Dec 27

A Daring Japanese Gingerbread House

in Daring Bakers

I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday season!  I know we have.  We had a wonderful Christmas Day.  We woke up at home, opened presents, ate breakfast, and then drove over to my parents’ house (about 45 minutes away) for more present opening and general all around fun.  Mr. Fuji surprised us with a Wii and so we took that with us to my parents’ house and played for quite a few hours—having tennis, bowling, and boxing tournaments between various family members throughout the day.  My arm and shoulder muscles are still punishing me for my participation!  Today we are driving up to the Salt Lake City, Utah, area to spend New Years with my in-laws.  Squirrel is looking forward to “sliding” (sledding) in the snow.  But on to food related topics . . . . This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was a great one—-to bake and create a gingerbread house from scratch.  It has been years since I have made a gingerbread house, and so I really enjoyed tackling this challenge.

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

We were allowed to make our houses as big or as small as we wanted, but we had to meet these requirements:

1. Everything had to be edible – no glue or inner non-food supports allowed.

2. We had to bake the gingerbread ourselves. No graham cracker houses please!

3. We had to use some sort of template and take a picture or link to what we used in our post, but it didn’t have to be super technical.

4. The house had to be able to stand on its own.

I finally decided on a Japanese theme and created a little vacation house for the Fuji’s to go visit at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

Drawing up the house plans

I drew up my own template on some graph paper, checked, double checked, and triple checked my measurements, made the dough, cut and baked the pieces, and then prayed that everything would come together.  I figured that if I totally failed, I could always take a picture of the mess and claim that an earthquake, or Mt. Fuji erupting, destroyed my perfectly built structure. Ha.

Getting ready to cut the gingerbread pieces

But, I needn’t have feared.  Everything came together without incident, and I had a blast in the process.  A friend of mine, the intrepid Missy J, came over to help in the decorating fun, which made everything even more interesting towards the end when we were both beyond tired and laughing at things that I’m sure weren’t really funny.

Decorating the house

I chose to use the second recipe provided from the Scandinavian cookbook.  I think this recipe is designed more for building houses with than for eating.  The gingerbread was nice and sturdy, making for a great structure to pile lots of royal icing onto, but I have ZERO plans for ever eating any of my little house because the gingerbread isn’t very edible.

Finished house!!

Edible or not, I don’t care, because in the end I was totally pleased with my end result.  If I had more time I would have done some things differently, but I love my little gingerbread Japanese house sitting under the watchful eye of my beloved gingerbread Mt. Fuji.  If I use my imagination, I can transport myself there . . . .


{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

kat December 27, 2009 at 12:58 am

fun stuff!


levitra February 22, 2015 at 10:51 am

It’s wonderful to have you on our side, haha!


Lizzie December 27, 2009 at 4:12 am

That is wonderful!  The Mt. Fuji idea is great – something different, but something special for you. I love the little Japanese house. Most gingerbread houses are like the traditional "Hansel & Gretel" story ones- covered in sweeties and very cutesy. Yours is so different and rather artistic. You even made the gingerbread mountain, with snow on top. Lovely!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 27, 2009 at 6:37 am

The Mt. Fuji was especially fun to do! Thanks Lizzie! :)


deeba December 27, 2009 at 5:22 am

Briliant idea & so wonderfully presented Rachel…BRAVO! I used Y's recipe too, and the son is enjoying eating it!!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 27, 2009 at 6:28 am

Thanks Deeba!!


kamran siddiqi December 27, 2009 at 6:32 am

That is the most gorgeous gingerbread house I've seen! love, love, love it!! 


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 27, 2009 at 6:36 am

Thanks Kamran!!


Baking is my Zen December 27, 2009 at 7:09 am

Absolutely gorgeous! Someday I will attempt this!


Barbara Bakes December 27, 2009 at 7:58 am

So clever! I love the cheery blue background you added. Great idea for making a tree!


Missy J December 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm

I still think we should have done the scene with the house in shambles and Mt. Fuji erupting in the background! Come on, you know it would have been a hit! I had a blast making our little house with you. Thanks for letting me be your foodie slave!! (Also, I am officially adopting Missy J as my new nickname!)


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction December 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Very cute idea! Your house turned out beautifully!


Julia @ Mélanger December 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

What a fabulous idea for a gingerbread house.  You did so well.  I had to go with a template off the internet because my creativity is very limited!  ;)
BTW, I made the same recipe and my husband said the gingerbread tasted exactly like how his mummo would make.  So sounds pretty authentic.  Maybe we are used to sweeter things!??!


cocopuff1212 December 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm

This is absolutely brilliant. Have a happy new year – Akamashite Omedeto (a few days early)!


Katherine December 27, 2009 at 4:53 pm

That is a stunning gingerbread house. Its original. I like how you put the mountain as a backdrop. Great job.


Megan Gordon December 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Ohh….Santa brought a Wii to our house this year as well and I'm feeling incredibly out of shape b/c my shoulders are SO SORE! Who knew that Wii tennis (and we can't even talk about that boxing game) used to much muscle power :) Lovely, creative gingerbread house–very cool. Merry Christmas, Rachel!


Deanna December 27, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Beauty in it's simplicity.  Lovely job.


