How To Fake Culinary Excellence: Baking And Sweets For Beginners

Elise Strachan


Mar 30, 2021

Anyone can fake culinary excellence. Just remember – presentation is everything. If you’re not a whizz in the kitchen, don’t attempt the mighty croquembouche or a delicate layered petit gateaux with multiple elements. Keep it simple!

A simple dessert done well will out perform an extravagant dessert that leaves you in tears on the kitchen floor and plates up like a kindergarten craft disaster. Don’t be afraid to cheat a little with store bought ingredients that you turn into ‘home made’ masterpieces.

I have some fantastic sweet treat idea on my YouTube channel, which caters for all skill levels -including those who rate their sweet-skill level in the minus.

My top two include:

Mini “Cake” Cookies

Click here for the recipe!

Mini "Cake" Cookies

Popsicle Ice Cream Cake

Click here for the recipe!

Popsicle Ice Cream Cake

If your feeling a little more experienced, why not try baking these…

OREO Milk & Cookie Shooters!

Click here for the recipe!

OREO Milk & Cookie Shooters!

If you’re new to baking or terrified of dessert disasters, here are a couple of tips for beginner bakers:

1: Know your oven

Is your oven electric or gas? Fan forced? Oven temperatures can vary depending on the type of oven you’re using so make sure you adjust your temperatures accordingly. Most recipes call for a fan forced oven, which distribute heat more efficiently than electric ovens. As a rule if you’re using a non-fan forced electric oven you need to add approximately 20 degrees celcius (40 faranheit) to the recommended temperature.

Here’s a brief guide to converting oven temperatures:

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 11.27.14 AM


2: Tools & Equipment

When it comes to baking and decorating, there’s often no need to rush out to buy expensive tools and equipment (though the woman at the supply store may lead you to believe otherwise).

If you’re going to pursue baking and sweets as a full time occupation then it can be worth the investment, but for those wanting to create a cake for a special occasion, or to try their hand at sweets for the first time, there’s often no need to purchase equipment that you’ll use only once.

Its best to see what you already have in the kitchen cupboards that you can  “hack” to achieve similar results to those in the store.

Here’s a video that relates specifically to the tools & equipment I prefer to use for cupcake and cake decorating. It gives you a good idea of some of the things you can use from around the house to replace traditional tools. My most used “tools” are zip lock bags, skewers and an ice cream scoop!

Remember, baking should always be fun so keep your projects at a manageable level and as your skills expand, so too will the extravagance of the desserts and treats you decide to undertake.

As a qualified Pastry Chef and long time baker, I still have disasters in my kitchen – its all part of the learning process and disasters can still be utterly delicious to clean up!


By Elise Strachan


Elise Strachan's My Cupcake Addiction is one of the world's largest free online cake decorating schools. My Cupcake Addiction shows you how to create gorgeous cakes, cupcakes and cake pop masterpieces from the comfort of your own home. Baker and Pastry Chef, Elise Strachan aims to bring the art of cake decorating to all corners of the globe, and has recently launched her first cook book, Sweet! Celebrations. With over 10 million views on Youtube each month, Elise holds the proud boast of being one of the most viewed baking channels in the world. Elise's success is phenomenal and The Carousel is delighted to feature her recipes and tutorials as our Baking Editor & Pastry Chef. You will love her fun, inspiring and authentic approach to baking.


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