Graduation Cake Designs

white and blue layered graduation cake

Classic Tiered Cake

Graduations are a cause for celebration, and no celebration is complete without cake. Whether you want a show-stopping cake to take center stage or a simple design perfect for slicing and serving, there are plenty of designs to consider.

Although many people choose to serve basic sheet cakes at graduation parties, a classic tiered cake with a few special details can be the centerpiece of the party. Frosted with traditional buttercream, this cake features piped diplomas and mortarboards, with a ribbon highlighting the graduation message. Topped with a shaped mortarboard tier, it would fit into any graduation celebration.

fondant character cake with year

Star Graduate

Tiered cakes are always impressive, and here's another colorful option. A fondant figure molded to represent the graduate, complete with cap and gown, add a personal touch beyond the graduate's name and year. Decorate in school colors, adding stars or other basic elements so the cake doesn't detract from the personalized character topper.

graduate cake topper

Easy Cake Topper

If making the graduate's likeness out of fondant is beyond your skills or budget, purchase one in the same gender and hair color as the graduate. It can top a cake of any size or flavor and adds a bit of personalization. Add a sprinkle of fondant or candy stars to resemble confetti as a finishing touch.

photo graduation cake

Photo Cake

A photo cake is the ultimate in personalization. Request a cake using edible images of your favorite photographs. Consider doing first and last day of school photos, use several of the graduate in his or her cap and gown, or create a collage cake with numerous photos through the years.

numbers and stars cake

Group Graduation Design

Honoring a group of graduates doesn't mean you need to have four, five, or even six elaborate cakes. Instead, honor everyone with one larger tiered cake. This design highlights ABCs and 123s, with the kids' names in stars surrounding the graduation cake. While it would be okay to use for a high school graduation party, the bright colors, letters, and numbers make it perfect for a preschool or kindergarten graduation.

mad hatter mortarboard

Mad Hatter Mortarboard

Mad hatter cakes, or topsy-turvsy cakes, are fun designs, and many graduates may even be a bit "mad" after studying for their finals. This elegant cake has three tiers adorned with silver dots and gold and silver flowers. The mortarboard hat is the perfect topper for this cake design.

owl graduation cake

Themed Graduation Cake

Parties with a secondary theme beyond graduation, school colors, and years, are only enhanced by including the cake in that design. For a graduate who did well academically, is known to be a "wise old owl," or who loves winged creatures, a 3D owl cake covered in fondant feathers is a perfect design.

chocolate graduation cap cake

Congratulations in Chocolate

While larger sheet cakes for the big party often use white buttercream, a cake in a special flavor like chocolate, toffee, or caramel, is perfect for a more intimate gathering with immediate family and a few close friends. The chocolate mortarboards can be made using mint molds or by simply flipping over a square piece of chocolate and adding the tassel with royal icing. Mini fondant or gum paste diplomas complete the look.

message sheet cake

Congratulations Are in Order

A simple congratulations or "congrats" may be all your graduation cake needs. Add your school colors for the border and some decorative touches, like a diploma and mortarboard, and it's finished. Simple sheet cakes like this one are easy to cut quickly and uniformly for a party.

cake with year and mortarboard

Simple and Quick

Making an elaborate cake is fun but time consuming. Instead, keep the cake simple and focus on the graduate himself by topping a two or three layer cake with candles representing the graduation year, and a mortarboard. A simple and quick cake can look nice without needing special skills.

colorful graduation cake

Colorful Embellishments

If the graduate doesn't care for his or her school or class colors, there's no rule saying the cake has to reflect them. Instead, choose a multi-colored cake that is sure to be festive for the party. The sprinkles fall just inside the bright pink border, and the fireworks-like topper is a great backdrop for the black mortarboard hat.

polka dot graduation cake

Polka Dot Tiered Design

Graduation parties hosted at elegant locations, like country clubs or hotels, call for an equally elegant cake. A tall tiered cake, with duo-toned ribbon topper and polka dots, fits the bill. Write a message on the sash to complete the design.

graduate with chocolate cake

Celebrate the Special Graduate

No matter what kind of cake you choose for the graduation party, remember it is a time to celebrate that special graduate in your life. Consider making a cake just for her in her favorite flavor, complete with candles to make a wish for the future. This is a great photo op before the big party, too.

Whether you choose a basic sheet cake with a special inscription or you go with a themed novelty cake, as long as you keep your graduate's style in mind it is sure to be a big hit.

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Graduation Cake Designs