In case you hadn't already guessed why I call it faux-fancy, don't worry... I'll clue you in. I take sympathy on people who don't immediately put things together on their own... who stand scratching their heads while everyone else is laughing hysterically. You are not alone; I am one of you.
Anyway... I call this dessert faux-fancy because, like faux-fur...
or a faux-hawk...
...it is only pretending to be fancy when it is really quite simple. (Oh look at me... I said no pictures but I just couldn't help myself!)
Here's what I did when I needed dessert in a snap:
I took a box of one of my favorite fall staples, Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Mix.
I prepared it according to the package directions and baked it in my mini muffin tin. Which brings us to step one for creating a faux-fancy dessert:
1. Make It Mini!
Have you ever noticed that fancy restaurants always serve tiny little portions? Or think about those darling little mini-tarts or tea sandwiches at tea houses. Those are sooooo faux-fancy! I mean come on, all they are is cream cheese and cucumber slapped between plain white bread. Ahhh, but cut them into cute little triangles and... voila! Fancy little delicacies. So next time you are getting ready to bake up a packaged-mix but you want something a little more special, consider baking them in your mini loaf pans or mini muffin tins.
Next I made a glaze for these darlin' little pumpkins... which brings us to step two for creating a faux-fancy dessert...
2. Top it, Baby!
Create a snazzy topping for your simple, out-of-the-box dessert, and your guests will be none the wiser!
In the case of the mini pumpkins (Hmmm... that sounds like a film noir waiting to happen), I made a quick and simple, yet fancy-sounding glaze. Here's the recipe:
Brown Sugar Caramel Glaze
courtesy of The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring. Let boil for one minute, stirring often.
- Remove the pan from heat, and let the glaze thicken slightly. Spoon or spread the warm glaze onto the cake (or faux-fancy mini-cakes) of your choice.
3. Dish It Up!
As with anything, presentation is everything. The way you display your dessert will really determine whether it deserves the title of faux-fancy or not. Even if your dessert isn't anything super special, you can make it special by serving it on a pretty platter and/or giving it a fancy title. On this particular occasion, I wrote out the name of the dessert on a small piece of white card stock and laid it in front of the dish. (I don't always do this, but I know some people don't like pumpkin desserts, so I took this extra step). I called them, "Mini Pumpkin Cakes with Brown Sugar Glaze." Super fancy sounding, but it took no time at all!
So there you have it! 3 easy steps to a fabulous, faux-fancy dessert.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: A DUTIFUL DISCLAIMER
Don't Forget... fanciness is fun and all, but what your guests will remember most is what a gracious hostess you were and how welcome you made them feel in your home. That's what true hospitality is all about. I really do enjoy making things fancy and special for my guests, but not when it overshadows my ability to be truly hospitable. It should be about making your guests feel special, not about impressing everyone with your mad skills (like nunchucks, for instance). And that's my two cents...