The gingerbread house is a long standing tradition at the Honey Bear Bakery. Last year I totally failed and ended up displaying a donation won at an auction. This year I refused to let anyone down. We have a lot of Harry Potter fans at the Honey Bear, and with the final movie hitting DVD shelves, I decided to give it a royal send off with this Hogwarts Gingerbread Castle.
I used maps of the school I found online. Hundreds of photos from the internet including still shots from the films, a model made of matchsticks, a miniature that came with a special edition of the film, and photos of actual castles used to film the movies. Here’s a little photo trip through my process.
My notes and mathematical equations were extensive before I started construction of the model. I built the white model as a way to double check my math because recutting dough can get expensive and incredibly time consuming. Each piece was carefully labeled using a system of numbers and letters coordinating to sectioned structures that corresponded to dimension charts for almost 200 pieces. Sometimes I felt like I was losing my mind looking at all the numbers.
Each step went faster then the one before it. I used lots of different tools to get the shapes and textures I wanted. You’re never sure what will happen in the baking process, but thankfully icing provides a little bit of forgiveness.
The backside can only be enjoyed by employees. I originally intended the gingerbread house to be viewed from a different angle, but when more space became available I decided to shift it, hiding some of the buildings on the backside including the Grand Entrance and the West Wing.
This is my favorite part of the castle, even though it’s on the back. The trickiest part of baking/construction was the towers. A combination of masking tape, foil, and paper. One description of Hogwarts revealed it was held together by magic. Mine was built with magic and royal icing…lots of icing, and powdered sugar, but just to get that fresh fallen snow look.
Some of the fun features of this castle include flickering light window action, the delightful scent of graham cracker crumbs, and it plays the theme music from The Sorcerer’s Stone and Goblet of Fire when I happen to be at the “office”.
I constructed Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Hagrid, Ron Weasley, and Hedwig out of fondant. They’re entirely edible except for Harry’s glasses, which are made from floral wire.
Here are a couple fun stats for this project.
184 pieces of gingerbread
8 pounds of dough
36 days of work
What will I create next year? I don’t want to think about it right now. I plan on sleeping until February.