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Author of Modern Gingerbread, Sandra Monger, took time out of her busy baking schedule to catch up with us about the release of her new book, her gingerbread-making journey and much more!

How are you Sandra and how are you coping with everything that’s happening?

I'm good thanks. It's certainly been a very strange and worrying year, but also a time for reflecting on what's important in life. I've tried to keep as busy as possible and try as many new things as possible.

Your new book Modern Gingerbread looks good enough to eat. What made you decide to do a gingerbread book? 

Over the years I have been asked to make gingerbread houses at Christmas and gingerbread treats and favours for weddings. I have always been struck at how versatile it is, so I was very keen to explore the possibilities it offers. It's also delicious and makes the kitchen smell wonderful and is great for gifting and sharing.

The designs in the book are absolute stunning, which design is your favourite? Which one was the most fun to create?

Being a cat lover my favourite has to be 'Picture Purrfect'. I also enjoyed experimenting with fuse baking different coloured gingerbread and different types of dough.

 'Picture Purrfect'

Tell us a bit about yourself (how did you start baking and cake decorating) and your company Sandra Monger Cake Design?

I have always loved baking, making and craft, so when I grew tired of my previous career it seemed the natural thing to do. I started my own business almost 20 years ago and have seen lots of changes in cake styles. The ever-increasing popularity of baking brings new ideas and talent. In the current situation with people spending more time at home, baking is a great thing to learn and do and you can involve the whole family.

Sandra Monger Cake Design

Are the projects suitable for beginners? 

The projects are designed so that you can develop skills as you go through the book. Beginners can get great results by learning to roll and cut gingerbread in the earlier projects, then build upon and adapt these skills in the more complex ones. I like to think of it as a gingerbread journey!

Do you have any tips for beginners?

I would encourage beginners to first familiarise themselves with the sections on tools, materials, recipes and techniques. Weighing and measuring accurately are also important. Practice makes perfect so paying attention to detail and taking your time really do help to achieve the best results. However the most important thing is to have fun.

How long does it take you to complete an average piece (from the book) from start to finish?

It really depends on the project. Obviously simpler projects are quicker. To make a batch of cookies or a sharing square could take up to a couple of hours by the time you have weighed, mixed, rolled, baked and washed up. Some of the more complex projects such as 'Picture Purrfect' or the gingerbread houses can be done over several days, allowing you to do a bit at a time. As you develop your skills you will find you can can do things quicker.

Gingerbread Cookies Gingerbread sharing square Gingerbread houses

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Nature, holidays, fabrics, ceramics – the list is endless as inspiration can be found anywhere!

What are you working on at the moment? 

I have just moved house so I am doing a lot of DIY and painting. The cake tins will be out again next week as I have a wedding cake to make.

Wedding Cake from Modern Gingerbread 

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of 2020? Or 2021?

Due to the current situation a lot of things have had to be put on hold this year but 2021 looks like it's going to be a busy year as a lot of my customers have postponed their celebrations until then. In the meantime I'm baking and experimenting and thinking about future projects. Watch this space!

Sandra's book, Modern Gingerbread is available now from Search Press, RRP £12.99.

Modern Gingerbread

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