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How to Fake a Homemade Dessert

Created March 20, 2020
No pastry skills and a distinct lack of time? Impress the whole gang with these tricks on how to fake a homemade dessert for a party.
After slaving over the main meal, dessert may seem like an afterthought. Here are some "cheats" that you can use to present great desserts, even after hours in a steamy kitchen.

The Best Desserts to Cheat With

There are several store-bought desserts that have the ability to create the "wow" factor with just a bit of dressing up. For example:

  • Store-bought brownies
  • Sponge cake or sheet cake
  • Plain cupcakes
  • Meringue nests
So how do we amp up these delicious but dull desserts into something spectacular?

How to Cheat a Homemade Dessert

coffee black bean brownies


Sticking a brownie on a plate you've bought from the supermarket isn't going to create a stir. However, if you have a fancy tray to display them on, then all you have to do is warm the brownies up in the oven and then place them on the tray. Guests will think it's a homemade creation straight from the oven.

But the tricks don't stop there. A dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder always works wonders. Or try covering your brownies in a decadent drizzle of salted caramel sauce. And a bit of freshness always adds that instant “wow factor.” Place a handful of raspberries on the tray or adorn your brownies with a sprig of fresh mint.

red velvet strawberry shortcakes

Sponge or Sheet Cake

A plain, boring cake is a great place to start to make a store-bought treat look like your own creation. Slice the top off using a serrated blade to give the cake a flat top. Then cover the cake with ready-made frosting or whipped cream. To decorate, fill a freezer bag with melted chocolate or frosting, and snip a small corner of the freezer bag to create a DIY piping bag. In a zig-zag motion, pipe on lines of melted chocolate or frosting across the cake. Before the chocolate or frosting sets, pull a toothpick or knife at right angles to your zig-zag lines across the top of the cake for an attractive design.

And again, freshness is key. Fanned out strawberry slices, slices of star fruit or some peach slices will finish the look. Don't forget the dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa if you like!

better than sex cupcakes

Plain Cupcakes

Candied fruit, fresh fruit, ready-made sugar flowers or frosting are often all you need to transform cupcakes from plain Jane's into sugary superstars—but why stop there? Present an array of differently decorated cakes on a DIY tiered cake stand. Find three plates of differing sizes, and put a cup or thick glass between each, stacking them on top of each other (largest at the bottom). Use some fun tape to keep the cups in place.

meringue fruit cups

Meringue Nests

Store-bought meringue nests can't be bettered, so add a layer of whipped cream to the base with a little brandy or rum mixed in for pizzazz. Pile some delicious berries on top. Try rolling the berries in fine sugar to make them frosted.

These are some methods on how to fake a homemade dessert for a party. Mix and match these tips according to your tastes. Using fruit, melted chocolate, a dusting of powdered sugar or a squiggle of sauce is all you need to give your dull desserts a glamorous makeover. Unless your guests see the box, no one will ever have to know that you didn't make these desserts from start to finish.

Super Easy Dessert Recipes

If you want to start with a boxed mix or refrigerated dough to make a fabulous, easy dessert that's a real showstopper, here are some great recipes: