Picture of Fractal Gingerbread House
For all the math geeks who want to celebrate the holidays in their own way, try out the Fractal Gingerbread House. There may not be infinite surface area, but why not make your inedible masterpiece an ode to a beautiful pattern instead of some dumpy looking house?

So let's get our geek on and make a gingerbread Menger sponge.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Menger sponge

Picture of Menger sponge
A Menger sponge is a 3D fractal that starts with a cube. In each iteration the surface of each cube is divided into 9 sections and the middle section is pushed out.

In the next iteration, you look at the smaller subcubes of the original cube and repeat the same process.

in the picture below you can see the same process. With this gingerbread fractal we'll be making a level 2 Menger sponge and using decoration to make it look like a level 3.

Don't worry if that doesn't make sense, we'll move out of math geek territory now.

Step 2: Make some gingerbread dough

Picture of Make some gingerbread dough
Here's my totally untasty recipe for gingerbread.

7 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening or unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups molasses

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder.

Beat the shortening or butter at medium speed until it's light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and beat to blend. Beat in the eggs one by one, and then beat in the molasses. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually stir in the flour mixture.

Divide the dough in thirds, wrap in plastic and chill for 3 hours.

Adapted from this recipe.

Step 3: Roll it!

Picture of Roll it!
Take out a chunk of gingerbread dough and roll it between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper. Roll it so it's 1/4 of an inch thick.

Step 4: Transfer and cover

Picture of Transfer and cover
Transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and put a piece of plastic wrap on top of it.
askjerry6 years ago
Neat... now we need to invent edible LEDs....
and edible metal... and edible batteries... and edible components... and edible duct tape... ok, duct tape actually IS edible; it just isn't a good idea to eat it...
the guinea pig in my picture has eaten so much ductape (that was used to hold her house together) she loves it and she is living to a very old age for a guinea pig! must not be too bad for ya!
Technically, a lot of things are edible but it's not a good idea to do so. :)
Because is one eats something, one could consider it edible. :)
yep :D
i learned the hard way that 9-volts are NOT fun to eat.
You actually swallowed one? That must have created an interesting sensation.
i *almost* swallowed one. thankfully i realized that it would hurt a lot if i swallowed it. i spat it up.
Ha ha. Good thinking.
I meant if. Sorry.
thoward33 years ago
i did it you should try it.
dyly3 years ago
epic win!
sarahfish5 years ago
 so many delicious pieces to eat!
protip: put the icing in a ziplock bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner (just cut off enough of the corner to make a hole), and it will be super easy to squeeze the icing into dots and lines. (also, it's totally safe to eat the eggwhite-and-powdered-sugar icing you described.)
fungus amungus (author)  ashleybmeyer6 years ago
That's what I did at first, but with so many dots on vertical sides I found it faster to put a dab on my finger and do it that way. I know it's edible, I just don't want to mainline sugar is all :)
oskay6 years ago
This is simply fantastic! Bonus points for *not* using the laser to cut out the gingerbread directly!
fungus amungus (author)  oskay6 years ago
Oh, the thought crossed my mind, but I wanted to make something that anyone else could copy.
Plasmana6 years ago
Wow! That looks really cool!
Johnfiat6 years ago
Where did you get the template or did you make it and if you did what did you use for the material? Great project. Keep the math is Christmas!
fungus amungus (author)  Johnfiat6 years ago
The template is a laser-cut piece of acrylic. You can easily make one from a piece of paper that will work just as well.
rachel6 years ago
Hee hee! Food & math :)
fungus amungus (author)  rachel6 years ago
It doesn't get much better
Haha, i just watched a movie called "Silk" which is based around capturing a ghost's energy in a menger sponge.
=SMART=6 years ago
Awesome ! Its so geeky :D
very meticulous. very nice.
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Very nice!
Dorkfish926 years ago
...That, is an awesome gingerbread house. Nice work!
Doveman6 years ago
I got an idea! A steampunk gingerbread house!
Painkilla056 years ago
My mind exploded with sugarey goodness.
Sunbanks6 years ago
That's really cool :D
gmjhowe6 years ago
wow, you have taken it to a whole new infinite level. Great work, i love how you actually made the middle tunnel section.
whatsisface6 years ago
Gingerbread mobius strip plz?