How to Salvage a Dessert Disaster

Even professionals encounter dessert disasters, from lopsided cakes to piecrust pitfalls. Don’t be afraid to perform cosmetic surgery on your desserts before serving them. Try some of these tricks of the trade.

  • You burn the bottom of your cake. Cut off the burned part with a serrated knife. Be careful to do so evenly so that the cake isn’t lopsided. A burned bottom usually doesn’t affect the flavor of the rest of the cake.

  • Your cake comes out lopsided. Build up the frosting on the low side of the cake’s surface so that it appears to be more even.

  • Your cake has holes in its side. Sometimes, a cake sticks to the side of the pan, and the cake comes out with holes or indentations on the side. Before covering these problem areas with frosting, try picking cake remnants from the pan and reassembling and reattaching them to the sides of the cake.

  • Your soufflé collapses. Remove the contents of the soufflé mold carefully and place them on a serving dish. Serve artfully with fruit compote, ice cream, or jam.

  • Parts of the edge of your pie fall off. Use jam to glue the broken pieces back on.

  • Your sponge cake breaks coming out of pan. Use the broken pieces to make English trifle or an improvised strawberry shortcake.

  • Your meringue is gummy. High humidity can make meringue gummy textured. If this happens, place the meringue back in a 275-degree oven for 30 minutes to dry it out and make it crisp again.

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