Over the last seven years there have been some amazing guests in the run up to Christmas who have shared stories about their own memories of this time of year or their festive fiction. In the next four weeks I will be repeating some of those posts, updated with the authors recent books and reviews.
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 story and Cookbook. 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 of the chapel.
©Robbie Cheadle 2016
A selection of books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle and as Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
One of the reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries
What an adorable concept for a children’s book series involving imagination, cooking, and art. If you’ve never heard of the ‘Sir Chocolate’ series, you’ve got some catching up to do. The debut book, Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries, written by Robbie Cheadle (and her children), is a perfect addition for any family or home. And what’s even more special is this author won a poll on my blog for the Children’s Book Readathon I’m hosting in August 2018. Robbie’s books are being highlighted the week of 8/25 thru 8/31. All month long she’s shared recipes, new short stories, and tons of fun! I’m sharing a review of the first book in the series this week as a preview for anyone who might still want to participate in the last week when we read one of her newer books.
In this wonderful story, we meet Sir Chocolate and his home, Chocolate Land. When some friends run into trouble, they learn how to work with a possible enemy and turn the concerns into a new friendship. What a great lesson for kids! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Don’t read on an empty stomach — have some candy and chocolate nearby! This really sets the stage for several other books that show us the adventures and foods involved in creating this wonderful village and setting. I’m in awe of the author’s talent and creativity, but inspired how it’s a family affair. Kudos to the Cheadles!
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.
I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.
I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.
My thanks to Robbie for permitting me to share this tasty posts again… and I know she would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.