Gingerbread house remodeled as California bungalow


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Ever wonder why the December holiday decorations in Southern California are as full of ‘snow’ and warm winter coats as those in Minneapolis? Susan Sarich, founder and owner of SusieCakes, did, and she decided that this year the gingerbread houses at her bakeries would fit the geography. That led to the California Christmas Gingerbread House, a beach bungalow with a sandy walkway and palm trees out front.

Nicole Garrett, executive head baker at SusieCakes, came up with the design. Sarich had special cookie cutters made for some of the pieces.


After eight years in L.A., “it still does not feel right to me” to see cold-weather Christmas things, Sarich says. “This house is kind of the culmination of my wanting to do something traditional and putting the California spin on it.”

Sarich remembers making traditional gingerbread houses as a child.

“My grandmother used to give my cousin and me money to go to the 5 and dime. I think $5 to get the candy. That was our big thing. We got to walk to the store alone.”

On the way home, they’d figure out just how much candy they could eat: “Do we eat some gumdrops? Can we eat two candy canes and have eight left for the house?”

Although people tend to make the gingerbread house a centerpiece, the California bungalow is edible, “the real deal” made from scratch, Sarich says.

The houses are $65 at the original SusieCakes in Brentwood and its other locations. Personalized houses require 24 hours’ notice, Sarich says.



Geodesic gingerbread house

Christmas tree of books

Air plant ornaments

Holiday gifts

-- Mary MacVean

Photo from SusieCakes