Fake-Out Desserts

Impress your friends with these fake-out holiday desserts.

Caramel Tower

This is a knockoff of croquembouche, a traditional French dessert fashioned from cream puffs and caramel. Our secret? Doughnut holes by the box. The technique we use to form the base is from Julia Child.

caramel tower

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Cranberry Cheesecake Squares

Chocolate graham crackers are a real time-saver when making the crust for these squares. And if the cheesecake cracks? We skip a water bath in favor of just using the cranberry topping to cover up any goofs.

Bonus recipe: Use crisp ladyfingers to make Tiramisu. Line a 9-inch square dish with cookies; moisten with coffee liqueur. Fold mini chocolate chips into sweetened whipped cream, and fill pan with cream mixture.

cranberry squares

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Coconut Yule Log with Meringue Mushrooms

A classic Yule Log recipe can take forever to put together, so we picked up a store-bought angel food cake to cut down on time.

Bonus recipe: Use the cake to make Baked Alaska. Split cake into 3 layers, spread ice cream between the middle layers, then wrap and freeze, Cover with sweetened whipped cream.

coconut yule log

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Lemon-Berry Trifle

This foolproof layered dessert uses prepared sponge cake shells as a speedy shortcut. Tip: If fresh raspberries aren't available, swap in your favorite fruit and jam.

Bonus recipe: Use the cake to make Boston Cream Pie. Cut cake into 2 layers, fill with vanilla pudding and top with fudge sauce.

lemon berry trifle

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VIDEO: How to make a trifle