How to Make & Decorate Graduation Cakes

Making and decorating your own graduation cake is a nice way to show a graduate how much you care. Buying a graduation cake is expensive, and it is never a guarantee that the cake will look as appealing as expected. There are several ways to decorate graduation cakes. Graduation cakes require a creative mind, and simple ingredients that are sitting around in your kitchen cabinets.

Combine sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Mix on a low speed while adding in the eggs, lemon juice and vanilla.

Sift the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture and buttermilk by alternating their addition to the sugar mixture. Stir with an electric mixer after each addition until blended well.

Pour mixture into a 13 by 9 inch greased pan. Preheat oven to 176 degrees C.

Bake cake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check cake to ensure that it is finished baking by inserting a toothpick or a fork into the middle of the cake. Remove the toothpick or fork, and the cake is finished if there is no cake stuck to either one.

Allow cake to cool before adding icing or decorations. Remove the cake from pan and place on a rack to decorate.

Choose a base frosting or icing for the cake. Pick a colour that represents the colours of the graduate's school.

Pick a spot on the cake to write your message. You will want to congratulate the graduate. Leave an open space on the cake that gives you enough room to write your message clearly.

Add a focal point by drawing the school's emblem with icing or placing a rolled up piece of paper tied with a ribbon to represent a diploma. Decorate the cake to be unique to the graduate's interests and school.

Add accents to the cake. Create an icing border on the cake with a piping bag. Be creative and add accents that match the graduate's party theme.

Decorate around the cake. The decorations add interest to the cake. Objects can enhance the cake and add to its decor, but do not look appealing on cakes. Flowers and confetti are decorations to consider.


Purchase a larger cake pan and double the recipe to feed more people. This cake recipe feeds 25 people.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2-1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Electric mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • 13 by 9 inch Pan
  • Icing
  • Piping bag
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About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.