I was going to make an Octonauts cake for my 3-year-old son, but two days before his birthday, we went shopping for his presents and he got a very colorful “dinosaur” set with volcano. I realized that very soon, my boys wouldn’t allow me to make dinosaur cakes because they wouldn’t be “cool” anymore. So, I changed plans!

I mentioned to my husband that I had a new plan and he was all, “why don’t you build it around the chocolate fountain so it actually spews stuff out!”

“That’s a little ambitious!” I smirked. The chocolate fountain is HUGE. Only the Cake Boss could build something that big. Still… maybe he was onto something. To the internet! The first “volcano cake” that came up had real smoke (dry ice style). Well, that seemed easy enough!

And I was off! I used:

  • 3 boxes of yellow cake mix
  • 4 of the small pans (6 inches maybe)
  • one 10 inch pan

Bake them, slice them (with cake slicer to make them flat) and freeze them 20 minutes. Ice all the layers with my homemade fool-proof recipe:

  • 8 cups SIFTED confectioners sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup Vegetable Shortening
  • A few tablespoons of milk (not too much milk and never use vanilla! It always makes my icing run!) I just used plain white for the layering

Take a cheap water bottle and cut the top off. Cut a circle the size of the water bottle in the center of around all the small layers so you can place the water bottle on top of the 10 inch cake and in the middle of all the small layers. Stack the the cakes and instert water bottle!

Before you place the layers on the 10 inch cake, shave down the sides so the “tower” is slanted more like a volcano and less like a tower (small at the top, larger at bottom)

Set layered cakes on 10 inch cake and ice with crumb layer in gray.

I had so many “leftover cake shavings” that I decided to stick them to the sides of the volcano to make “rock ledges”. So cool! When you do your final icing to the volcano, take a toothpick and drag black coloring across, then smear and it looks dimensional! I accidentally got a streak of black on it and noticed that it looked really cool. (I don’t think that I was smart enough to come up with that on my own. Anything cool I do, I actually just stumble upon while making a mistake or mess or both).

Stack your four cakes with the water bottle inserted on top of the 10 inch cake, then ice the 10 inch with light green and get out your grass tip to make the grass! Mind blowing I know. I used leftover rock candy I had to make “flowers or rocks or whatever” for color in the grasses.

I made palm trees with pretzel sticks and “Air Heads” green candy that I cut and shaped into leaves. I suppose its easier if you have green fondant and a leaf mold, but I’m not a fancy operation so I use what I can get my hands on in less than 24 hours. (I’m also not a planner.)

I used toy dinosaurs because its easy and cheap! You can do that with the trees too if you are short on time!

To make the lava, I used orange and red icing in the same bag and it turned out so cool! Then I threw some leftover red sprinkles from Christmas on top and Boo-YA!

On the very bottom I added aqua water with a large star-tip.

Now for the best part – the smoke – it’s dry ice! You have to buy the dry ice the day of, or it will melt on you. I got mine at Harris Teeter Grocery Store, but you can Google Penguin Dry Ice to find it near you.

For the Grand Finale, light the candles (because lava is fire!) and then put your pieces of dry ice in the water bottle (don’t touch dry ice with your hands! It will burn you! Use gloves and tongs). Then pour a little bit of water on the dry ice and you get fire and smoke! So incredible!

I have to say, my three year old was a little scared to blow out the candles! In the video we took, he was covering his ears and almost fell completely off his chair trying to blow out the candles! After he recovered, my husband helped him back to his chair to give it another try. It takes a brave boy to conquer the FIRE and ICE of a volcano cake! I dare you to try it!

It’s really not that hard. I’m a stay-at-home mom with four kids. If I can do it, so can you! Happy Baking! Let’s make some birthday memories that last forever! They are only young once and so are YOU :)