3D Gingerbread Christmas Tree
Make this showstopping Gingerbread Christmas Tree as a centrepiece for your festive table.
Servings Prep Time
12people at least 3hrs
Cook Time Passive Time
12mins 6hrs
Servings Prep Time
12people at least 3hrs
Cook Time Passive Time
12mins 6hrs
Ingredients
Equipment
  • Large baking tray
  • Electric mixer / stand mixer
  • Rolling Pin
  • Firm thick cardboard and printed template
  • Small star shaped cookie cutter
  • Piping bag
  • 23cm round cake board
  • Pastry Brush
  • Small paint brush
Gingerbread Dough
  • 100g Unsalted Buttersoftened to room temperature
  • 100g Brown Sugar
  • 80g Honey or Golden Syrup
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 Egglightly beaten
  • 1pinch Salt
  • 1/4teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
  • 1/2teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1/2teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 305g Plain Flour
Decorations
  • 380g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1teaspoon Lemon Juiceplus extra if needed
  • Green food colouring
  • Coloured sprinkles
  • Ready-to-roll White Fondant
  • Cornflourcornstarch, to dust
  • 1tablespoon Apricot Jam
  • 1tablespoon Boiling Water
  • Edible Gold Paint
Instructions
Gingerbread Dough
  1. Print out this 3D Gingerbread Template. Cut out the tree stencil and tape it onto some firm thick cardboard. Trace around the edges of the tree stencil, then cut the shape out of the cardboard.
  2. Add the soft butter, brown sugar and honey or golden syrup to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is thick, pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs until everything is well combined. Add the salt, bicarbonate soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and beat until mixed through.
  3. Stir the flour with a wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Tip out the dough onto a clean bench and gently knead together. Separate the dough into two balls, flatten them into a disc, wrap each in plastic film, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 fan-forced; 300 F).
  5. Unwrap one disc of dough. Lightly flour the bench and your rolling pin. Knead the dough to soften it if it’s too firm, then roll the dough 4mm thick. Place the cardboard tree shape over the top and carefully cut around the stencil with a knife. Gently transfer the tree shape onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper, then place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes take the tray from the freezer and place it straight into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the gingerbread is deeper golden brown underneath. If the long edge of the tree is no longer straight after baking, use a sharp knife to re-cut a new straight edge while the gingerbread is still hot. Let the piece cool completely.
  7. Repeat the rolling, freezing, and baking process until you have five tree pieces. Also cut and bake two star shapes.
Decorating the gingerbread
  1. When the gingerbread pieces are cool, prepare the icing. Add the egg whites, icing sugar, lemon juice and a few drops of green food colouring to a medium bowl. Beat together with electric beaters until smooth. Do not whip the icing or overbeat it. It’s at the right consistency when ribbons of icing disappear into the icing in 8-10 seconds. Add a little extra lemon juice if it’s too thick, or a little extra icing sugar if it’s too thin.
  2. Transfer the icing into a piping bag, twist the end and secure it with an elastic band. Trim the tip so the opening is about 2-3mm wide.
  3. Pipe an outline around all the edges of each gingerbread pieces except the straight edge. Pipe wavy green lines across each tree piece, leaving about 1cm between each one. While the icing is still wet, add your sprinkles and decorations. Repeat for all five pieces. Allow the icing to set completely, then flip over the pieces and repeat the process for the other side. Keep the remaining royal icing in the piping bag for later.
  4. Paint gold edible paint on the front of both star shapes. Set aside to dry. When dry, pipe a little icing onto the back and stick the stars back-to-back.
The cake board
  1. Cover the 23cm round cake board with fondant while the decorated gingerbread pieces are setting. First mix the apricot jam and boiling water together to form a sticky syrup.
  2. Generously dust your bench with cornflour. Knead the fondant together to soften it, then roll it out to a 3mm thick circle with a 25cm diameter roughly.
  3. Brush the cake board with the sticky syrup, carefully pick up the fondant over your rolling pin and drape it onto the board. Smooth the top down, and cut away the excess from the edges of the board. Set aside to dry.
Tree assembly
  1. Definitely find a second person to help you assemble the gingerbread tree!
  2. Start by sticking two gingerbread pieces together flat. Pipe a line of royal icing down the long edge of one piece and connect it to the long side of another pieces. Hold together for several minutes until the icing has set.
  3. When those two pieces are stuck together, pipe a line of icing down the long side of a third piece and stick it where the other pieces join, at a right angle, forming a T. This piece will be the back. Get someone to hold them in place while you pipe extra icing into the new joins. Hold it together until they can support each other standing up.
  4. Pipe another line of icing down the long side of the last two pieces. Join them at the front of the gingerbread tree at the centre, facing out at 45 degree angles. Get someone to hold them in place while you pipe extra icing into the new joins on either side of the edges.
  5. Pipe icing onto the top of the tree and glue the star on top. Add more icing along the side of the gingerbread trees branches. Allow the gingerbread tree to set completely. When dry, pipe some icing onto the centre of the cake board, and stick the gingerbread tree to it.
Recipe Notes
  • Don’t skip the freezing stage of the gingerbread. This stops the gingerbread from spreading in the oven and warping its shape. If the edges don’t stay straight you’ll have a hard time sticking the tree together later.
  • It’s okay if the edge is a little crooked as it bakes. Just cut a straighter edge into the hot gingerbread before it cools completely.
  • Don’t overbeat your royal icing. It will get too much air into it, the icing will be brittle and will fall off the tree.
  • Let the decorated tree branches dry completely before flipping them over to decorate the other side, or the icing will crush.
  • Instead of gold edible paint on the star you could tint some fondant yellow, cut out two star shapes, and stick it to the star cookies with the sticky syrup.
  • The assembly needs lots of time and patience to complete. It’s a good idea to do all your gingerbread baking and tree branch decorating on one day, let everything set, then attempt to stick it together the following day.