8 Ideas for Graduation Cakes: Celebrate A New Chapter in Style

It’s almost that time! Your child has tackled school for a long time, worked their way through all of the projects, midterms, and finals (not to mention trials and tribulations) and they’re almost at the finish line. It’s about to all pay off with that prized middle school, high school, or college diploma… So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start shopping for graduation cakes! We really can’t think of a sweeter way to honor your graduate-to-be. 

So when is the appropriate time to order? According to Jessica Liva, decorating manager at Ryke’s Bakery in Muskegon, Michigan in an article from Bake Magazine, “The busiest time of our graduation season is from the last week in May through the first week of July. Customers start asking for graduation cakes as early as January and usually stop asking around the middle of May. We do get a few last-minute orders, but not too many.”

This means the time is now to start brainstorming ideas, because when it comes to graduation cakes, there are limitless options! Here are a few great theme ideas to give you some inspiration.

Graduation Cap Graduation Cakes

8 Ideas For Graduation Cakes: Celebrate A New Chapter In Style
Photo credit: Wilton

A graduation cap is a classic design for graduation cakes. It can be made of fondant or gum paste, or there are plastic kits you can purchase as well. Or, maybe a cake in the shape of a graduation cap is more your speed. Regardless, no one can deny this is hands-down, the most popular addition to most graduation cakes. For additional creativity, you can add a diploma or scroll. Extra credit points for any extra personalization from there!

READ MORE: Kindergarten Graduation: The Hardest Part

Natural Graduation Cakes

For a nature-inspired look, consider graduation cakes decorated with flowers. You can do amazing things with frosting and gum paste, but a cake decorated with fresh flowers is beautiful as well. If flowers aren’t their thing, think plants, cacti, succulents, and more. These look especially beautiful on “naked cakes,” which are all the rage.

School Spirit Graduation Cakes

8 Ideas For Graduation Cakes: Celebrate A New Chapter In Style
Photo credit: Sweet Passion Cakery

The next most popular choice is a cake that includes some school spirit! Think school colors, the school seal, and the school mascot, of course. These graduation cakes, go great with an overall theme that includes colorful decorations, tablecloths, place settings, and more.

READ MORE: 10 Books Every High School Student Should Read Before Graduation

Glitzy and Glamorous Graduation Cakes

8 Ideas For Graduation Cakes: Celebrate A New Chapter In Style
Photo credit: Wilton

Graduation is an important celebration, so why not pull out all the stops? For a more formal cake that truly wows, think edible glitter, gold leaf, and fancier touches like this. (Bonus points here if one of the school colors happens to be silver or gold!) You also may want to consider a tiered cake versus a sheet cake if you’re feeding a crowd, or try a sheet cake with a more elegant silhouette, like a first initial. 

READ MORE: 10 Flowers With Meaning That Are Perfect For Gift Giving

World Traveler Graduation Cakes

For a graduate that’s really going places, consider a graduation cake decorated with a map of the world. This is not only creative, but illustrative of all of the possibilities to come. If the guest of honor is planning an upcoming move to a new city after graduation day, perhaps a cake that features this future destination would be a welcome and thoughtful touch.

Graduate-Focused Graduation Cakes

8 Ideas For Graduation Cakes: Celebrate A New Chapter In Style
Photo credit: Emilee Kirven via Cake Wrecks

When searching for more personalized graduation cakes, why not theme your cake to the guest of honor? We’ve seen some amazing cakes that prominently feature hobbies and interests. If your graduate happens to be an athlete, that opens up another new level of possibilities with sports fields, sporting equipment, and more. Finally, what is their chosen profession? There are ideas all over the Internet for beautiful nurse cakes, architect cakes, and more!

READ MORE: 12 Terrific Ideas For College Care Packages

Throwback Graduation Cakes

Graduation cakes decorated with photos are always fun as well. For conversation and laughs, include adorable baby photos, fun photos of the graduate as a child, silly photos of them as a teen, and of course, the college years. Bakeries can often print in edible ink directly on the cake. This makes for a unique collage, and a blast from the past that all who are attending the graduation party will enjoy.

Graduation Cakes in Alternative Formats

While graduation cakes are a traditional dessert choice for a graduation celebration, there is always a less traditional approach. Cupcakes and cake pops are a newer option. If the graduate has a favorite dessert, such a strawberry shortcake, key lime pie, or red velvet cake, you could easily make that the featured dessert instead. Cheesecake, pies, and cookies could be a hit as well. Why not throw a dessert bar that includes a little of everything? Or, a brunch party could include a donut board or fruit charcuterie. The possibilities are truly endless! 


There are so many creative options for graduation cakes and celebratory desserts that honor this important milestone. Have fun searching through the options and select the one that best fits your special someone. 

Graduation cakes are an excellent way to celebrate years of hard work, dedication to a profession, trade or craft, and send best wishes for the amazing years and accomplishments to come. So bring family and friends together, say “congratulations” and send off your grad in style with these amazing desserts. 

WANT TO READ MORE?
Once the graduation cakes are eaten, share these 4 Apps To Help Make Life After College Great For Grads with your grad.

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8 Ideas For Graduation Cakes: Celebrate A New Chapter In Style
Cover photo credit: The Cake Blog

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Michelle K
Michelle K
Michelle is a Florida girl who loves the ocean, sunshine and nature. She enjoys cooking, gardening and boating with her husband and children. A full-time working mama, Michelle works in marketing and has been writing for her entire career. She de-stresses with snuggles from her kids, Pilates, essential oils, a good book or a smooth Cab. Her happy places are the beach, live music events and UCF football games. (Go Knights!)

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