Graduation Cake Ideas
and Unique Graduation Cupcakes
At any graduation party, it's your dramatic and unique graduation cake ideas that are truly the show stopper.
Sure, you can have great graduation party decorations LINK and wonderful graduation food, LINK but a big, creative graduation cupcake or cake display? Now that's going to get you some ooh and aahs.
The graduation cake photos and ideas you'll find here are creative, dramatic, and fun. And most of them are relatively simple to do at home if you have a little time and patience (and a steady hand for decorating!). And if you're making graduation cupcakes or cakes for a graduation party, you'll find lots of ideas for planning your party here, too, including:
Graduation Cake Ideas and Photos
The unique graduation cake photos you'll find here are a ton of fun! Some are a little simpler than others --and some take a more experienced hand-- but all are a lot of fun to make and look at. And all of 'em will fit any graduation theme perfectly.
Don't see a ton of cakes on here that you want to make? Check out graduation cake decorating and designs for more ideas.
Or go to the bottom of this page for ideas for decorating graduation cupcakes!
1. Wise Owl Graduation Cake
I love this graduation cake idea because it's one that anybody can make at home. It's super cute, always a show stopper, and comes together in no time at all. One of the most impressive but easy graduation cakes you'll ever make.
Want to make this wise little owl at home? His eyes are made from candied pineapple rings with chocolate covered peanuts in the middle. His wings and head are contoured with white and chocolate frosting (do this part first, of course!). And the neat plumage you see? Made with sliced almonds. Talk about creative!
You'll also see this same theme at the bottom of this page in owl cupcakes!
2. Plain "Paper" Graduation Cake
At first glance, this graduation cake idea might seem a little too simple. But something about its clean lines and coloring makes it take graduation very seriously.
I think of this as sort of a blank paper or marker board cake with a hand-written message. But if you want a cleaner look, you can write your message in cleanly cut fondant letters, too. That'll give it a more striking, less hand-made look, but will also be a bit more work to pull off.
3. "World in Your Hands" Graduation Cake
When you graduate college or high school, you feel like you could conquer the world! That feeling is definitely celebrated in this unique graduation cake.
You can use this idea to make any graduation cake your own-- a sheet cake, a layer cake like this one, even a cake made in a rounded or
star-shaped cake pan. The "world" is simply created with marbled blue (with a little white) and green/yellow frosting. Simple, sure, but the effect is really pretty and impressive!
The letters here are formed from black fondant, but you can leave the letters off or create them yourself with dark frosting.
4. Two-Person Graduation Cake
Have two graduates celebrating at your party and need a creative graduation cake idea for two?
This cake uses frosting (applied with a very steady hand) to celebrate both schools of the graduates-- one for one side, one for the other. It also combines the school colors of each graduate in a fun way.
Adapt this to only one graduate by making the school icon larger and filling up the whole cake with it! Then decorate around the cake with the grad's school colors.
You'll find a similar idea on my graduation cake decorating page.
5. Cookie and Cap Graduation Cake
This cookie graduation cake idea is a lot easier than it seems! The cake is a simple double-layer sheet cake with white frosting, and a message is piped on as usual.
But what sets this unique graduation cake apart is the cookie decorations! Sugar cookies are made into star shapes and baked onto sticks. Then they're decorated in hard frosting in the graduate's school colors, and allowed to dry. Then messages/accomplishments are written on them in edible food marker.
You can use only stars, like this, for a fun and clean look. Or add a grad cap as pictured. This one is made from some cake baked in a cup, topped with a square cookie. This is another one of those easy to do graduation cake ideas that looks really fun and impressive!
6. School Initials Graduation Cake
This is a unique graduation cake idea that's also pretty simple to do! If you go down to your local craft store, you should be able to find cake pans in letter shapes. Or, you can bake a large sheet cake, and carefully carve the letters from it (if you do this, be sure to freeze the cakes before trying to frost them so they don't disintegrate under the frosting).
Each of the letters is frosted in one of the school's bright colors. Then guests at your graduation party get to decide whether then want a K or a U!
7. Unrolled Diploma Graduation Cake
I love how cool and different this very simple graduation cake idea is!
This fun and unique graduation cake is a simple white layer cake with white frosting. Then, a very simple diploma is made using fondant, it's unrolled over the cake, and a message to your graduate is written on the "paper."
This is a good graduation cake idea if you're playing with fondant for the first time. It's such a simple, basic fondant shape that even a total beginner should be able to pull it off beautifully.
4 Fun Graduation Cupcakes Ideas
Graduation cakes are wonderful for a party, of course. But cupcakes are so much more fun! Also, with cupcakes, it's easier to get that "ooh" reaction without having to do too much real decorating.
Display your cupcakes in a
cupcake tree, or make your own display by gluing a couple of tiers or plates together with medium-sized drinking glasses between each tier.
1. Mini Graduation Cap Cupcakes
These are the easiest graduation cupcakes you'll ever make! And every single one of your guests will love them.
These grad cupcakes are made with chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and one of these nifty peanut butter cup graduation caps for a decoration. They're super easy to make, really fun to eat, and a whole tray of them looks really impressive.
You can also personalize this idea by adding frostings or cupcake liners in your graduate's school colors.
2. Wise Owl Graduation Cupcakes
Did you love the neat "Wise Owl" graduation cake idea above? You can do the same with cupcakes!
But what makes this idea even more fun that the whole cake is that, if you like, each of your wise graduation cupcakes can be a little different. Cover one owl cupcake with coconut "feathers." Make one entirely of almost slices. Give another one little pretzel stick feet. Give them all different eyes, or contour your owls' wings out of granola... give 'em personality!
With these graduation cupcakes, decorating them is just a fun as eating them.
3. Teeny Diplomas Graduation Cupcakes (with a game!)
There are lots of different ways to put this graduation cupcake idea together-- and all of them are easy!
To make your graduation cupcakes just as pictured, simply make little diplomas for each cake from rolled fondant. It's really easy to do-- you just have to allow a little time.
Or, to make it even simpler, top your plain cupcakes with real paper diplomas. And to add an extra element of fun, make your paper "diplomas" into a sort of graduation party game. Rolled into each one, put a message. Or a challenge. Or only put a special message in one, and the person who gets that cupcake wins a prize. Have fun with it, and make the game whatever you like!
You can also check out this page for more graduation party game ideas.
School Colors Graduation Cupcake Tower
This is such a show stopper idea, and it combines the best of graduation cake ideas with the fun of cupcakes.
Here, plain cupcakes are frosted in a combination of the graduate's school colors. They're randomly arranged on a cupcake stand (you can make one of your own, or buy one). At the top of the cupcake stand? A teeny cake with the graduate's name and school on it.
A total show stopper, a ton of fun, and not so hard to pull off!
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