A tasty vision: It’s Hendricks Chapel portrayed in gingerbread

January 4, 2012 at 2:32pm

Roxanna Carpenter ’73 from Syracuse University’s Office of News Services has created a delicious-looking architectural sculpture—a gingerbread rendering of SU’s beloved Hendricks Chapel.


The finely detailed piece is primarily cookie but also consists of such construction materials as candy cane, chocolate licorice sticks, shredded coconut (food-colored green for grass), pretzel rods (internal supports), an two special types of icing—one that’s easily moldable and another that’s used to hold the many component parts together.


The incised detail of the windows, doors and front lintel were etched into the pattern-cut dough before baking, and the domes were shaped over aluminum foil balls or oven-safe bowls. The completed structure rests on a wood base that’s a cross-cut section of a tree.


A photo of the gingerbread chapel (one of the three images shown here taken by David Broda from SU’s Photo & Imaging Center) formed the artwork for News Services’ annual holiday card.


Total construction time was 18-20 hours, part of which, Carpenter says, was waiting for baked parts to cool and harden and for icing applied to joints to firmly set in order to move on to the next stages of assembly. Prior to baking, additional time was spent shooting photos of the actual chapel from all angles, drawing sketches and making patterns.


This is actually Carpenter’s second cookie creation modeled after one of SU’s historic buildings. A year ago, she created a gingerbread Crouse College (home to SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts) for the Erie Canal Museum’s 25th annual “Gingerbread Gallery” competition, the theme of which was “area landmarks.” “I had spent so many luscious hours in Crouse College as an undergraduate illustration major in VPA back in the ’70s that the Castle has ever since been my most-loved Syracuse landmark,” she says.


What’s her next subject? SU’s very first building—the Hall of Languages (circa 1870). Carpenter says she’s looking forward to the next available bright, reasonably warm days in which she can go out with her camera and start assembling images for her next master plan.