Dessert Hacks for Busy Holidays!

How To Make Store Bought Desserts Look Homemade

So, as many of you know, I do not bake. I don’t like to do it at all! All of the measuring and timing, it just doesn’t work for me. I like to taste and adjust, add a little of this and a little of that, in the kitchen. But during the holiday season, it’s all about the sweets! So I have adopted a policy of faking homemade desserts during this time of year. Here’s how to make store bought desserts look homemade.


Who doesn’t love a good cheesecake?! And there are so many ways to dress up a plain one. My favorite seasonal way is with some cranberries. I make some homemade cranberry sauce to put over the top instead of the usual strawberries or chocolate. It’s got a delicious tang to it! To make it look nice on a plate, I like to coat some rosemary and whole cranberries in sugar so they look snowy and frosted. Then I arrange them on top of the cheesecake. It looks so fancy and festive.

This little trick can be used any time of year, really. Just vary your toppings and people will think you’re a cheesecake whiz!

Pannetone Bread

Some how, some way, I always get one of these. If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically Italian fruit cake. Some people love it, some people don’t. It’s got a citrusy flavor with lots of dried and candied fruit baked into it. I turn my Pannetone bread into bourbon bread pudding! Bread pudding is simpler than it sounds. Just break up some sweet bread and place it in a dish. Then saturate it with custard and bake. Simple as that! For this one I just dressed it with maple syrup and some chopped pecans. It makes a great dessert or a decadent breakfast treat. Hey, there are eggs in that custard, aren’t there?!

Angel Food Cake

Turn this store bought cake into a peppermint dessert just by adding frosting! Buttercream frosting is so easy to make. It’s just butter and confectioners sugar with a little heavy cream, whipped until fluffy and smooth. To that I add some peppermint extract to make it taste like a candy cane. And some red food color to make it festively pink. Once I frosted the angel food cake, I added some chopped up peppermint bark and candy canes to the outside. My kids just love it!

Would you have ever thought that I didn’t bake a single one of these? Honestly, if you don’t tell a soul, nobody will ever know. Make some store bought desserts look homemade for your next gathering. Your secret is safe with me!