The word “zhush” means to make something exciting or more attractive, or to make it more fabulous (at least, that is how I use it!). In this case, it is all about saving time by making a plain, simple, store-bought cake fabulous! When I don’t have the time to make a cake from scratch (or don’t want to be bothered), I like to buy a small simple chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream to zhush up and turn it into something I am not only excited about serving, but also eating! Grocery store bakeries are usually filled with cakes ranging in size and cost. My approach for a Store-Bought Cake Made Fabulous is to buy the simplest and most delicious cake I can find. Instead of relying of those pre-fab decorated cakes, focus on quality, and use these simple options to dress up even the most unassuming store-bought cake!
These are some of my favorite additions to zhush up a store-bough cake:
Edible gold leaf which you can easily find online and also in silver, adds a bit of glamour to fresh raspberries! The same would be true for using strawberries, blackberries, or even blueberries. Choose something that will complement the flavor of both the cake and frosting you choose.
Simple store-bought salted caramel makes a truly decedent addition to the top of a cake! Once you start slicing, the caramel oozes down into the cake and makes each and every bite scrumptious. I usually keep a little extra on-hand to serve alongside the cake. For added fabulousness, you can also heat up the caramel and pour it over the cake as you present it! Or, add a touch more of flaked sea salt for crunch.
Colorful edible flowers which are typically in the produce department of grocery stores, makes for a very casual yet elegant effect. I love dusting them with a bit of powdered sugar to help sweeten them (they are VERY earthy tasting) and to add a bit of texture and contrast. This is especially elegant on larger rose petals!
Homemade whipped cream is also a wonderful decoration for almost any flavor of cake! I like to use a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or start tip) and pipe around the base of the cake when the cardboard disk meets the serving plate. To make homemade whipped cream you need:
Homemade Whipped Cream
Heavy Cream – 1 cup, very cold
Sugar – 2 tablespoons
Vanilla – ¾ teaspoon, pure extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cold cream. Turn the mixer to medium-low and begin whipping the cream. Once it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla.
Raise the speed to high, and whip it until it thicken and begins to forms medium peaks. I like it to still be a bit “soft” as the texture is much creamier.
Tip: Don’t overbeat, or you will end up with a very stiff whipped cream and it will not have any fluidity to it and will also turn into butter!