubled as decor as well as catering alongside the bigger gingerbread house cake, which retained the traditional tiered element of a wedding cake with layers of flat house biscuits stuck around the outside, creating a chocolate box house appearance. It’s a perfect middle ground between fun and elegant! (See more on Rock My Wedding)

Personalised gingerbread biscuit cake toppers

Di & Raph had a super cool evening wedding party in Bermondsey with a really relaxed and fun vibe. They wanted something totally different from a traditonal cake, something that reflected their personalities and captured the style of their beautiful invitations (which were hand illustrated with pics of the couple and their cute matching brown brogues with bright red laces!). We chatted about their passions and story as a couple and came up with the idea of a load of iced personalised gingerbread biscuits that represented their favourite cities, love of travel, brogues and humour.

Giant film-inspired gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel

photography by Kirsty Mackenzie Photography

This is and always will be one of my absolute faves! When the ladies at The Wedding Spark asked me to get involved with this Wes Anderson inspired wedding shoot at The Barn at Avington, I jumped at the chance. I remade the Grand Budapest Hotel out of gingerbread (what else?!) complete with pink piped windows and a silver lustre roof. It was a biggun, with the width measuring more than the two models stood side by side, to capture the larger-than-life wonderfully over the top fantasy of Wes Anderson’s worlds. See more on Green Wedding Shoes

Wedding piñata cakes

Get your cake and your entertainment in one! I love love love making edible piñatas like this llama piñata I made earlier this year. Instead of having a cake cutting, have a cake smashing and let everyone fight for the contents - or, alternatively, have it as a fun activity in the downtime between the ceremony and the reception.

Alternative biscuit wedding ideas

Classic English biscuit cake

Photography by Ellie Gillard

Adina & Myke got married in July 2018, organised by the awesome wedding planners Revelry Events. The couple had seen one of my biscuit cakes at the Unruly Wedding Show and got in touch! Their quirky reception was at London bar The Anthologist with loads of fun details, including an amazing hanging banner seating plan and Mendl's cake boxes. We chatted about their favourite biscuits and cake flavours to come up with the 3 different tiers on the finished cake - we settled on Jammy Dodgers, Party Rings and Bourbon biscuits - and it was really fun installing it in the beautiful windows of The Anthologist.


Photo by Maria Assia

If you’ve never heard of Kransekake (or Kransekage, depending on if you’re Danish or Norwegian) prepare to have your life changed. It’s layers upon layers of delicious biscuits, hard on the outside and chewy on the inside, stacked on top of each other and decorated with delicate piping details. The Wedding Spark were organising a fierce and fresh Nordic/Scandi wedding shoot, for which I thought this would be totally perfect! Simple and elegant but completely different and (obviously) delicious - perfect! Check out more on Festival Brides

So, you’re sold on the gingerbread biscuit wedding cake idea. What next?

My lead times vary depending on the time of year. If it's a winter wedding it's best to get chatting early in the year to ensure I can fit it in around my Christmas installation work, but during the summer I'm more flexible and able to take on commissions nearer the date.

After initial contact I'll usually arrange a phone/Skype chat with you, where we discuss all sorts of stuff including your ideas for other bits of the big day, your story as a couple, your passions and interests, and what you'd like the centrepiece to look like/be made from! I then go away and come up with a few different options (which can be at different price points if you haven't fixed on a cake budget at that stage), give you a chance to chat about those and send feedback. Then we'll work on a final design which sometimes includes me making a cardboard model to give you an idea of what it would look like, and I get everything booked in.

If you wanna chat, please do get in touch - I’d love to help!

Foolproof royal icing recipe and decorating tips for perfect gingerbread

My foolproof royal icing recipe

This recipe is the icing on the cake - or, should I say, the gingerbread. Getting the perfect icing is crucial to all of my bakes and builds, as not only is it how I make all of the bespoke details and patterns in my designs, but it’s also how I stick all of my pieces together! This means I need an icing that’s robust and dependable, but also malleable enough for me to be able to colour it, manipulate it, and perfect tiny finishing touches with it. Too watery, and my builds would fall apart; too thick, and I wouldn’t be able to decorate anything.

