How to Fake a Homemade Dessert

By TBSP Susan
Created March 8, 2017
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. MORE+ LESS-

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.
Our four faves are:

  • Brownies

  • Meringue nests

  • Regular sponge cake

  • Plain cupcakes

So how do we amp up these delicious but dull desserts into something spectacular?

Home Cheats

Sticking a brownie on a plate you've bought from the supermarket isn't going to create a stir. However, if you buy a brownie tray, warm up the brownies 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, and a chef-style squiggle of fruit sauce on the side of the tray will complete the look. Snip a small corner from a freezer bag to create a quick sauce dispenser. Zig zag the ready-made sauce, and add a sprig of mint for real wow factor.
The same tricks can be used to jazz up a cake plate too, but you might want to make some additions to a plain, boring sponge cake first. Slice the top off using a serrated blade to create a flat -top to the cake. Cover with ready-made frosting.

Using the freezer bag dispenser from above, pipe on lines of melted chocolate or frosting in a different color. Before it is set, pull a cocktail stick or knife at right angles to your lines across the top of the cake — attractive design complete.

Before serving the cake, use a pastry brush to paint a thick line of melted chocolate on each diner's plate. A fanned out strawberry, slices of star fruit, or an exotic physalis fruit will finish the look. Don't forget the dusting of powdered sugar either!

Store-bought mMeringue 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.

Ready-made sugar flowers and 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 your very own 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 tak to keep the cups in place.
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, and a squiggle of sauce is all you need to give your dull desserts a glamorous makeover. Oh, and did we mention a dusting of powdered sugar? Unless they see the box, no one will ever know that you didn't make these desserts from scratch.

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 show-stopper, here are some great recipes:

Here's the Star Brownies recipe -- super easy and quick brownies, and you can make them in other shapes too, like hearts for Valentine's Day. For the other recipes, click on the titles to go to the recipe page.

What are your favorite “home baking” tricks?