Graduation goodies

May is a time for diploma-shaped cookies and graduation caps on cupcakes.

Local confectionery sellers say that this year, students are going for convenience when purchasing their goodies.

“We’re doing a lot of cookies. The decorated cookies,” said LuAnne Bacon-Hruska, of Creative Cakes by LuAnne. “Cupcakes are pretty popular this year also. Then there’s the traditional sheet cake.”

Larita Myers, owner of Larita’s Cakes ‘N More, agreed that cookies are the most popular.

“They like it, because it’s easy. They don’t have to have the plates and the forks, they just pick it up and go,” Myers said. “They don’t have to sit there and baby-sit the cake, and cut it up, and miss visiting with all their guests.”

Bacon-Hruska said all cake decorators are incredibly busy this time of year.

“The month of May is – I think it’s busier than Christmas,” she said.

She’s been in business for about 20 years, and it has always been like this.

“We didn’t do cookies like that back then, I don’t believe. It was always a sheet cake.”

Back then little plastic picks with a hat or graduation head were very popular, she said. She doesn’t see many of those anymore.

Also declining in popularity are the once-ubiquitous graduation mints.

“It used to be everyone would get them with their order, but don’t do as much of those today,” Bacon-Hruska said.

Myers said she’s been doing these parties for 32 years.

“They’ve gotten bigger and bigger,” she said. “We have one order for 50 dozen, just for one order.”

But the food served at most graduation parties will be mostly the same as it has always been, said Shirley Dickenson, assistant kitchen manager at Hy-Vee.

“They’re mostly doing the normal vegetable trays, fruit trays, meat and cheese trays, cold meat sandwiches,” Dickenson said. “And then a potato salad or chips.”

Dickenson has been catering for about 20 years, and with Hy-Vee for eight years.

Fruit and veggie trays have increased in popularity over time, though.

People are thinking “a little more healthy than they used to,” she said.

There are plenty of ways to dress up that fruit, too.

Kathy Dressen, in the Hy-Vee salad bar department, said she often gets calls for chocolate-covered strawberries,or fruit kabobs.

“Just about anything we can do, we will do for them,” Dressen said. “People ask us for things they saw on Pinterest.”