You may think it’s an impossible balance to strike but it’s actually really easy to make. No secret tricks, no crazy ingredients - just the right ratios and a steady hand! See my recipe below, and watch the video above to watch it in action.


  • 4 tsp meringue powder

  • 6 tbsp water

  • piping gel (optional)

  • 500g icing sugar (sifted)

  • colours + lustre powder for decoration


Mix 4 teaspoons of meringue powder with 6 tablespoons of water and a bit of piping gel until combined. It’ll be quite thin, but with bubbles on top.

NB: Meringue powder is just powdered egg whites, but if you don’t have this you can just use normal egg whites. Piping gel is also optional but if you do have it, use it - it makes for a smoother icing.

Add 500g sifted icing sugar and mix until combined.

Once combined, mix on a high speed for 4-5 minutes.

Decorating tips

I always dye some of the icing brown so that it blends in with the gingerbread and makes the joins and the building less obvious. For both building icing and decorating icing, I use seamless piping bags; you cut the end when you’re ready to start piping, which means you can control the size of the nozzle.

If your biscuit has cracked - and sometimes it does - don’t worry at all! You can incorporate it into your piping design and nobody will ever know.

One of my favourite decorating effects is metallic lustre, because it’s really fun as well as looking elegant. This comes as a powder, which you then mix with alcohol to form a paint - the alcohol evaporates super quickly, leaving you with a perfect metallic sheen. You only need a little bit of lustre (and a tiny bit of alcohol - sorry Mary Berry) to get a really incredible effect.

I personally always favour icing patterns that leave a lot of the gingerbread itself on show but this icing works well as flood icing too!

Ellie Kime
Tips and tricks for building the perfect gingerbread (plus free building template!)

How to make the perfect gingerbread building

Last week, I shared my Construction Gingerbread recipe with you - the one I use for all of my building projects to give you the most delicious gingerbread building ever. This week, I’m sharing all the tips and tricks of construction with you to make sure your build is totally structurally sound, too! Check out the video above and my top tips below for all the insider secrets on perfect gingerbread!

p.s. in the video I’m making one of my heart-shaped gift boxes - at the end of the blog post I’ve included the template and instructions to be able to make your own. If you want the complete Bisc-kit, you can buy them here too.

Tip 1: File your gingerbread

Gingerbread often slightly warps in the oven, so I use a microplane zester to gently and carefully file my gingerbread to ensure it’s the perfect shape again. It’s the best way to make sure your gingerbread pieces have totally flat sides, allowing them to sit perfectly with one another.

Tip 2: Make corners in your gingerbread

For the perfect fit with corner pieces that just slot together, I file them at an angle to create a perfect join. This ensures you have neat lines and pointy corners, rather than overlapping layers.

Tip 3: Use brown icing

It’s no secret that icing is what sticks a gingerbread building together (although it might surprise you that that’s all I use!), but have you ever considered using brown icing for your construction? It’s a much subtler colour that blends in with the gingerbread, meaning your build will look even more seamless. No more leaky, drippy white edges! (Keep your eyes peeled next week for my perfect icing recipe…)

Tip 4: Buy a mini spatula

Mini spatulas are a really inexpensive solution to a very annoying problem. Once your pieces are securely attached, there’ll be excess icing that looks unsightly; use a mini spatula to scrape it off. I have a pointed one that really gets into the corner and leaves it looking clean and smooth.

Fancy making your own heart-shaped gingerbread box?

As promised, here’s the downloadable instructions and template absolutely free!

Ellie Kime
How to make the perfect gingerbread for building - Emily's Construction Gingerbread

The perfect gingerbread for building

The clue is in the title: this gingerbread was born to build. It’s the perfect gingerbread recipe for building sturdy Christmas gingerbread houses, or something slightly bigger. It’s the exact recipe I’ve used for all of my wonderful and wacky projects over the years! It’s also the ideal gingerbread to eat, because I never compromise on flavour. What would be the point on making everything out of gingerbread if it couldn’t be eaten at the end?