Meg T December 27, 2009 at 9:26 pm

I love this!!  Seems like one very peaceful place.  Have fun "sliding" and a happy new year!


Melanie (Kimono Reincarnate) December 27, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Magical!  Truly magical!


Y December 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Wish there was a better word to describe your house than merely "awesome", but this is .. awesome! The colour scheme, the scale, the idea to begin with… Love it! Your contingency plan is brilliant too, by the way ;)


Tartelette December 28, 2009 at 12:00 am

Very creative Rachael! Love your take on the gingerbread house! The tree is "perfect"….nice friend you got there :)


Meeta December 28, 2009 at 12:42 am

oh wow wow wow! this is one of the most innovative houses i have seen! rachael i love the theme – kudos to you!


Tokyo Terrace December 28, 2009 at 12:48 am

This is AWESOME!!!!! I love it!


Trissa December 28, 2009 at 3:01 am

That is so cute!  I love how you used the ice cream cone to decorate your tree – and the house just looks amazing. The last shot of your house with Mt Fuji behind is it perfect!


French Cooking for Dummies December 28, 2009 at 3:59 am

What a wonderful gingerbread house! I love the pine tree and the mont Fuji on the back. Impressive!


Karen December 28, 2009 at 4:26 am

Absolutely awesome! So original and beautiful!


Aparna December 28, 2009 at 4:34 am

Your love for Japan comes through in this challenge. And your house looks absolutely beautiful.
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes For A Happy New Year!


Andreas December 28, 2009 at 11:21 am

Lovely house. I like the piles of snow which have dropped down from the roof.


[email protected] December 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Absolutely beautiful! And very creative! Too bad the dough is not as eatable as you'd like it to be! Enjoy Utah!


[email protected] in Iowa December 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm

What an adorable gingerbread house!  Love Mt. Fuji!!


Amber December 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm

How fun! Hope you have a great trip to Utah!


kellypea December 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Very original, and extremely well done.  LOVE IT!


Mr. P December 29, 2009 at 8:50 am

I absolutely LOVE IT!

Well done, it's the shizzle. I thought I was going Japanese with my Christmas cake decoration, but you take the (gingerbread) biscuit. Good work. :)


Barbara @ December 29, 2009 at 9:57 am

I love this…just recently got rid of a house I made MANY years ago and brought out each year. Even though my kids are older, doesn't mean I don't love making a gingerbread house. Not this year…I'll just enjoy yours!


pigpigscorner December 29, 2009 at 10:02 am

Wow! Very original. Love the little Japanese house and Mt Fuji!


jenjenk December 29, 2009 at 10:47 am

This is GREAT! Makes me feel like I’m in a mukashi banashi cartoon! :)


Jill December 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I love how creative your Japanese house is and the Mt. Fuji is an extra bonus! So awesome!! :)


Alli December 29, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Very creative, it looks wonderful.


rcakewalk December 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm

This is so nice! I made the same recipe for my DB challenge, and I didn’t think it tasted very good either – until I tried it a couple of days later. Then I actually froze all the leftover cookies to use in either ice cream or as a base of a cheesecake. Congrats on your Top 9!!!


Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home December 29, 2009 at 5:32 pm

This is seriously the cutest gingerbread house I have ever seen. I actually want to go to it for vacation rather than eat it! Your template is so precise too :)

Wishing you a fantastic 2010!


Lauren December 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm

I love it! The house, the tree, the background, its pure perfection!


Fuji Papa December 29, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Loved seeing it in person. All it needs is a squirrel and bug in the yard to go with it.


Lisa December 30, 2009 at 2:54 am

What a great idea to do a Japanese GB house. It look so real – which equates to stunning work! You are an artiste! Have a wonderful New Year!


Alta (Tasty Eats At Home) December 30, 2009 at 10:19 am

WOW, I am so impressed. The precision in your house, and the clean, gorgeous choices of decor – it’s a work of art!


Natalie December 30, 2009 at 1:10 pm

this looks really nice. So creative! Well done . Happy new year


[email protected] December 30, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Beautiful photo and house… wow wow wow!


saucy smith December 30, 2009 at 6:44 pm

This is a fantastic effort. Wow!!! Happy 2010 to you


anna December 31, 2009 at 10:16 am

This is amazing! It’s so cute and I LOVE the gingerbread mountain! You did a wonderful job!


fairy_mi January 2, 2010 at 9:12 am

Wow, what a fabulous gingerbread house! I love it!
Very original shape and lovely decorations!
Wtg for the fabulous job!
(also a DB)


TK January 2, 2010 at 9:34 am

Lovin’ it. All looks fantastic. Did you make some edible gingerbread people?


Lisa January 5, 2010 at 5:44 am

So cute. Well done, it looks amazing.


Michael [KyotoFoodie] January 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm

A very nice creation!


Damien Roberts December 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Hello Fuji mama. I’m currently in the middle of creating something similar albeit totally edible Japanese style gingerbread house. You can view a short video of my most current cardboard model on Instagram. My handle is @Damien_robe. I’m baking using my own gingerbread recipe tomorrow. Let me know what you think if you have the time/interest. Your post was a great source of inspiration to me. Thank you.


Sandy November 11, 2015 at 6:16 am

This is so cute ^_^. It makes me want to do a gingerbread house suited for where I live now. But you know need ambition for that.


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