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What Are the Different Types of Gingerbread House Frosting?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff

Gingerbread house frosting can be made in a variety of flavors, but some of the most common are chocolate, vanilla, and cream cheese. The icing is sometimes enhanced using sugar sprinkles, chocolate chips, or bits of dried fruit or nuts. Regardless of the flavor used, one of the most important aspects of any gingerbread house frosting is the consistency. Gingerbread house cakes are so ornamental that the frosting typically acts as a type of glue to hold everything in place. Icings with high density can be made using either butter or eggs as the base ingredients.

Egg-based frostings are considered a bit more difficult to execute, and as a result, they are not as popular as those using butter as a base. Both generally work equally well, as long as the recipe is followed closely and the proper utensils are used. Food coloring can be added to either, but butter-based frosting is better suited to heavier additives such as fruit, nuts, or candied chips.

Measuring cups can be helpful when making gingerbread frosting.
Measuring cups can be helpful when making gingerbread frosting.

The two main ingredients of egg-based gingerbread house frosting are egg whites and powdered sugar. Most recipes call for two egg whites and several cups (little more than a liter) of the sugar. Using a whisk, egg whites should be blended, and the powdered sugar gradually added in. When the mixture forms stiff peaks, the icing is ready to spread. There may be some health concerns associated with using raw eggs, so some cooks prefer to replace fresh egg whites with albumen powder.

Frostings made with butter as a base are often referred to as buttercream. This is the type of icing that most people think of when referring to old fashioned icing. To make a basic buttercream base, it is necessary to have mixing bowls and a mixer, as well as measuring cups and spoons. Ingredients include butter, cream, and powdered sugar. Many recipes also call for the addition of a pinch of salt and flavoring extracts such as vanilla or almond.

Most buttercream recipes start with a stick of slightly softened butter. Using an electric mixer, the powdered sugar should be added in gradually, along with about a little bit of cream. If flavoring extracts are used, they should be added along with the cream. The mixture should be beaten until smooth, and over-beating should be avoided. When the icing is smooth, any fruits, nuts, or candy additives can be stirred in.

Other than vanilla-flavored icing, chocolate and cream cheese flavors are probably the two most popular choices for gingerbread house frosting. Chocolate buttercream icing can be made by using the basic buttercream recipe and adding cocoa powder. For gingerbread house icing with a cream cheese flavor, the same buttercream ingredients are used, except an equal amount of cream cheese is substituted for the butter.

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Discussion Comments


Unfortunately, regular butter frosting does not work for a gingerbread house. It doesn't dry and the walls collapse. A good gingerbread house frosting should dry in ten seconds. You should be able to hold the pieces together with the frosting for ten seconds and then let go.

Frosting with a maximum of three ingredients works best -- meringue powder, egg whites and powdered sugar. You can add food coloring if you want. Don't even think about buttercream or cream cheese frosting, it's not going to hold.


@SarahGen-- I have a simple but effective gingerbread house frosting recipe. It just calls for egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar. The trick isn't in the recipe but rather in the preparation. It has to be mixed on high for ten minutes. This makes for the perfect, thick consistency that acts like glue when putting the gingerbread house together.

Also, gingerbread house frosting should always be kept covered with plastic wrap when it's not being used. Many people have ruined their frosting by leaving it exposed. It literally dries up and cracks!


There are too many gingerbread house frosting recipes out there. Can someone give me a basic, easy to follow recipe please? I'm a beginner, so the easier, the better.

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    • Measuring cups can be helpful when making gingerbread frosting.
      By: GraphicHead
      Measuring cups can be helpful when making gingerbread frosting.