lemon blueberry mousse

PHOTO: JOEL GOLDBERG; FOOD STYLING: ERIKA JOYCE

No matter whether you’re celebrating a high school, college, or technical school graduation, all that hard work was a big deal and should be commemorated. What better way than to throw a graduation party?! Whether you go for a picnic, throw a BBQ, or just have a few friends over in your living room, we think you can’t truly show how proud you are without a celebratory cake. Sure, you could order one from a local bakery, but nothing impresses more than homemade. We’ve got everything from super easy icebox cakes to more involved layer cakes, with cheesecakes, poke cakes, and more in between. There’s something for everyone (even if you’re a novice baker, we promise). Check out our list of 30 graduation cake recipes for ideas—they might just be better than that graduation cap toss feeling.

Believe us that you need a cake, but are worried your baking skills aren’t up to snuff? 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 gotta go icebox. Really all you need is some cookies, some whipped cream, and a few hours in the freezer and you’ll have a cake everyone will swoon over. Try our peanut butter Oreo icebox cake or our milk n’ cookies icebox cake to see what we mean. Upside-down cakes are also a good way to go, since once you get the fruit cut and the cake batter made, you’re most of the way there. They pretty much decorate themselves. Check out the way we placed the fruit in our raspberry peach upside-down cake or our pineapple upside-down cheesecake for inspiration, but feel free to do what feels fun to you. Speaking of cheesecakes, they get a bad rap for being finicky, and admittedly it is difficult to avoid their tops cracking. Our solve? Cover the top with something delicious, like in our strawberry cheesecake (topped with jammy fruit) or our Bailey’s cheesecake (topped with a rich chocolate ganache), and no one will notice the cracks.

Have extra time and a bit more baking prowess, and want to really impress your grad? Layer cakes never cease to wow a crowd, and we’ve got all the classics, like Funfetti, yellow cake with chocolate frosting, German chocolate, and more. Into cake, but want to try something a little extra special? Try a new cake decorating or assembling technique. Cut a sheet cake into the shape of the graduation year numbers and deco with your grad’s favorite cookies and candies, or bake two cakes and layer them into one wild checkerboard cake. Once you try these methods, you might never go back to simple stacking and frosting. Is your grad more of an ice cream fan than a cake fan? Don’t let that stop you from making a showstopping cake. Check out our spumoni ice cream cake or our strawberry shortcake ice cream cake to see how we turned 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 too.

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