Take your gingerbread house to the next level by building this festive A-frame cabin. The rustic-chic exterior is made with a faux-bois roof, pretzel-log walls, and plenty of royal icing, while the cozy interior boasts everything from a "stone" fireplace and candy-cane logs to a red-licorice rug and a buttercream tree. Get the cabin template here, and for all the sweet details, check out our step-by-step guide.

Martha Stewart Living, December 2017


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

2 hrs
9 hrs 10 mins
Makes 1 gingerbread house


Royal Icing
Buttercream Trees
Candy-Cane Logs


Instructions Checklist
  • Gingerbread: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in spices and salt. Add eggs and molasses; mix well. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. Divide dough in half, shape into 1-inch-tall rectangles, and wrap each piece in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two flat baking sheets with parchment; set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Roll firmly with a faux-bois paint roller, or press with a rolling pin over a faux-bois impression mat. (Dough should be chilled and firm to maintain clean template shapes; if too warm, refrigerate about 10 minutes.) Cut into template shapes using a pizza cutter or a sharp paring knife: 2 roof pieces (each 8 by 7 inches); 1 floor piece (7 by 6 inches); 2 wall pieces (6 by 2 inches); and 1 pentagon wall piece for open cabin (7 by 7 by 2 inches), or 2 for a closed cabin. Transfer roof pieces and side walls to one prepared baking sheet; transfer floor and pentagon wall to second prepared baking sheet. Brush away excess flour with a pastry brush. Freeze 30 minutes.

  • Bake gingerbread until crisp and slightly darkened around the edges, about 30 minutes, banging sheets on the counter halfway through baking. Let cool 15 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely. If cookies become misshapen, they can be trimmed with a small serrated knife to match template while still warm.

  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until smooth. Brush a thin layer over faux-bois treatment. Let dry completely, about 30 minutes. Alternatively, if a white faux-bois treatment is desired, make a glaze by whisking together sugar and milk. Brush over faux-bois texture and let dry completely.

  • Royal Icing: Beat confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, and scant 1/3 cup water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature overnight, with plastic wrap pressed directly on surface; stir before using.

  • For assembly, icing should resemble thick buttercream (an offset spatula stuck into the icing should stand up). If too thin, beat icing 2 to 3 minutes more, or add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer half of the thick icing to a piping bag fitted with a 1/4-inch tip (such as Ateco #802) for assembly. To remaining icing, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until icing falls back into itself in a ribbon. Transfer thinned icing to a piping bag fitted with a 1/16-inch tip (such as Wilton #2) for decorating.

  • Fireplace: On backside of pentagon wall piece (side without faux-bois treatment), lightly score chimney shape into gingerbread with a paring knife. Working in small sections, fill in chimney area with thinned royal icing and place candy stones onto icing. Let dry completely, about 1 hour.

  • Break candy canes into two 3/4-to-1-inch pieces; attach to inside of fireplace with icing. Using tweezers, attach chocolate-covered sunflower seeds as flames around candy-cane logs. Let dry completely.

  • Antlers:

    Using thinned icing, attach pretzel pieces to raw almond. Let dry completely, then attach to fireplace with icing.

  • Cabin:

    Place floor piece on parchment-covered board, faux-bois-side up, with 7-inch sides facing front and back, and 6-inch sides facing left and right. Use a line of the thick royal icing to adhere side walls to the outside edge of floor piece, faux-bois-side facing in. Pipe another line along back edge of floor and up side edges of walls; adhere fireplace wall to floor and side walls, faux-bois-side facing out (fireplace facing in). Remove excess icing with the tip of a butter knife or a small offset spatula, if desired. Let harden completely, using cans or T-pins to support walls (see Cook's Note), at least 1 hour.

  • Once walls are completely dry and solid to the touch, attach one roof panel at a time using lines of icing, with 7-inch side facing upward and 8-inch side hanging over walls. Hold roof piece firmly against walls (or secure with pins -- see Cook's Note), then let dry 15 minutes before attaching second roof piece (make sure tops of roof align with top point of pentagon piece). Pipe a line of icing down center of roof to hold pieces together. Let dry completely, at least 1 hour.

  • Using a Microplane grater, shave ends of pretzel rods to fit outsides of cabin (or cut with a small serrated knife). Attach rods to cabin using icing. Attach candy stones to roof with icing to create a chimney. Using thinned icing, decorate cabin with "snow." Let dry completely before moving.

  • Rug:

    Pull apart strands of licorice. Wind one strand around itself to start a spiral pattern. Continue with remaining strands, sticking candies against each other using a dab of water to make a circular rug. Using thinned icing, decorate with dots; let dry completely.

  • Buttercream Trees:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on low speed until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add food coloring and beat until well combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip (such as Ateco #27).

  • Starting from bottom and working up, pipe branches onto miniature ice cream cones by holding piping tip against cone, adding and releasing pressure in a quick motion, and then pulling piping bag away from the cone. Decorate with nonpareils. Let dry completely. (Makes 3 miniature trees.)

  • Skis:

    Use scissors to cut sticks of gum in half vertically. Snip corners of one end into a point. Decorate with thinned icing to resemble ski bindings.

  • Candy-Cane Logs:

    Break candy canes into 1-inch pieces. Stack into a pyramid and glue together with thinned icing.

Cook's Notes

Cabin Assembly Tips

It's easiest and safest to assemble the cabin on a parchment-covered cutting board or other sturdy board. If you must assemble and then transfer it to another serving surface, do so on wax-coated paper, then gently peel it away when the cabin is completely dry and stable enough to move.

Drape cans from the pantry with clean kitchen towels to support the structure and help prevent smudging on the faux-bois walls. You can also use clean T-pins or sewing pins to hold the structure together while the icing sets; remove once the cabin is completely dry.

Gingerbread-Scrap Trees
Gingerbread scraps can be re-rolled once and cut with 3-to-5-inch tree-shaped cookie cutters; bake on parchment-lined sheets at 350 degrees until crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Use sanding sugar and leftover thinned royal icing to decorate.