Perfect gingerbread recipe


  • 200g soft light brown sugar

  • 75ml water

  • 40g black treacle

  • 40g golden syrup

  • 35g mixed ground spices (I use a special blend, but you can use whatever you like - try and remember to include ginger though!)

  • 250g cubed unsalted butter

  • 550g plain flour

  • 5g table salt


Melt together the sugar, water, black treacle, golden syrup and mixed ground spices until the sugar has dissolved, but it’s not boiling.

Gradually add 250g cubed unsalted butter, until melted into smooth glossy mixture. Let cool slightly before adding flour.

Pour wet mix into a stand mixer (or large bowl if you're mixing by hand).

Add the flour and salt.

Refrigerate for 20 mins.

Roll to 5mm thick.

Bake at 160(fan)/180 for between 12 and 20 mins depending on the size of the pieces. Let cool on the tray until totally firm (as this is construction gingerbread, you need to avoid it being soft in the middle).

If you like what you see in the video above, I’m making one of the heart shaped boxes you can find in my Bisc Kits! Stay tuned for more how-tos in the coming weeks as I help you prep properly for Christmas…

Ellie Kime
How to make a giant gingerbread structure (and how to order one!)

Giant gingerbread building replicas

If you know anything about Maid of Gingerbread, you’ll know two things: 1. I love making gingerbread and 2. I LOVE making gingerbread replicas of real life buildings. It’s one of my favourite bits of my job, taking a brief of a beautiful, awe-inspiring structure and translating it into gingerbread format. The breadth of briefs is amazing too, whether you’re looking for a replica palace for a unique event centrepiece or a llama shaped piñata for an experiential dessert with a difference (Yup, I’ve done both!).

If you’ve ever looked at one of my bakes, your first thought was probably ‘how?!’ (sometimes closely followed by ‘why?!’. The answer to the latter is because gingerbread is the best and most delicious building medium; no further questions m’lord.) I thought it’d be a great idea to take you behind the scenes of the process, and explain just how I take giant designs from brief to bake to build. Hopefully it’ll kickstart some inspiration in you and get you thinking about what I can make you out of gingerbread - if you have any ideas head to the bottom of the blog to find out more about the ordering process!


The first step is research. Using Google, Pinterest and Google Earth I research the building or object to get a load of images. Even better, important and famous buildings are now 3D in Google Earth so you can fly around them whilst zooming in and out - it’s a) super cool and b) super helpful! You’d be amazed at the places I’ve explored…

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Once I’ve got my reference image, it’s time to work out the scale I’m going to work to, drawing rough sketches and diagrams to work out the perfect dimensions. I then cut the shapes out from 2mm thick Kraft board and stick them together using masking tape to create my first mockup of the structure! At this point the design may be a little crude, so I refine it to ensure it’ll work in gingerbread - sometimes this includes a little artistic license to make sure it’s properly sturdy as well as internal structural elements, but it always still looks like the real life building. This is also the stage where the I’ll include holes for the wiring if the design is having internal lighting (like my giant gingerbread Castle Howard).

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The bake and the build

When I’m happy with the design I label every component, take a photo of it from every side possible - gotta work those angles - and then demolish it. But don’t fear, as each template is then cut from gingerbread! The shapes are arranged by size on the baking trays to ensure an even bake on all pieces - miniature pieces can bake in as quickly as 7 minutes, but large pieces take 20-25 to be done properly. When they’re cool, then comes the best bit - assembling them again, but this time out of beloved gingerbread! If I have a design that I really like and may want to make again, I often superglue the cardboard template together for visual reference for the future. I’m talking about you, llama piñata.

image by  Paola de Paola

Fancy commissioning a bespoke gingerbread structure?

