How I built my stepdaughter’s money cake

May 21, 2017

I surprised my stepdaughter with a money cake for her graduation because she’s been a hard worker her entire life and is leaving for college soon! She knows I can’t gift her with a boring check, so I created this creative money cake to surprise her on her graduation day! This cake can be made with minimal material and within 3-4 hours (depending on how fast you roll money!). Here are my tips:


  • Do not use super/hot glue on the money as it will damage the bill.
  • You do not have to ‘fill’ the inside of the cake with all dollars (I just did the perimeter) as it will cost more money.
  • The larger you roll the bills, the less money you will need to fill the cake.


  • 1 bag of small clear rubber bands (bought at Walgreens)
  • 2-5 large rubber bands (depending on how many layers you want)
  • 1 foam board (preferably the color of your cake theme, I used her school colors)
  • 1 poster board (color of cake theme)
  • hot glue gun
  • double stick tape or foam adhesive circles (from Michaels)
  • scissors or box cutter
  • 1-2 round cake boards
  • 2-3 green foam circles (ranging in sizes)
  • 1-2 colored ribbon to wrap around the cake (if getting two, I used one small and one big)
  • 1 small graduation hat (find at Michaels/dollar tree/online)
  • 1 construction paper for signage

STEP ONE: Grab all your supplies

I picked up the black foam board, red poster board and  two green foam boards (often used for fake flowers). I also went to Michaels to pick up the ribbon, double stick tape, nice construction paper and graduation hat. I document most of my creative stuff on my snapchat: Maria Kang Fit


STEP TWO: Roll the money!

Start rolling the dough! We gifted her with $700, but you can use whatever amount – just make sure you roll according to how much you wish to spend. The bigger the roll, the less you will need. Also obviously using dollars is best. We used the clear rubber hands to roll dollars, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s. My husband helped a lot here as he came up with using the pencil to assist with the rolling. He also was the master engineer when cutting the foam boards and building the cake (he builds, I decorate, lol!)


STEP THREE: Build the first base.

I make a lot of cakes so we always have cake boards in our pantry. If you don’t have one,  you can easily make one using your foam board. All you need is a steady base to place your bottom layer. For the first layer, we cut a slightly smaller circle and use the roll of the large ribbon to create height between the two boards. After hot gluing the boards together, we add a strip of the red poster board via hot glue.


STEP FOUR: Add the money rolls


Start to apply each dollar via double stick tape or circle adhesives (I bought this at Michaels, btw, ALWAYS ‘google’ for their 40% coupon!) Make sure the number of the bill is facing forward.

STEP FIVE: Secure each layer and keep building!

As I meticulously put each dollar around the cake, my husband knocked out another layer by cutting a smaller circle (via black foam board) and gluing the green foam for height. I made sure to place a large rubber band around the dollars and hot glued the ribbon around each layer. To make it more secure, I added small poster pieces (seen here) around the cake so I can hot glue the ribbon every foot or so.

STEP SIX: Complete the layers

We  added two ribbons per layer (as I loved the contrast) and used a black foam board (since her school colors are red/black). Honestly, we were unsure how we would add height to the layers and how many we would have! We just kept getting more creative as we worked on this project together until 1am! For the top layer we used a dry foam circle (bought at dollar tree) and placed a graduation hat (bought at Michaels from a headband) on top. I originally searched for hats on Amazon, but couldn’t find ones that matched my vision. You can put anything on top, whether it’s a sign, a diploma or picture!

STEP SEVEN: Add the signage

I printed the signage from my computer and cut it out via scissors. Adding her pic was a final touch!




Her face was priceless!



  • Reply Amanda May 21, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Great job on the money cake. A labor of love! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply T Downs May 23, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      This is fantastic!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Connie XiongOwen May 21, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Love it!!! Thanks for sharing. This is very helpful.

  • Reply Daisy May 22, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Yes, thank you
    So much for sharing.

  • Reply Joyce May 22, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Impressive! She looked totally surprised! Thank you so much for sharing Maria! 😀

  • Reply Hope May 23, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    How many bills for each layer?

  • Reply Amy May 25, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Thanks for the instructions– I’ve made daughter one now and can’t wait to see her face! She’s going to love it!

  • Reply Arlene June 21, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Lovely! I am making one now for my granddaughter. Where did you find those nice labels?

    • Reply Maria Kang June 19, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      I made it from my computer

  • Reply cannabis doctor August 19, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I have been looking everywhere for this! I just randomly found your blog.

  • Reply Mary Houston January 24, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    I have looked everywhere for the signage you used. Perfect for a cake I plan on making for my grandsons HS graduation in May. Can you tell me where you found it. Thank you for your great design.
    Mary Houston

  • Reply Linda February 11, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Hi. I’ve been looking every where for the printable signage. Would you please share with me, which website did you find the signage?

    Thank you.

    • Reply Maria Kang June 19, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      I just googled images online and printed on hard paper

  • Reply Lynne February 19, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Can you tell me if I can create a smaller one using this guide?

    • Reply Maria Kang June 19, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Of course you can!

  • Reply Nandi March 21, 2018 at 2:18 am

    Could you say the sizes of the circles and the amount in the different denominations of money. Thanks

    • Reply Maria Kang June 19, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      I think you should make the circles as big as possible. I think it was about 1/2 inch in diameter

  • Reply Betty Visser April 12, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Can you tell me how tall the cake is without the cap?

    • Reply Maria Kang June 19, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Probably a little over a foot

  • Reply susan k pickford April 20, 2018 at 8:21 am

    how many bills did you use for each layer?

    • Reply Maria Kang June 19, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      I’m not sure but when we finished (because we also used 5s, 10s, 20s…it ended up being a little over $800!

  • Reply Blair May 5, 2018 at 5:31 am

    Could you please make for me

  • Reply Nana May 5, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    So beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing the details.🎓

  • Reply Alice May 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I hope to create one for my son’s graduation.
    BTW in the instructions are the small sticky dots to hold the money stable?


  • Reply Sandy May 28, 2018 at 2:48 am

    Does anyone know how many bills it takes to make this ?

  • Reply Sandy May 30, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Thank you for posting the instructions. Mine turned out beautiful.

  • Reply Jeanie June 8, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Going to give it a try for my Grandson’s 19th birthday. Your instructions were terrific

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