30 best graduation cake ideas


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PICTURED: JOEL GOLDBERG; FOOD STYLING: ERIKA JOYCE

It doesn’t matter if you’re celebrating a high school, college, or tech graduation, all of that hard work was important and should be commemorated. What could be better than throwing a graduation party? ! Whether you’re going on a picnic, having a barbecue or just having a few friends in your living room, we think you can’t really show how proud you are without a celebratory cake. Sure, you can order one from a local bakery, but nothing impresses more than homemade. We have everything from super easy ice cream cakes to more complex layer cakes, with cheesecakes, poke cakes and more. There’s something for everyone (even if you’re a beginner baker, we promise). Check out our list of 30 graduation cake recipes for ideas – they could just be better than that graduation cap throwing feeling.

Believe us that you need a cake, but you’re worried your baking skills aren’t up to par? Did you leave the party planning to the last minute? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, we got you. For the easiest cakes with the highest rewards, you need to go to a cooler. Really, all you need are cookies, whipped cream and a few hours in the freezer and you’ll have a cake everyone will love. Try our Oreo Peanut Butter Iced Cake or our Milk & Cookie Iced Cake to see what we mean. Upside-down cakes are also a great way to go, because once you’ve cut the fruit and the cake batter is done, you’re almost at the end of the road. They pretty much decorate each other. Check out how we placed the fruit in our Raspberry Peach Upside-Down Cake or Pineapple Upside-Down Cheesecake to inspire you, but feel free to do what sounds like fun. Speaking of cheesecakes, they have a bad reputation for being finicky, and it’s true that it’s hard to keep their tops from cracking. Our solution? Cover the top with something delicious, like in our Strawberry Cheesecake (topped with jammy fruit) or our Bailey’s Cheesecake (topped with rich chocolate ganache), and no one will notice the cracks.

Got more time and a little more baking prowess, and really want to impress your graduate? Layer cakes never cease to wow crowds, and we’ve got all the classics, like Funfetti, Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting, German Chocolate, and more. Love cakes, but want to try something a little more special? Try a new technique for decorating or assembling cakes. Cut a sheet of cake in the shape of graduation year numbers and decorate with your graduate’s favorite cookies and candies, or bake two cakes and layer them into one wild checkerboard cake. Once you try these methods, you may never go back to just stacking and frosting. Is your graduate more into ice cream than cake? Don’t let that stop you from baking a spectacular cake. Check out our spumoni ice cream cake or our strawberry ice cream cake to see how we transformed ice cream into beautiful cakes worthy of your graduation celebration.

For more ideas for sweet summer celebrations, check out our favorite summer dessert recipes, no-bake desserts, and easy fruit desserts.

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