6 Best Graduation Cake Ideas + 3 Topper

Graduations have been celebrated since the 12th century in Europe when scholars would receive their degrees from the very first universities. The word "graduation" stems from the Latin word for step. It comes as no...

Graduations have been celebrated since the 12th century in Europe when scholars would receive their degrees from the very first universities. The word "graduation" stems from the Latin word for step. It comes as no surprise, then, that graduation cakes have surged in popularity in recent years. From elegant cakes featuring the traditional cap and certificate to quirky book-shaped cakes, there are endless options to choose from.

The Best and Most Delicious Graduation Cake Ideas for Boys

Young Versus Old Graduation Cake

Young vs old cakes are not only used for anniversaries and special birthdays, but they also make great graduation cakes. Start by baking a basic cake recipe and, once cooled, frost it with buttercream. Next, draw a line down the middle of the cake using sugar paste. Add red hearts down the line, and finally, add a "Then Vs Now" calligraphy topper to the middle back of the cake. Place two photos of the graduate, one as a young boy and one as a graduate, on either side of the cake.

Young Vs Old Graduation Cake Young Vs Old Graduation Cake - Image Source: starevent.vn

Lego Man Graduation Cake

This fun cake is easy to make yet sure to bring a smile to the recipient's face. Start by baking a basic recipe and allow the cake to cool to room temperature. Frost the cake with buttercream and top it with a ready-made miniature Lego graduate. If you can't find one, you can have a cardboard Lego cake topper printed. This cake is perfect for Lego fans, and you can even gift them a new set alongside the cake.

Navy Blue and Gold Graduation Cake

This cake is great for both boys and girls, with its masculine colors. Start by baking a basic cake recipe. Once the cake has cooled, frost it using buttercream and cover it with navy blue fondant. Add a small mortarboard fondant cake topper and a sugar paste certificate in front of it. Spell the word "graduate" in gold lettering in front of the topper.

The Best and Most Tasty Graduation Cake Ideas for Girls

Graduation cakes are universally loved by both boys and girls alike, but our feminine graduation cake ideas have a touch of delicacy and florals.

Floral Letter Graduation Cake

This gorgeous cake appeals to many girly hearts and is easy to make at home. You can either carve your letter from a rectangular tin or buy a letter-shaped cake pan. Start by baking a basic recipe and cool it to room temperature. If using a regular cake tin, lay a paper cut-out of the first initial of your graduate on the cooled cake and cut it out using a sharp knife. Frost the cake with buttercream and pipe buttercream flowers in the same color all over the letter. Finish with a graduate cap cake topper.

Pink Pearls Graduation Cake

The cutest cakes are often the simplest, and this design proves just that. Bake a basic cake recipe using two round tins. Once cooled, frost between the layers and stack them. Frost the entire cake and add ready-made sugar pearls of different sizes evenly spaced all over the cake. Finish with a calligraphy cake topper.

Girl Graduate Silhouette Cake

This very cute cake design couldn't be simpler to make. Start by baking a basic cake recipe and allow it to cool down. Frost your cake using your favorite buttercream and smooth it with a cake scraper. Finally, add a fondant printout of your girl graduate. You can get pretty cartoonized drawings of girls walking 'away,' wearing a cap and gown. Add this to the front of the cake and press it down gently.

Simple Graduation Cake Designs

The best cake designs are often the simplest. If you're not confident enough to create a complex cake, don't worry. Here are some simple tips to make your cake stand out:

  • Play with different shades of buttercream by adding various amounts of the same color food dye.
  • Buy a fancy cake topper to elevate the design.
  • Use high-quality ingredients for a delicious result.

The Best Graduation Cake Topper

If you're baking a simple cake with just a delicious buttercream, you'll want to decorate it with an extra special cake topper. There are a few standard designs available for graduations:

Graduate Cap or Mortarboard

Graduate caps are the standard cake topper design for graduation cakes. You can get simple graduate cap silhouette toppers in black or glitter card, or even bespoke ones featuring the name, class, or degree of the graduate.

Calligraphy Quote

Calligraphy quote toppers that say 'Congratulations', 'Happy Graduation', or the name of the graduate are all great choices. You can get these in a variety of finishes from card and plastic to wood.

Graduate Silhouette

These cute cake toppers feature a silhouette of a graduate with their cap and gown. You may wish to get this kind of cake topper made of black card and finish it with a gold calligraphy name in front of the silhouette.

Quotes & Caption for a Graduation Cake

Looking for the ideal message to write on your graduation cake or a quote for a special card or social media post? Here are some lovely messages to choose from:

  • 'Make today your day, you've done it!'
  • 'On to your next adventure, name'
  • 'Believe in yourself. We're all so proud of you!'
  • 'Congratulations name, you've done it!'
  • 'I wish you so much success as you continue to chase your dreams and goals. Congrats, graduate!'
  • 'Now get out there and change the world.'
  • 'May your cap fly as high as your dreams.'

Basic Recipe for a Graduation Cake: A Simple Guide

This simple recipe for a delicious graduation cake is easy to make. You can even customize it to your liking:


  • 2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 3 medium eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9" cake tins or one 9"x13" pan.
  2. Whisk the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually whisk the butter and sugar mixture with the eggs and flour until combined.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature, then frost it according to one of our graduation cake design ideas.

Alternatives to a Graduation Cake

If you're not into traditional cakes or want to add some extra treats to your celebration, here are some great alternatives to graduation cake:

Elegant Black and White Graduation Cupcakes

Craft delicious cupcakes using our basic cake recipe. Fill them with dark chocolate ganache, frost them with dark and white chocolate buttercream, and top each cupcake with a little mortarboard topper.

Graduation Cookies

Get creative with cookies by baking sugar cookies in mortarboard and circle shapes. Ice the mortarboard cookies with black icing and decorate the circle cookies with fondant messages.

Graduation Cheese Board

For a unique twist, create a graduation cheese board. Spell out the word 'GRAD' using cubes of hard cheeses and cold meats. Surround it with more cheeses, meats, fruit, and dips.

Celebrate your graduate's accomplishments with one of these amazing graduation cake ideas or alternatives. From simple designs to elaborate creations, there's something for everyone to enjoy on this special occasion.