Graduation Dessert Success

Spring is here, and the rush is on to find cakes for graduation parties.

When it comes to graduation cakes, the most influential trends are those that shy away from tradition, says Shawna LaMott with Lucks Food Decorating Company.

For graduation cakes, think bold, multi-colors instead of traditional black and gold. Also prepare for clever takes on modern young adult life.

“Sheet cakes are always a popular sale for graduation and can be updated with growing trends like cheeky messages or images found in social media,” says LaMott. “Puns like ‘Welcome to Adulthood’ or ‘Go on with your grad self,’ along with piled-high sweets keep the party celebratory rather than scholarly.”

But to truly be prepared for a profitable graduation season, you might have to be prepared to go easy on the cakes.

“Right now people are not buying as many cakes as they have in the past,” says Lynn Schurman, owner of Cold Spring Bakery in Cold Spring, Minnesota. “We’re doing a lot of cupcakes. We’re trying to figure out new designs to incorporate more options with cupcakes for graduation parties and events. Really, anything we can do to use them right now is important, because that’s what people are looking for. They’re not necessarily looking for cakes.”

For example, cupcakes and a sheet cake can be combined in a design; the sheet cake decorated to look like something and the cupcakes arranged in a shape.

“We’re also trying to figure out if there are other kinds of desserts that can be incorporated,” she says. “Not all graduation parties are doing cakes anymore. They’re looking for other options and we try to come up with new ideas, whether it’s using cookies, brownies or anything like that.”

For graduation parties, consumers are looking for unique ideas like ice cream sundae bars, bowls of candies in the school’s colors and more, all of which can be incorporated to boost cake sales.

Shawna LaMott says a cost-effective way to respond to these current trends is by adding trendy details and style to desserts that don’t require a lot of time for decorating.