Scrap the tried and true cake when it is time for a dual celebration. A graduate who's also marking a birthday deserves a cake that makes a statement about her life. A cake in the form of a mortar board or one decorated with photos of the celebrant will be the piece de resistance at a birthday/graduation gathering and provide the honoree with sweet memories for years to come.
Make a large sheet cake designed with squares depicting the milestones that brought the graduate/birthday girl where she is today. Turn real estate properties into grades K through 12 and favorite subjects. Railroads and utilities are transformed into awards and extracurricular events. Chance and Community Chest can be used to depict names of old crushes, good friends or favorite sayings throughout the years. Other spaces can be used for the names of schools, teachers and pictures of birthday candles. Place fondant monopoly money, a small mortar board and birthday candles in the center of the cake.
Cap and Sparklers
Bake a sheet cake and frost it in school colors. Place a mortar board, made from a small square cake, over a slightly smaller round one in the center of the sheet cake. Cover it in white fondant. Attach a tassel to it and invite guests to sign the cap in gel frosting. Snap plenty of photos of the autographed cake for the birthday graduate before cutting.
Take your collection of school photos, a full body cap and gown shot and birthday snapshots to a professional cake decorator. Instruct her to airbrush the cap and gown picture onto the center of the cake. Have her alternate airbrushed copies of the birthday photos with the school pictures. Place the birthday candles near your child's hands in the center picture or allow them to surround him. Another option is to leave the corners blank and place a few candles in each corner, making it a challenge to blow out in one breath.
Bake two rectangular cakes and place them side-by-side to form what looks like an open year book. Make ridges along the edges to add the appearance of pages. On one side write the year of graduation and a couple of comical lines that start with "Most likely to..." and fill in the blanks with funny quotes or observations. These may include, "wait until the last minute to do homework" or "outshine the rest of the class" or "go on a diet the day before birthday cake is served." On the right side of the cake write Happy Birthday Graduate and add a bouquet of frosted flowers, candles and a diploma scroll.
Serve a diploma cake to the birthday graduate. Instead of using a traditional sheet or round cake, bake a chocolate roulade cake. Frost the cake in white frosting. Write, "Happy Birthday, Graduate" across the scrolled diploma. Surround the words with candles on this unusual choice in cakes.
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A cake with a graduation and birthday message will acknowledge both special events. birthday cake image by Jerome Dancette from Fotolia.com