Yay! A very good idea, if I do say so myself. Alongside dates and details of the project, I’ll need good quality photos or drawings of the design, as well as reference images for style or decoration. Even better for buildings are the architects’ plans for each side of the building, as I can then print these out and use as immediate templates. This reduces the design time and therefore the cost. One of the main factors when costing a bespoke gingerbread build is the design time as it can take almost as long as the build itself!

How can you order a gingerbread building?

I’d love to hear from you on - please send me an email and we can get planning…

A Giant Gingerbread Stately Home: Castle Howard Winter Wonderland
CH Blog post 3 [photo credit_ Bompas & Parr].jpg

I know it doesn’t bear thinking about the C word right now, but today I wanted to throw back to one of my favourite projects to date; a giant Christmassy gingerbread replica of Castle Howard. And when I say giant, I do mean giant – it was over 3 and a half metres wide, and 2 and a half metres deep!

The brief - an event centrepiece

The gingerbread build was in collaboration with Bompas & Parr, who are some of my industry heroes: what they do with food is beyond belief, so when I heard I’d be working with them I literally jumped for joy! They wanted a Winter Wonderland version of Castle Howard, a beautiful stately home just outside of York, as well as the estate’s other buildings and monuments to be displayed as the event centrepiece of their epic Christmas decorations. Gingerbread is perfect all year round – but especially at Christmas, obviously…

In the end, I made 8 gingerbread buildings: Castle Howard, the Ray Wood Reservoir, Temple of the Four Winds, Mausoleum, Carmirre Gate, Carlisle’s Obelisk, the train station, and the Earl’s Monument. The top of the Earl’s Monument is a highly detailed gold filigree piece – it was so fiddly (and with a four and a half hour journey, nerve-wracking) but a fun challenge!

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The (ginger)bread

I started with reference images for each of these buildings, to begin the process of working out how to make each one in gingerbread format. Once I’d worked out the template, I made it from cardboard and assembled it to ensure it was structurally sound (I didn’t want to be the one responsible for destroying Castle Howard now, did I?). After that, I used the cardboard templates to build the gingerbread versions. To retain the fine, delicate details of the buildings, I also used icing and pastillage (a kind of super-strong, super-thin, porcelain-like icing) to decorate. As the main house was going to have interior lighting, we also had proper window detailing in there.

To add to the winter wonderland effect, I made a real working train for the set by taking apart a real Hornby set and replacing the chassis with gingerbread and icing. It required a lot of playing in the studio to ensure it worked, but sometimes you’ve got to make sacrifices for work, right?! When there’s a will, there’s a gingerbread way – the words I live by…

Week 4 -Christmas [photo credit_ Bompas & Parr].jpg

The build

Now, I know what you’re thinking – I’m based in Hackney, and Castle Howard is in York. Was that not the most nerve-wracking install ever? And the answer, my friends, is yes, yes it was. After 2 months of designing and making everything, I then had to drive the buildings up to Yorkshire to install (that’s a four and a half hour drive each way!). Once there, I worked with Bompas & Parr on the install, as they’d created the landscaping that the gingerbread was to sit on. It took three of us just to carry the main house in, and I had to take lots of spares of every component in case stuff broke! In the end though, it arrived in perfect condition.

Once set up, the gingerbread Castle Howard was displayed for month in the lead up to Christmas 2016. It’s one of the many things I love about gingerbread– and believe me, there are many – but once it’s there, it stays there!

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Do you fancy a large scale build or event centrepiece made entirely from gingerbread? If you do, get in touch with me here - I’d love to hear from you!

All photo credits: Bompas & Parr

Ellie Kime
A Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel for a Wes Anderson Inspired Wedding Shoot

A beautiful Wes Anderson style wedding photoshoot featuring my Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel

I feel very lucky that sometimes a work email can make me do an actual little jump for joy!  That’s exactly what happened when I was asked to be part of this Wes Anderson inspired wedding shoot.  I’m a massive Wes fan and there are just so many awesome buildings and objects in his films that are crying out to be transformed into gingerbread versions. At the very top of that list surely has to be The Grand Budapest Hotel; ever since I saw that film I’ve wanted to make a gingerbread hotel worthy of Mendl’s bakery!

