This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine. I’m partnering with Folgers® at Walmart through the Share A Cup & A Story campaign, to celebrate new and old holiday traditions.
I often get asked when my love of baking and decorating started, and I always know exactly how to answer. It came from spending year after year baking in the kitchen with my mother, causing my love of creating yummy things to grow, and eventually led to a career in food marketing and a bloggy side gig that brings me endless creative possibilities. As we head into the cold holiday months (when I usually find myself feeling down rather than up) I always find my groove the same way my mom did: the oven cranked up, sweet goodies on the table, kids with messy fingers, and a good cup of coffee by my side. My absolute favorite holiday project? Gingerbread Houses.
When my mom and I made gingerbread houses, they were big, elaborate creations with tons of candy, snowy icing and an entire day’s worth of artistic effort. Or, at least that’s how I remember them. These days, we still invite Mom over. We still share a cup of Folgers Classic Roast Coffee But the projects change from year to year as the kids grow.
Sometimes, with two kids and a busy workload, all I can manage is a simple gingerbread house kit. Sometimes, we get a little more industrious, with rolled gingerbread men to live in our house’s yard. And other times, like this year, we riff on our original with easy, dye-free goodies that we can actually eat! (As a dye-free family, not eating our houses can be a real drag.)
A New Tradition: Easy Gingerbread House Cakes
For these giftable little gingerbread-style houses, you’ll just need to pick up a few things at the store.
Nothing major, you might even have these easy items on hand. You can make the little loaf cakes from scratch if you want to, but a mix will make everything easier.
- 1 box cake mix
- 5 mini loaf pans
- 1 large container vanilla frosting
- 1 large container dark chocolate frosting
- 1 box graham crackers
- 1 bag pretzel sticks
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- white and dark chocolate chips
- piping bags
- various other candies, pretzels, etc. for decorating
- Bake mini loaf cakes according to package directions. When cool, place each loaf on a plate and cover cakes with icing. Place pretzel sticks on sides to resemble log cabin. Place graham crackers on top as roof, using icing in a piping bag to adhere. Use piping bags and chips to add icicles, door, windows, roof shingles, etc. as desired. When decorating is complete, dust finished house with powdered sugar.
It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of contrast between white and dark chocolates and a sprinkling of powdered sugar snow.
The kids made their houses entirely on their own – they’re that easy.
And they never once mentioned the lack of red and green. I mean, can you get much cuter than a snowy log cabin? As they get bigger, we’ll go back to baking panels and creating big, beautiful displays. But for now? Now, easy is everything.
Overall, no matter what we make, it’s the family time that’s important. I know that those houses I made with my mom weren’t prize-winners, but that doesn’t lessen my memories of them at all. They were magical to me, and those memories mean enough that passing them down to my kids is always on the top of my holiday to-do list. I don’t know if they’ll ever make cakes, cookies, and gingerbread houses for a living like I did for a while, but I do hope they’ll always feel connected by those special holiday moments.
What holiday traditions do you value most?