Building gingerbread houses is a fun pastime for many people, especially as it’s something the children can get involved in. However, Gotland, Sweden woman Sanna Hederstedt truly takes gingerbread house building to an entirely new level. Instead of building houses, she makes neighborhoods.
Sanna’s creations have always been admired, and she has created everything from a Moomin House, to charming greenhouses, town squares, and more. However, 2021 was a big year for Sanna when she undertook her most extensive creation yet – a block with seven houses, a restaurant, a café, a candy store, a wallpaper store, and a flea market.
All houses were made with gingerbread but had wallpaper, flooring, and furniture. The houses were so detailed that anyone would think they were the real deal if it weren’t for their size and edible structure.
According to Sanna, she never imagined that she would end up making seven houses, especially since the six houses she created the year before had been a monumental undertaking.
“Next year, it will not be such a big building, but I say that every year.”
Sanna planned to keep the gingerbread block until Easter, and she will start planning the next building in autumn.
Sanna Hederstedt spends many weeks in the leadup to Christmas planning her gingerbread builds. She always begins with a cardboard model to ensure all measurements are correct before she begins baking.
The Swedish cake creator has some advice for anyone who has ever experienced the frustration of gingerbread walls crumbling into dust. She puts her pieces in the oven more than once. She makes a standard gingerbread dough, presses them between plates once they’ve cooked, then cooks them in the oven twice more until they become hard and dry.
Sanna Hederstedt tried something new in her 2021 build by creating a unique vehicle. She had previously made cars but found a truck design on Pinterest and managed to build it even though the instructions were in Polish.
Every tiny detail was thought of in Sanna’s gingerbread build, right down to individually made pieces of candy for decoration in the candy store.
The windows are one of the most complex parts of Sanna’s creation. She uses a cookie cutter to cut out the spaces in the gingerbread dough, which takes time when there are over 400 of them. She then puts gelatin sheets in the small windows, which mar the view, and plastic from packaging she has around the house in the large ones.
Assembling the gingerbread neighborhood is a time-intensive task, particularly when Sanna has included so many small details, such as jars of candy, gumballs, and even tiny packets of m&ms and other treats.
In Sanna’s gingerbread creation, you will find a quaint café to the left and a delightfully detailed flea market on the right.
The café has two floors and has an adorable shop logo out the front. Translated to English, it reads ‘The Bean’.
Sanna’s café has everything you would expect to find in a regular café. Pastries and cakes are made using soft oven-bake clay, while the kitchen counter was crafted with cardboard and paper. There is also a staircase to the second floor created with a ruler and a business counter featuring plastic and ice cream sticks.
The second floor of the café offers a stunning ambiance with artwork on the walls, pastries on plates, and even candles at every table. The space is illuminated with tiny fairy lights.
The outside of the gingerbread neighborhood is just as spectacular as the interior. Here, you will find snow lanterns, Christmas trees, and even an ice rink.
A cute little mouse stands pride of place outside a paint and wallpaper shop.
Next to the ice rink sits a trash can with tiny pieces of trash. Sanna has thought of everything to create a gingerbread block that’s as realistic as the average real neighborhood.
The interior of the gingerbread restaurant is so delightful that you almost wouldn’t mind dining there yourself. Fine china and candlesticks are set upon fine tablecloths, and the candlesticks are made with parts of old earrings. Follow Sanna on Instagram for even more gingerbread goodness.