Chocolate gingerbread barn

Chocolate gingerbread barn

Recipes From a Normal Mum
David Loftus

Crazy as it may be, some children just aren’t that into cake. Birthdays can be a struggle for cake-rejecters. What do you push candles into? What do you gather around to sing? I have the answer. And I think it may be just as delicious as a great big cake.

For the barn:


Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
65g golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
385g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 clear boiled sweets

Decorating and pigs:

Quantity Ingredient
10g cocoa powder
500g white fondant icing
1 silver ball, for the door knob
2 mini marshmallows, for the chimney
jelly diamonds, to decorate around the windows
70g chocolate buttons, for the roof
any other sweets you like the idea of, (lollipops make great trees)
pink gel food colouring

For the mud:

Quantity Ingredient
150ml double cream
150g dark chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and vanilla in a pan over a low heat, not letting the mixture boil. Mix the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl, then use a wooden spoon to stir in the butter mixture, making a stiff dough. Add a little water if it isn’t pulling together.
  2. Roll the warm dough on non-stick greaseproof paper to about 1–1.5 cm thick. Use the templates and a sharp knife to cut 2 sides, 1 front, 1 back and 2 roof panels. Cut out the door and keep to bake. Cut the windows and discard. Re-roll any leftovers and cut into gingerbread men. The dough will harden as it cools.
  3. Lift the paper holding the biscuits onto a baking tray; do not peel them off the paper as they will stretch. Trim the paper about 2 cm wider than the biscuits. Place boiled sweets into the window holes. Bake for 12 minutes until hard. Leave to cool on the tray.
  4. Knead the cocoa into 400 g of the fondant icing until light brown and well distributed. Wrap the remaining fondant in cling film to prevent it drying out. Break off pieces of brown fondant as you need it. Roll 4 sausages of fondant and place on a tray or cake stand in the shape of the walls – use the baked pieces as a guide to help position them correctly. You want each sausage to sit so that when you place the barn walls, they’ll sit in the middle of the fondant, as the fondant sausages are essentially foundations.
  5. Use sausages of fondant to attach one side panel to the back wall, then place these on your foundations. Add another fondant sausage to the other side of the back wall and attach the other side panel, pushing it into the foundation as you work. Repeat with the front. Use the same method to add the roof, leaving a 1 cm gap in the middle to house a long piece of double twisted fondant made by rolling a sausage twice the length of the roof then folding in half and twisting. If the fondant isn’t sticking, brush with a little water. Let the barn dry for 30 minutes and wrap any leftover chocolate fondant in cling film.
  6. Make the mud. Gently heat the cream in a saucepan until it starts to bubble. Take off the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Leave in the fridge to harden, giving it an occasional stir.
  7. Using fondant as adhesive, add a silver ball as a door handle, a marshmallow chimney, jelly diamonds as window decorations and the door. Using small pieces of the fondant brushed with water to stick, tile the roof with chocolate buttons, starting at the bottom of the panels and working upwards, slightly overlapping each row. Be careful as you work as the house will not be set.
  8. When the mud is set to the point that it will spread but is not runny, spoon it around the house, but not too far up the sides. Use a fork to make it look messy. Massage a dot of pink food colouring into the leftover white fondant, then make pigs by attaching 4 little ball shaped feet to a larger body using water. Place the headless pig in the mud then make the head by taking a ball and sticking a small flattened disc to the front as a snout. Add two triangles as ears and use a toothpick to make eyes and nostrils. Stick the head to the body and add a twirled sausage of fondant as a curly tail. Make as many pigs as you want, though be warned that children do generally want a pig each. If you have any gingerbread men, use the remaining brown fondant to stand them upright in the mud. Leave to dry for 2 hours at room temperature before serving with candles and cheer.
Great British Bake Off
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