This shoot, featured today on Green Wedding Shoes, was the dream-child of colourful, crafty stylists The Wedding Spark and everything was expertly captured by Kirsty Mackenzie.  Just check out all the beautiful little details, colour palettes and symmetry going on here:

Wes Anderson inspired wedding stationery by  White Cottage Weddings . Photo by  Kirsty Mackenzie .

Wes Anderson inspired wedding stationery by White Cottage Weddings. Photo by Kirsty Mackenzie.

Wes Anderson inspired wedding at  The Barn at Avington . Photo by  Kirsty Mackenzie .

Wes Anderson inspired wedding at The Barn at Avington. Photo by Kirsty Mackenzie.

Making The Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel

As with most big 3D builds I started by studying lots of images of the hotel, including screenshots from the original film along with some illustrators’ interpretations and other drawings.  Then I made a scale cardboard model of the building to work out which aspects I wanted to include, how to put it all together, and how many biscuits to use in the final design.

Plans and template-making for The Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel

Plans and template-making for The Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel

Once I was happy with my version of the hotel (I wanted to make it recognisable, but retaining my signature style with lots of natural gingerbread and piped icing details) I created templates from the cardboard building and used them to bake all the biscuit components.  Then came the fun bit - hand piping over 100 windows in different shades of pink! Once these were set I carefully assembled all the main hotel components, adding icing turrets to the two wings and then added the roof pieces.

Hand-piped icing windows on The Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo by  Kirsty Mackenzie .

Hand-piped icing windows on The Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo by Kirsty Mackenzie.

Finally, I painted the roof and turret domes with edible metallic silver paint (my favourite!), added lots of tiny edible pink pearls to accentuate the details around the windows, and some edible diamonds along the rooftop to give it a beautiful sparkly luxurious finish.

The Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel.  Photo by  Kirsty Mackenzie .

The Gingerbread Grand Budapest Hotel.  Photo by Kirsty Mackenzie.

Just checking it tastes as good as it looks! (Always.) Photo by  Kirsty Mackenzie .

Just checking it tastes as good as it looks! (Always.) Photo by Kirsty Mackenzie.

Ideas for how to include a bit of Wes Anderson on your wedding day

Even if you don’t want to go ‘full Wes’, there are so many fab ideas that will incorporate just a little bit of his whimsical style into your big day.  For example, these cute pink Mendl’s bakery boxes are perfect for people to take their slice of cake home to savour later on:

Mendl's cake boxes inspired by Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo by  Kirsty Mackenzie .

Mendl's cake boxes inspired by Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo by Kirsty Mackenzie.

A colourful piano-based cocktail bar with stunning floral display would make an amazing focal point in almost any style of venue and can be totally personalised to fit with your colour scheme (and favourite drinks!).

Piano bar by  With These Hands , flowers by  The Wild Fox . Photo by  Kirsty Mackenzie .

Piano bar by With These Hands, flowers by The Wild Fox. Photo by Kirsty Mackenzie.

Or why not commission a bespoke flag, either as a stunning personalised backdrop or as an alternative table plan?

It was SO much fun to be part of this amazing shoot with an absolute dream team of wedding suppliers.  I absolutely loved creating such an iconic building in edible form. Please do get in touch if your favourite film features a building you’d love to see made out of gingerbread.

