By: Adam Easterling
You smile as the compliments roll off of their freshly-desserted lips. They gush about the time and effort you must have put in to craft this delicious confection, hour upon hour of diligent baking and devotion. As the praise is plentifully heaped, you just grin and secretly hope nobody sees the empty bakery package in the kitchen trashcan.
How did you pull off this masterful job? A sweet cheat, that's how!
That's right, there's nothing wrong with a few shortcake shortcuts when providing dessert for friends and family. Adding delicious personal touches to a store-bought cake can make for fantastic look and taste, while saving time in the kitchen.
1. Candy Coated
Spruce up that plain old white frosted cake with a little candy appeal. This is a simple way to adorn your dessert with extra color and flavor. Jelly beans, for instance, make a great addition all around the side of your cake. Just arrange them in any pattern you like (rainbow, lines of the same color, or your favorite team colors!) and your plain icing gets a delicious makeover.
Use chocolates, meringues, and even peanut butter cups to sweeten the deal!
Tip: Make your cake design as professional as possible! Place a cookie cutter on top and add your candy or sprinkles to create perfect shapes.
Tip: For icing that's a little firm and hard to work with, just stick the cake in a microwave for a few seconds so it gets slightly melty. But don't overdo it — you want manageable, not milky!
2. Get Fruity
Topping your cake with fruit is a delicious way to lighten up the look, while adding a homemade touch.
Grab a few citrus fruits, like oranges, limes, grapefruits and lemons. Thinly slice your fruits and arrange them on your cake. A neat trick is to alternate between whole slices, half slices, and even quarter slices to find the pattern that works best for your eye. You can fill in open spaces with mint leaves as well for added flair.
Strawberries are another great topper for your store-bought dessert. Place a ring of thinly sliced strawberry pieces around the perimeter of your cake, points facing out. Then just add more concentric circle rings, slightly overlapping each time. Pretty soon you'll have worked your way to the middle of the cake with a beautiful arrangement for all to see. Just make sure your fruit doesn't clash with the flavor of the cake. German chocolate cake with mangoes might taste a little funny.
3. Flower Power
To add some real beauty to that purchased pastry, try flowers! Bringing edible flowers into the picture will undoubtedly elevate your cake experience to new levels. Try lavender, carnations, nasturtiums, chrysanthemums, jasmine or any other floral ideas that fit the look you're going for. Arrange a colorful bouquet on that plain old iced cake from the grocer, leaving your guests to sit in awe of your elegant touch.
Do you let the store do the work and pass it off as your own? Do you know someone who does? Share your thoughts in the comments below!