Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to easily whip up a three-tier cake or a lemon meringue pie with perfectly whipped peaks? Being able to bake like a pro in the kitchen requires plenty of experience, no doubt. However, taking some advice from top pastry chefs can only help you hone your skills and get one step closer to baking like Duff Goldman of the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes.” Here are some insider tips for how to bake like a celebrity chef and create mouthwatering desserts:

Trust Your Instincts

Jenny McCoy has baked at famous Chicago restaurants such as Charlie Trotter’s, Blackbird, Gordon and Bittersweet Bakery. She also ran three pastry kitchens for Emeril Lagasse and contributed to his cooking blog.

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According to McCoy, sometimes baking is not about strictly following a recipe. If you think that a certain dessert or pastry would benefit from a bit more cinnamon or a dash of vanilla, go for it! Sometimes you’ll find that trusting your gut leaves you with delicious desserts. Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen!

Use High-Quality Ingredients

Using seasonal, high-quality ingredients will usually produce a high-quality dessert. You may have to splurge on certain elements, but McCoy promises the outcome will be worth it.

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Replace Shortening with Pork or Beef Fat

Shortening is a core ingredient for baking a pie–but it turns out that there’s something even better that you can use: pork or beef fat. Tim Nugent, the pastry chef at San Francisco’s Scala’s Bistro, says this ingredient produces a much flakier and more decadent crust.

Chill Before Baking

Once you’ve mixed all of the ingredients together and poured them into your pie pan, don’t place it in the oven just yet. Instead, put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This ensures that the edges of your pie won’t deflate or fall down.