If you're feeling inspired and want to get a bit of Wes in your wedding (or life!), head over to Green Wedding Shoes to read the article in full.  Here are the details of all those amazing suppliers:

photography: Kirsty Mackenzie Photography // venue name: The Barn at Avington, Avington, Hampshire, UK // event design: The Wedding Spark // planning: The Wedding Spark // florals: The Wild Fox // wedding dress: Indie Brides // hairpiece: Sophie & Luna // hair stylist: Bridal Hair in Hampshire // makeup artist: Serena Grace MUA // groom attire: Adam Waite and Dapper and Suave // videography: Loved Up Films // paper goods: White Cottage Weddings // handmade details: ceremony backdrop paper from The Wedding Spark // tabletop rentals: Harriet's Table // furniture rentals: Purple Door Props // models: Maxwell James and Georgia Harris // props (piano bar, easel, vintage suitcases, hat boxes) : With These Hands // props (backdrop screen, tambourines, bottles, candlesticks): Lo & Behold Bespoke // light up signs: Locke & Busby // bell tents + rug aisle: Baylily Bell Tents

The Palace of Versailles: A vanilla and green tea biscuit showstopper for The British Museum

As you might expect, being a Gingerbread Engineer I have a 'wish list' of dream buildings I would love to make in biscuit form.  The Palace of Versailles has been on that list for a long while, so when I received a commission to build it by The British Museum I was so excited!  The Château is just one of the most famous and stunning buildings in the world; what an amazing challenge to recreate it as a biscuit centrepiece.

Making the Biscuit Palace of Versailles

I suggested using vanilla biscuit as a light, summery alternative to gingerbread (and to better match the pale stonework of the real building), along with matcha green tea biscuits for the surrounding gardens; the natural colour and flavour of the matcha lends itself perfectly to edible greenery.  

Prep work

As with most large scale projects, I started by working out the rough dimensions and then produced a 3D cardboard model of the whole building, from which I made all the templates for the biscuits.  It always looks really messy at this stage, but I really enjoy the process of working out which pieces of the building to incorporate and how to make everything fit together.

versailles cardboard.jpg

Once all the cardboard engineering is complete, I destroy the 3D model (!) and produce a really detailed plan so that once all the biscuits are baked I know how it all fits back together.  For this project I'd divided the main palace into 3 separate buildings which I joined up during the installation on site.

Construction of the Palace

As well icing all the individual details onto each component part, I baked lots of internal support components to ensure every bit of the building stayed perfectly in place.

versailles internal supports.jpg

It's my favourite part of any project when it gets to the stage where you can see how the finished building will look.  For the Château, one of these moments was recreating the iconic main courtyard.  I used pastillage to make all the delicate architectural features, along with lots of edible metallic paint to bring it to life.

biscuit palace of versailles edible metallic paint

The gardens

The Château de Versailles would just not be complete without its beautiful gardens.  I chose Japanese matcha green tea biscuits for these, so they would have a really natural look and a deliciously fresh taste.  Over 750 individual green tea biscuits in lots of different shapes went to make up the forest-like gardens that surround the palace, each arranged in an ornate pattern around a central courtyard decorated with chocolate sprinkles.  I also created a series of formal gardens using flat biscuits intricately decorated with piped icing, inspired by the stunning Versailles Orangery.

versailles gardens
making of versailles green tea gardens


The completed palace and gardens were installed in the absolutely stunning venue that is the Great Hall of The British Museum as the centrepiece for their annual Summer Party.  Even though this is one of the biggest installations I've made it was totally dwarfed by the surrounding architecture!  It was such a joy to make and I loved setting it up amongst their incredible floral decorations.

palace of versailles in british museum
Things to do in the summer with gingerbread

Summertime is creeping in so I wanted to share with you some ways to enjoy the summer in all its biscuity goodness. I mentioned last week about how gingerbread isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for all year round. There is a plethora of uses for gingerbread aside from building gingerbread houses and decorating them in snow 'icing' - although, let’s be honest, that’s fun too.

Being a gingerbread connoisseur, I love to experiment with what I can make, taking my biscuit building to the next level. I’ve made 3D installations for shop windows and recreated ancient tombs as well as producing replicas of existing buildings in delicious biscuit form.

gingerbread landmarks.jpg

But I always feel like there’s more that can be done with gingerbread. Despite its lack of bendiness it’s actually a really versatile building material and can hold its own in almost any shape you can imagine. So with the summer just around the corner, I wanted to inspire you to get baking no matter the weather outside. So, with that said, here are some ideas to help you celebrate and enjoy biscuity goodness all year-round.

