10 Hacks to turn a store-bought cake into a masterpiece

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET

There's nothing more fun than throwing a party, but getting the house ready and baking a cake from scratch? Yeah, probably not happening.

Luckily there's a lot you can do with a store-bought cake and some ingenuity. These hacks will help your grocery store cake be as baller as the rest of your party.

1. Remove the tacky stuff

Grocery store cake turned into wedding cake

Image: A Practical Wedding

Weird icing balloons, hard-as-rocks candy flowers, boring candles — your first step is to remove the tacky decorations that probably came with your cake. Then you have a blank canvas to jazz up with fresh flowers, some interesting ribbon — whatever you like. You can even turn a birthday cake into a cheap wedding cake with the right touches.

2. Keep a stash of unique decor on hand

Bunting for a cake

Image: Etsy

Make a store-bought cake look truly unique by adding your own cute decorations. Keep a stash of them on hand so you're never caught off guard. From bunting to balloons, these decorations beat the socks off whatever the bakery of your local grocery store put together.

3. Add your own icing

Peanut butter icing on chocolate cake

If the icing on your cake looks a little too perfect, whip up a batch of homemade buttercream — or just take out the Cool Whip — and apply a thick layer to your cake. It'll look more homey in no time. Unique flavors can help set your cake apart too. Try this peanut buttercream on a bakery-bought chocolate cake.

More: How to frost a cake like a professional baker (VIDEO)

4. Add fresh fruit

Fruit and cream cake

Image: Honey and Butter

Buy a store-bought vanilla cake. Add a layer of fresh whipped cream on top, then pile on fresh fruit — whatever's in season. Suddenly your cake is fit for any fine soiree.

5. Coat it in ganache

ganache covered cake

Image: Sweetness and Bite

Make your grocery store cake look like it came from a fancy bakery by coating it with some luxurious ganache. From there, you can add whipped cream, toasted nuts, fruit or even fondant.

6. Cover it in candy

kit kat bar cake

Image: Making Life Delicious

Completely mask your store-bought cake by covering it in candy. You can go the sprinkles route, or try something a little more complex, like this Kit-Kat bar cake.

More: 21 Unique wedding cakes that make getting married seem anything but boring

7. Write a message

Gummy letter message cake

Image: Cool Mom Picks

Forget writing with icing — you can use fun gummy letters to spell out celebration wishes on a plain, frosted, grocery store cake. It looks way cooler than anything you could do with those hard candy letters (and have you tried to write in icing before? It's harder than you think!).

8. Top it with toys

frozen cake topped with toys

Image: Bubbly Nature Creations

Combine cake and presents in one! Set up a festive tableau on top of your store-bought cake to make it totally one of a kind. The cute toys on top can double as fun gifts to the birthday boy or girl.

9. Get crazy with your candles

diy birthday candles

Image: Banman Land

Store-bought cake + plain birthday candles = borinnnngggg! Jazz things up by using cool custom candles. Buy plain white number candles from the dollar store, and get creative with glitter paint, rhinestones, pom-poms — whatever! Either way, they'll look a lot cooler than something straight out of a box.

10. Layer it

trifle

Image: Life Love and Sugar

Transform your cake by layering it with other ingredients. From cubing store-bought angel food or pound cake to use in a trifle to slicing two store-bought birthday cakes horizontally and layering them with jam and buttercream to create a towering masterpiece, being willing to slice and dice your store-bought cake opens up a world of possibilities.

More: 10 Things you never knew about frosting... or is it icing?

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