Smorgasbord Christmas posts from Your Archives – Making a Gingerbread Chapel by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

It is time for some fondant magic from master baker and confectioner Robbie Cheadle, with a delicious gingerbread themed cake that would make a wonderful addition to the Christmas tea table.

Making a Gingerbread Chapel by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

This weekend Michael and I made a Christmas present for our minister, Alistair. Alistair has young children and so we decided that a gingerbread house would be a splendid gift for him and his family. Of course, we can never do anything the easy and simple way so we decided to embark on making a chapel out of gingerbread. It was really great fun and not that much more difficult to cut out and assemble than a regular gingerbread house.

Making and cutting out the gingerbread chapel

Firstly, Mike and I made the gingerbread. We used the recipe that features in Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries. The video of me making gingerbread using this recipe is as follows:

Once the gingerbread dough was made and was chilling in the refrigerator for an hour, we measured and drew the pieces for the gingerbread chapel onto wax paper. We rolled out the hardened gingerbread dough and baked the gingerbread as sheets on baking trays. I then placed the wax paper pieces on the slightly cooled gingerbread sheets and cut them out using a sharp knife. I find it works much better to cut out the gingerbread pieces after baking as then they keep the form of each piece perfectly and it is much easier to assemble the house.

While the pieces of the gingerbread chapel were cooling and hardening, Mike and I made the royal icing to “glue” our chapel together.

Making royal icing

Mike and I made the royal icing using the recipe that features in Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries story and cookbook. The video of me making royal icing using this recipe is set out below:

Making the stained glass windows

We made the stained glass windows using boiled fruit flavoured sweets that I melted on a piece of wax paper in the over at a very high temperature (240 degrees celcius). I placed the gingerbread chapel sides, front and back on sheets of wax paper and then I poured the melted sweets into the window holes. I left these to set for approximately 30 minutes. Be very careful when you do this as the sweet mixture gets very hot and can burn you badly if you spill it on yourself.

Assembling the gingerbread chapel

Once the gingerbread pieces had cooled and hardened and the royal icing was made we could start assembling our gingerbread chapel. Firstly, I attached the front, back and two side panels to the cake board using royal icing. I used cups to hold the pieces in place while the royal icing dried and hardened. I then assembled the bell tower in the same way. I attached the bell tower to the front of the chapel using more royal icing. I then left the whole framework, supported by cups, to dry overnight.

The following morning, I attached the roof panels to the walls and left them to dry using cups to keep them in place. My gingerbread chapels was now complete and ready for decorating.

The final product

You can decorate your gingerbread chapel anyhow you like. I used jelly beans for the detail along the royal icing joins to give the chapel some colour. I used milk chocolate buttons to decorate the roof and white and milk chocolate buttons to decorate the bell tower. I added windowsills made from KitKat chocolates, cut to size. I made the ivy but cutting out multi-coloured green and white fondant and wiring them together using florists wire. I used Marie biscuits for the stepping stones and royal icing and mint sprinkles for the grass. I added some fondant mice just for fun.

Sir Chocolate and the trolls

Sir Chocolate and the trolls helped with the building. see them rolling up their ropes on completion of the job in the picture below:

©Robbie Cheadle 2016

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook on Goodreads

Linda Hill rated it it was amazing Books and chocolate – the perfect combination. On October 21st 2017

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook, but it still took me by surprise.

Firstly, the illustrations (made from fondant and cakes) are incredible and enhance the narrative so skilfully. I got quite hungry just looking at the photographs and that was before I even got to the recipes.

I thought the rhyme scheme was very well maintained making the book good for slightly older reluctant readers as well as enhancing the vocabulary of younger readers. I don’t know if it was deliberate, but I really liked the concept of trolls saving the day. They are usually seen as negative and violent creatures and I felt the underlying message of being helpful and not judging others by appearances was perfectly pitched.

I really enjoyed the whole creativity of this book, not just from the imaginative story set in a land where all things can be eaten, but I loved the accessible recipes and the poem It’s A Boy, which came as a surprise and a more adult element to the book, too.

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook is a feel good, creative book that can be enjoyed on many levels by both adults and children of all ages alike.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads:

Connect to Robbie and Michael


My thanks to Robbie for sharing this wonderful recipe that would make a wonderful Christmas cake for any age.. Please check out her wonderful blog with many more fondant figures and cakes to make.

The Christmas promotions have begun and there are a number of ways that you can participate and here are two posts to show you how.

67 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Christmas posts from Your Archives – Making a Gingerbread Chapel by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Christmas posts from Your Archives – Making a Gingerbread Chapel by Robbie and Michael Cheadle — Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life | firefly465

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