Things to do in the summer with gingerbread (that isn’t baking a gingerbread house!)

Creative wedding favour ideas

Weddings can sometimes be a little bit awkward for guests. If you get sat next to someone you don’t know it can be hard to strike up a conversation or feel comfortable at your table. Group wedding favours can kill two birds with one stone! And if you can make that wedding favour edible you’ll have some very happy guests. A 3D gingerbread table centrepiece will encourage everyone to talk and band together, break into the biscuits and provide a really fun after dinner treat. Try it and see how it brings out the inner child in your guests! It can also save you a lot of money on buying individual wedding favours.  If you’re feeling really brave why not try baking your own?

Edible piñatas

Piñatas are great for outdoor summer parties, for adults and kids alike. They are social, fun, silly and great to get people up and active at a party. But a fully edible piñata? You’d be surprised how much more excited people are about getting involved! I created a gingerbread fiesta llama piñata recently, which featured hand-piped royal icing ruffles and was filled to the brim with rainbow sweets. 

gingerbread llama pinata.jpg

The great thing about edible piñatas is there’s no mess left behind because every element is edible, so you don’t have to worry about clearing up and disposing of lots of rubbish at the end of the day.

Edible bunting for your summer BBQ

It might sound like a crazy idea, but stick with me. Gingerbread is perfect for an outdoor summer party. Try baking a tray of gingerbread men, or birds, or triangles for traditional bunting. In fact, it could be anything to match the theme of your party. Just punch a hole in them just before you place them in the oven, decorate them sparingly with royal icing and you’ll have yourself the start of a perfect row of bunting! Thread some ribbon through each piece - make sure it’s thick ribbon to support the weight of the bunting - and hang it up, perhaps in the trees if you’re in a park or around the windows of a gazebo. The best thing is, you can finish your BBQ and turn to the decorations for your dessert.

Alternative wedding cake

Wedding season is starting - although, of course, people have weddings all year round, we just seem to love the sunshine - and the past few years have seen a rise in people opting for an alternative wedding. They might not want a white dress, or a first dance, or a traditional wedding cake. I’ve had many requests over the years to make alternative wedding cakes. One of my favourites was this recreation of a ruined tomb I made for a couple who were both archaeologists.

Archaeological gingerbread centrepiece filled with sweets.jpg

They both preferred biscuits to cake but still wanted something spectacular to be the centrepiece for their wedding. Gingerbread is a great alternative to a wedding cake because you can make a display of individual pieces or an impressive structure in the shape of almost anything you love. It can be decorated just as much as you can decorate a cake, so it’s guaranteed to look spectacular, and because it's hollow you can include a whole host of delicious surprises inside it too!

Picnic centrepiece

There’s something about the summer heat that makes us Brits turn alfresco and many of us love to have big celebrations outdoors, whether it’s a birthday, wedding, engagement party or family reunion. A centrepiece at an outdoor party can make it feel special but cakes are not the best items to leave out in the sun for hours. Biscuits, on the other hand, are great. They won’t go soggy or begin to melt, you don’t need to worry about keeping them on ice or in the shade. If you want to bake something really special, try making a vanilla biscuit box filled with your favourite treats and decorated with edible flowers: delicious summery perfection!

So here are five ideas for summer biscuits, but there’s so much more you could do! Gingerbread is a great building tool, and it’s possible to build anything you can imagine. What about you? What’s the strangest thing you’ve used gingerbread for and will you be trying anything new with biscuits this summer?

The Story of Maid of Gingerbread

Emily here, Maid of Maid of Gingerbread, alternative wedding cake baker and unique party ideas
maker extraordinaire. With the summer creeping in (almost) and our thoughts turning to the year
ahead, I thought it was about time I told you about how I got into 3D gingerbread construction and why I love it so much (aside from the fact that it’s super fun and delicious!). Here’s a little interview with me about why I love making bespoke event centrepieces.

