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Graduation Cupcake Decorating Ideas

I am a mom of two sweet boys with another one on the way. I worked in the financial world for 5 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Graduation cupcakes for my son's kindergarten class.

Graduation cupcakes for my son's kindergarten class.

Graduation Cake Ideas

Graduation is a special day in every student's life that signifies many months or years of hard work and the completion of one's studies. This kind of accomplishment is certainly one that deserves a big celebration. If you have an upcoming graduate in your life, recognize this amazing achievement with cupcakes topped with one of the following fun and easy decorating ideas.

Whether your graduate has finished kindergarten, high school, or college, read further to discover several different decorating ideas for your graduation cupcakes.

How to Decorate Graduation Cupcakes

Wanting to do something special for my son's kindergarten class, I decided to make cupcakes to celebrate their upcoming graduation. These cupcakes were very easy to make and got the kids super excited for their closing ceremony, which was later that night. Below you will find a list of supplies and step-by-step directions for creating our graduation cupcakes.

Ingredients and Supplies

  • Yellow cake mix
  • Buttercream icing
  • Red and yellow food coloring
  • M&M's
  • Hershey's chocolate bars
  • Fruit Roll-Ups

Directions

  1. Bake cake mix according to directions on the box. Let cupcakes completely cool before icing.
  2. Add yellow food coloring to a batch of buttercream icing (see recipe below)and frost cupcakes. Leave a small amount of icing to be able to make the red mouths.
  3. Break the Hershey's chocolate bars into square shapes for the graduation caps. (I used the fun size and broke them in half.) Place the chocolate square arranging it to look like a diamond at the top part of the cupcake.
  4. Cut 3-4 small strips in a red Fruit Roll-Up to make the tassel. Attach the tassel to the cap with a small amount of icing.
  5. Use a small amount of icing to add your desired color of M&M to the top of the tassel. (My son's school colors are purple and gold, so I used purple M&M's.)
  6. To finish up the cupcakes, add 2 M&M's for the eyes and use red icing to create the mouth.

Buttercream Icing Recipe

I have never been a fan of store-bought icing, so I always use this buttercream icing recipe given to me by my mom.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 pound of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of milk (add more if too thick)
  • Dash of salt

Directions

Mix all above ingredients with a mixer for 1-2 minutes. If making a colored icing, add desired food coloring and mix again. Spread on top of cupcakes once they are completely cooled.

Candy Substitutions

You can also use these substitutes to make our graduation cupcakes.

  • Hershey's chocolate bars: Ghirardelli chocolate squares or chocolate-covered cookies
  • Fruit Roll-Ups: Twizzlers or fondant
  • M&M's: Reese's Pieces or Skittles

How to Make Graduation Cap and Diploma Cupcake Toppers

More Decorating Ideas for Graduation Cupcakes

If you are celebrating a high school or college graduation, here are a few more fun and easy decorating ideas for your graduation cupcakes.

  • Graduation Cap Cupcakes: Use a peanut butter cup for the bottom of the graduation cap. Add a small amount of icing to attach the chocolate square. Attach a candy tassel and button with icing to the top of the cap.
  • Diploma Cupcakes: Melt a vanilla-flavored Tootsie Roll in the microwave and flatten out. Cut into square and roll into diploma shape. Cut a long strip out of a Fruit Roll-Up and twist around the diploma.
  • Star Cupcakes: Cut star shapes out of fondant with star-shaped cookie cutters. If you are attaching multiple stars, use icing to glue the stars together.
  • Monogrammed Cupcakes: Use fondant or icing to create the graduate's initials. You could also use this same method to create the school's initials to top your cupcakes.
  • Chocolate Cupcakes: After baking chocolate-flavored cupcakes, tear off the cupcake liner. Turn the cupcake upside down to make it the base of the graduation cap. Use icing or melted chocolate to attach a chocolate square, candy tassel, and button to the top of the cupcake.

Graduation Party Poll

Graduation Party Ideas

If you are hosting a graduation party for your upcoming graduate, any of these cupcake design ideas would be the perfect dessert to serve your guests. Not only are cupcakes much easier for your guests to handle, but you also save yourself from standing at the cake table half the night handing out plates of cake. All you need is a cupcake stand in the middle of the food table and you are free to celebrate this special day with your graduate and loved ones.

I hope you have found some fun and easy decorating ideas for your graduation cupcakes. If you have any questions or comments about our cupcake design or any of the other decorating ideas, feel free to leave these in the comment section below. Congratulations to your special graduate!

More Cake Decorating Ideas

Comments

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 04, 2012:

Thank you Iris for your visit and taking the time to comment! So happy to hear you liked the ideas!

Iris on June 03, 2012:

Love the fact that we can get this great ideas :) thank you :)

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 31, 2012:

Thanks so much LauraGT! Yes you will have to come back for the next graduation. Appreciate you stopping by and for commenting!

LauraGT from MA on May 30, 2012:

Cute ideas! My son just graduated from preschool last night. I guess I'll have to save these ideas for my daughter's graduation in a couple of years!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 26, 2012:

Thanks teaches12345! The chocolate cupcake idea was so cute because it looked exactly like a graduation cap but it was missing all that yummy buttercream icing that my boys love! lol :) Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

Dianna Mendez on May 25, 2012:

This is posted just in time for all those who have graduates in their family. I would love to see the graduation chocolate cupcakes. Love your yellow cupcakes!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 25, 2012:

Sounds like you are enjoying those cupcakes Master Chef! :) Thanks so much for stopping by!

Master Chef on May 25, 2012:

om nom nom nom nom

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 23, 2012:

Hi vespawoolf! Cupcakes are so much easier to serve than cake and it leaves you all that extra time to mingle with your guests. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on May 23, 2012:

I can't believe I'd never thought of cupcakes instead of cake at a graduation party. Not only do we love cupcakes, but it sounds so much simpler as well. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 22, 2012:

Thanks so much randomcreative! Appreciate you stopping by and for your sweet comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 22, 2012:

Thanks theclevercat! My boys are loving all the cupcakes but my husband says I am ruining his diet...oops! Guess that means he doesn't want cupcakes for Father's Day ;) Appreciate you stopping by and for the votes!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 22, 2012:

I love your cupcake series! Thanks for some more great cupcake ideas.

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on May 22, 2012:

I really love the cupcake series, Alissa! It always makes me smile, and who doesn't love cupcakes??? Voted up and awesome.

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 22, 2012:

Thanks missolive! We had two graduations this year in our family so I had to come up with some cupcake designs to celebrate. And I am so with you on the buttercream frosting - I will take it over chocolate frosting any day :) Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 22, 2012:

Thanks emilybee! So happy to hear you like the cupcake design! Appreciate your visit and for the sweet comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on May 22, 2012:

Thanks Shesabutterfly! Oh how exciting - congrats to your baby sister on graduating! Hope she enjoys the cupcakes! Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on May 22, 2012:

Very cute idea. Lots of graduation parties this month. Thanks for sharing. Note: I LOVE buttercream frosting!

emilybee on May 22, 2012:

These came out great!! They're so cute :) Thanks for sharing these ideas.

Cholee Clay from Wisconsin on May 21, 2012:

Great decorations alissaroberts! My baby sister graduates from high school next month, and I'll just have to use some of these great ideas. Thanks for sharing! :)