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20 Graduation Cake Ideas

Celebrating graduation is such a wonderful time for friends and family to come together and share love and support for such a milestone. Graduation only happens a couple of times in a person’s life so why not show how special the occasion is with a fabulous graduation cake!

This list will surely spark an idea for the start of your party which is always dessert, after all a party is not complete without a fabulous cake.

We’ve put together the 20 most impressive graduation cake designs, to get inspired by. 2022 graduation cakes should bring something extra special to your gathering, and this list has so many different options from elegant graduation cakes to simply decorated graduation cakes.

You can even make a cake in the shape of your graduate’s special cap! Don’t have time to make a graduation cake yourself?

Find the recipe you like the most and take it to your local bakery to have them make a graduation cake inspired by your choice.

A bakery will even customize a message on the graduation cake to say something special to your graduate.

Find your perfect cake design for the special occasion with our 20 best graduation cake ideas for 2022 and 2023 commencements!

1. Gilded Gold Graduation Cake

This cake is a two-tiered delight with really elegant decorations, perfect for a fancy party that deserves such a beautiful centerpiece cake.

Tiny edible gold pearls are the secret to making the cake so fancy in it’s appearance. The black and gold pattern match the black of the graduation cap perched on top of this cake.

A sure thing to impress your guests and your graduate. Simple fondant makes it easy to create the diploma and cap that decorate this cake, and inside a delicious a simple chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream.

2. Damask Graduation Cake 

Don’t let the fancy design term scare you away. Damask is simply the pattern that decorates this beautiful cake’s lower half.

It’s so easy to achieve this intricate and elegant design, all you need is a stencil of the damask pattern to place around your cake layer and then paint on your edible coloring to really make it pop.

The Damask cake is more feminine with a large pink bow, ideal for a special ladie’s graduation day. Inside is a delicious red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

3. Sweet and Saucy Gold Pearl Cake

Sweet and simple on the inside, saucy on the outside! This cake has gorgeous golden pearls to decorate each tier of this cake.

The inside is a simple vanilla cake with whipped cream and strawberries, and the outside creates drama with the large golden pearls lining each edge.

Do you want your graduation cake to have a flare for the glamorous? This is the cake for you

4. Glitter and gold graduation chocolates

Don’t have time to make a cake? Want something sweet and delicious for your party but no time to put together something elaborate?

These little chocolate desserts are perfect for you. Simply buy these little golden wrapped chocolates that are filled with hazelnut chocolate ganache and nuts.

You can find them at any supermarket and all you need to do to make the hats is take the paper cup they sit in and attach a small paper square with a golden tassel.

Find the supplies at any craft store to put together these adorable and glittering desserts.

5. School Spirit Graduation Cake

A simple chocolate cake gets a serious dose of school spirit with class colors to decorate the outside and a decoration of the school logo to put onto the cake.

Looks too complicated? It’s actually so easy because you can now order logos printed onto edible paper or fondant to put right onto your cake.

Its as simple as that and your graduation cake will have all the school spirit to send off your graduate with style.

6. Pink Carnation Cake

Want to celebrate your little girl’s graduation with gorgeous flowers cascading down her cake? This is the cake to do it.

Inside is a delicious vanilla cake with whipped cream, and outside you can create a stunning flower design with the write piping tip.

Simply order a flower decorating piping tip set and put together these beautiful carnations to decorate your cake on top then down the sides.

Piping frosting is such a fun and satisfying way to decorate your graduation cake.

7. Sheet Tray Graduation Cake

The easiest and most time efficient way to create a festive graduation cake for a party is to use a sheet tray to bake and build your cake.

Just make three large sheet tray cakes and stack them on top of each other to achieve this lovely rectangular shape to decorate with school colors and your graduates name.

Layer each cake with your favorite flavor of frosting and then use fondant to make decorations for the top!

8. Stencil Decorated Cake

It’s so satisfying to present a cake that looks professionally decorated but only look moments to build.

This cake is the perfect example, using a stencil you can create fantastic designs for your 2023 graduation cake idea and bring it to life.

Print out stencils or cut them out yourself and then use edible paint to create these impressive designs all over your cake.

9. Lilac Elegance Graduation Cake

Take inspiration from your graduate or loved one’s favorite color to make a stunning and glamorous cake for the occasion.

This graduate cake is decked out with lilac adornment making it fit for a princess.

The trick with this cake is to find different decoration all in the same shade of purple to really make a statement for your graduate’s celebration.

10. Mascot Bouquet Cake

The best part of this cake is making the fun and energetic cake topper with your graduate schools mascot logo!