Maid of Gingerbread came to life because of a rebellion against cakes and the circus…

I first came up with the idea of Maid of Gingerbread in 2010. My friend hosts a big fancy dress party every year and in 2010 the theme was the circus. I wanted to bake a cake to bring to the party but I couldn’t think of a cool enough cake design. I knew it had to be spectacular. I went back home to Colchester in Essex to visit my parents and I came across our old gingerbread house templates. We used to really enjoy baking gingerbread homes and would bake them every year. It was this that gave me the idea to build a gingerbread circus big top - because, believe it or not, gingerbread doesn’t always have to be in the shape of a house or person. I adapted the old gingerbread templates and the circus top came to life.

The great thing about building with gingerbread is that it’s hollow so I was able to create an entire circus to put inside the circus top construction. I added Cadbury’s animal biscuit lions and made them jump through party rings. The making process really brought out my inner child. My friends loved it and were really impressed and I enjoyed making it. At the time, I didn’t really think about it as creating an event centrepiece, but I guess that’s what it was.

When I had to leave my job that summer due to health reasons - I had RSI in my wrists and had to avoid computer work - I decided it was time to give full-time baking a go. And so, Maid of Gingerbread was born.

The hurdles I’ve had to jump

The biggest challenge I’ve had to face so far in my baking career is building a 3D gingerbread model of Castle Howard in Yorkshire. In fact, it’s been my biggest project to date.

The project involved making the main house and seven of its surrounding buildings and monuments and creating a winter wonderland installation in intricate detail. Not only did I have to copy the architectural plans of each building and translate them into tasty gingerbread, hand-piped royal icing, edible metallic paint and pastillage, I also had to make sure the tall obelisk structures stayed upright - no easy feat!

gingerbread castle howard with working gingerbread train

Creating an edible, moving train was my next challenge, which nearly broke me, but it worked in the end and looked great. I created a gingerbread train that worked and weaved its way through the frosty landscape. To top it all off, after I’d made a tasty, edible structure that held together, I still had to transport it in a van all the way from London to Yorkshire. With thanks to good driving and a spot of good luck, it made it in one piece.

I love recreating real-life objects and translating them into gingerbread. My other favourite projects include creating a Temple of Gingerbread and a personal favourite of mine, creating an edible DeLorean (see pictures). To me, these are projects that prove gingerbread is for life, not just for Christmas.

gingerbread temple
gingerbread back to the future delorean

Why I love gingerbread

I've always loved building things and I love food. Gingerbread is the perfect material to combine these two passions. The first time I tried gingerbread was at my 4th birthday party thanks to a house my mum made for me and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.

About my gingerbread making technique

Traditional gingerbread houses tend to use a puffy gingerbread mixture which includes bicarbonate of soda and a thick, gloopy icing to snow over the joints. Although this technique works to keep the structure together, in my opinion, the end results are sometimes messy and scrappy looking. I wanted to create a mixture that would not only tastes delicious but look professional and give a cleaner, sharper edge to allow me to build modern designs.

I decided to adapt a sugar cookie recipe for the gingerbread and file down the joints using a Microplane zester (one many utensils used as 'tools' in my toolbox). This means the edges fit together perfectly and hide most of the icing on the inside of the structure, creating the clean, smooth looking structure you can see in my finished products.

What’s next for Maid of Gingerbread?

I have dreams to spread the gingerbread love even further by writing a book about gingerbread construction. In fact, I would love to do a gingerbread tour of Europe to explore all the different traditions of spiced bread. It took me a while to refine my unique and top secret spice recipe!

Call me ambitious, but I want to make even bigger, bolder and brighter constructions! I want to spread the love of gingerbread making by encouraging more people to experiment with 3D biscuit building using my BISC KITS and joining me on one of my construction workshops to learn how to do it yourself.