Hoboken – but make it gingerbread. This is exactly what Hoboken resident and owner of For Cup Sakes, Caroline Henderson, is doing. Caroline has set out to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gingerbread village and is using the Mile Square as her inspiration to create The Great GingerBoken. We had a chance to connect with Caroline to learn more about the history in the making.
(Photo credit: @forcupsakesnyc)
Currently, a man by the name of Jon Lovich holds the Guinness World Record for the largest gingerbread village. This record was set in January 2017 after Jon completed a village of 1,251 structures. By December 20, 2021, Caroline hopes that the record will have her name next to it.
Caroline shared more about her plan for this goal. “Our plan is to build Hoboken businesses, landmarks, parks, and homes. I’m using both my own photographic shots, as well as those on Instagram, to best capture Hoboken and replicate each business or building in cookie form.”
She continued by saying, “Gingerbread is a great medium to build with. The goal ultimately to beat the Guinness World Record is to make 1,300 structures which all need to be at least 15cm in length and width.” Caroline plans to make her structures aesthetically pleasing. “Unlike the current world record holder, we will be creating a fine art structure that accurately portrays the unique architecture of Hoboken. These won’t be just a gingerbread square with some icing and sprinkles.”
(Photo credit: @forcupsakesnyc)
In case of building 1,300 structures are not keeping her busy enough, Caroline is also owner and operator of For Cup Sakes, a full-time business that specializes in hand-decorated cookies. While this full-time effort supports Caroline and her two children, giving back is at its core.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, I was let go from my corporate role and I started baking full time. I went back to my ‘why’ and began donating cookies for front-line helpers and those affected by Covid-19. Through organizations such as the Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) Hoboken and FLAG NYC, I donated on average over 1000 cookies a week during the months of April, May, and June 2020 to at least four different hospitals and nursing homes in NJ and NYC,” shared Caroline.
More Than a Record
After being introduced to baking in her hometown in South Africa, Caroline knew it was her passion. “I am from a small town in South Africa and my love of the kitchen came from helping bake cupcakes and cookies for local orphanages. I met kids aged seven and up who had never eaten cake before,” shared Caroline.
She has continued to partner her love for baking with her love of supporting the community and this project is no different. “ “, I wanted to help those who are still struggling from unemployment and through COVID – especially during the festive holiday season. And it just came to me: what if I combined my love of baking, my need to help my fellow Hoboken residents and raised money for charity, all at the same time,” shared Caroline.
The Initial Idea
Caroline came up with the idea about a year ago and started the Guinness World Record application process in early 2021. “The idea to build Hoboken completely out of gingerbread came to me at the end of 2020. My business model, at its roots, has always revolved around giving back to Hoboken,” shared Caroline.
“Next, because I always love a challenge, I decided to add in the attempt to break the Guinness World Record…wouldn’t that be fun? As soon as I received my acceptance from Guinness Records in early February, I connected with James Runkle from Drummond St. Strategy and that’s when my idea really came to life! I had reached out as I knew he was involved with the Hoboken business alliance as well as Heal Hoboken. We had connected before through cookies… And so I figured he would be the best person to advise me on how I would go about supporting local charities and how to try to maximize our sponsorships. He also runs a local media company so I looked to get his expertise on how to best market my idea.”
Caroline is pairing her love for baking, her love of Hoboken, and her love of giving back to the community with this project.
“My initial idea, from the very beginning, centered on building a platform and creating a fundraiser that would support local charities. I have been a long-time supporter of the Hoboken Shelter, Hoboken Food Pantry, and Hoboken Public Education Foundation to name but a few, and, through James’ connections with Heal Hoboken, we have come up with a plan to help benefit those in need.”
Getting the Community Involved
To break the record, Caroline will need to complete 1,300 structures between now and the planned reveal date of December 20th. “I aim to build approximately 400 structures in October with the remainder in the weeks leading up to Christmas,” said Caroline. As a part of the building process, Caroline wants to involve the community as much as possible.
“We will be holding cookie decorating classes so residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to contribute to this initiative and be part of the build. There will also be an educational component for school groups to learn more about the rich history of Hoboken. I wanted to foster community and make this a happy project that is more important than just beating a record,” she shared. Community members can support this effort by making a donation on The Great GingerBoken Build’s website here.
(Photo credit: @forcupsakesnyc)
As the project continues, more structures will be on display. Currently, there are two structures on display at The Hive in Hoboken. Caroline shared the plan for residents and visitors to take a look at the final village and to officially become a record holder.
“Once we hit the Guinness World Record goal, they will send an adjudicator to evaluate the structures and certify our success. Following the adjudication, the structures will also be available to take home so sponsors, businesses, and other subjects could keep their designs, and eat them if they like! Once we secure a commercial space, The Great GingerBoken Build will be on display for the public to view,” said Caroline.
Best of luck to Caroline! We are excited to follow along and see history right here in Hoboken.