Simply roll out fondant and using a cookie cutter or knife, create the shape of your school’s mascot shown here with a paw print.

The paw print is easy to find a cutter for and will create such a dramatic topper for your cake you barely need to do anything else to it!

11. Black and Gold Graduation Cake

This cake is simple, but so classic and elegant your efforts will not go unnoticed. Simply decorate two layers of your favorite flavor cake with white frosting and adorn the cake with a classic graduation cap to mark the festivities.

Use gold decorator’s frosting and edible pearls to make the cake pop for your celebration.

Sometimes simple is better and if you’re throwing a party for your graduate you definitely want to keep things simple.

12. Bold in Blue Graduation Cake

Together the black, white and blue of this cake make for a show stopping centerpiece for a summer graduation party.

I know the flowers may look daunting but don’t worry, because you can easily buy pre-made sugar flowers to decorate this beautiful cake and impress everyone attending.

Three tiers makes this cake extra special and with blue and black frosting you can create such a work of art for your graduation cake.

13. Pink Pillowy Celebration Cake

A classic graduation cake with the utmost elegance. This cake is simple, yet impressive.

Details on the side of the cake make for a more dramatic appearance, and piping pink dollops all around the bottom of your cake will give it that professional touch.

The cross-hatch detailing on the side gives this cake it’s “pillowy” look and will make your graduate feel like royalty.

14. Blue Book Graduation Cake

It’s always fun to surprise your guests and graduate with something that may not look like a cake but is actually a delicious dessert for your celebration.

This graduation cake is shaped like the thick books your graduate spent hours reading to get to where they are now.

It’s a fun and whimsical cake idea that will not only impress your friends and family but also can be totally customized to say all kinds of things on top with lots of room for “congratulations” or “ you did it!” Top it with a graduation cap and this cake will be a show stopper.

15. Daisy Cake

This elegant graduation cake gets its flare from the edible flowers that decorate it.

Daisies made from fondant will create such a beautiful addition to this red and black striped masterpiece.

The secret to making perfect daisies? Use a daisy cookie cutter! As easy as cutting out white fondant and painting a small center onto the flower. The red on this cake will make your flowers pop.

16. Two Tiered Square Cake

This cake is easy but looks complicated. Simply make two square cakes and then layer them on top of each other at a diagonal to one another to create a geometric architectural graduation cake.

You can even swap out chocolate glaze for the traditional frosting to make an even easier time of it.

Decorating with two different colors on a white backdrop will also make for a more appealing decoration.

17. Figurine Cake

What makes this cake extra special? The addition of a cartoon character of your graduate to sit on the cake.

Cake shops and bakeries can create a life-like version of your graduate to decorate the cake and make it really unique.

Everyone will know who they are there to celebrate.

18. Curly Que Cake

If you’re looking to practice your piping, this cake is perfect for you. Simple white frosting give way to a whole canvas for you to pipe swirls all over and make a beautifully designed cake.

Using black decorating icing you can really make the cake feel fancy, or swap out the black and red for whatever your school colors are.

19. Pink Damask Cake

This fancy feeling fabric design is perfect on a cake because it makes your graduation cake feel elegant and refined.

Pick up a stencil of the damask design at your local arts and crafts store than simple paint on the cake with edible coloring!

Its as easy as that and your graduate will be so impressed with the design and flare.

20. Pastel flowers Graduation Cake

This cake feels as fancy and refined as a wedding cake but without all the work of a wedding.

Blues and whites go perfectly together for an elegant decoration design.

You can also swap out your favorite pastels or color combination to make this cake unique to your style.

A white graduation cap is classy and beautiful on top of this cake which will certainly impress your guests and make your loved one feel extra special on their graduation day.

20 Graduation Cake Ideas

20 Graduation Cake Ideas

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients for Italian Cream Cheese Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Ingredients for Italian Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for garnishing cake

  • 2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour three 9 inch round baking pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in coconut and pecans.
  5. In another bowl, beat egg whites with clean beaters until stiff. Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter. Pour into prepared pans.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of a cake. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from pans to wire racks.

How to Make Italian Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter for five minutes until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla for five minutes more until light and fluffy. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.
  2. Garnish with toasted coconut and pecans. See the tip below for how to toast shredded coconut in the oven.
  3. Store finished cake in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Did you make this recipe?

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Sweet E's Bake Shop

Wednesday 1st of May 2024

These graduation cake ideas are fantastic! They offer creativity and inspiration for celebrating a special milestone with delicious and beautiful treats.

Sweet E's Bake Shop

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