No graduation celebration is complete without a cake to honour the graduate's accomplishments. Grocery store bakeries sell large sheet cakes and can personalise them with a congratulatory greeting. A homemade and hand-decorated cake takes a lot of time, but provides a personal touch that allows the baker to boast her confectionery creativity. Go the extra mile on the graduation cake by adding edible decorations, like a graduation cap and diploma. Make the diploma with fondant, a thick, sugary paste that is easier to mould and manipulate than buttercream frosting.
Roll out a sheet of white fondant to a 3/8-inch thickness. The length and width of the fondant depends on the size of diploma you wish to make.
Cut the sides of the fondant sheet to make the edges flat. A pastry knife or dough card works well for this.
Roll a 3/4-inch dowel in cornstarch and lightly dust the up-facing side of the fondant with cornflour.
Place the 3/4-inch dowel on one end of the fondant sheet and slowly roll the fondant up around the dowel.
Slide the dowel out one side of the fondant roll.
Paint the edges of the roll with grey food colouring and use a fine-tipped paintbrush to create a shadow effect, if desired. Alternatively, you can score lines on the diploma to give it a papery effect.
Roll out a 3/4-inch wide strip of fondant in the school colour. Wrap the strip around the midsection of the diploma and brush it with water to make it stick.
Bend another section of the 3/4-inch wide strip of fondant to create a bow and attach it to the diploma with water. If you find it difficult to make the bow, you can use real ribbon to tie the diploma or pipe icing on with a piping bag.
Advanced decorators may choose to write the graduate's name on the diploma scroll with food colouring. Make an unrolled diploma to write a message to the graduate. Simply curl both ends of the fondant sheet in with the dowel and leave the middle section flat.