Are you ready to join me for another cake creation?! Here’s how I made this erupting Volcano cake, complete with bubbling lava, smoke and some brave dinosaurs.

The Brief: A Volcano cake with an orange T-Rex, Green Pterodactyl and Red Triceratops Dinosaur

Here we go…

What You’ll Need:

Ingredients list and what you’ll need to prepare in advance.

Prep:

  • Cake board with cleat and threaded rod
  • A sharp knife for carving.
  • A food safe container (like a clean drink bottle) to insert into the middle of the cake. Tall and thin works best. Pre-measure the container to make sure that it will sit flush with the top of the volcano opening. If it is too high it doesn’t look as good and if it is too low the bubbling lava might not be seen and the jelly will soak your cake from the inside and may affect the structure.
  • Purchase Dry Ice and gather protective and safety gear

Cake:

  • Cake of your choice (I used 3 x 7” Funfetti cakes)
  • Levelled and Layered

Icing:

  • Chocolate ganache (I used less than 1Kg)
  • 1 x Container of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting 400g
  • Gel colours (I used Americolour Copper, Wiltons Red Red and Chef Master Neon Bright Yellow) 3 bowls for mixing and a microwave for heating the frosting

Decorations:

  • I made my Dinosaur Cake Toppers from a combination of Fondant and Gum Paste. I will have to make a separate tutorial on how I created them 😊
  • Chocolate Rocks – You can buy these from most cake shops or candy stores.
  • Desiccated coconut, Ziplock bag and green gel colouring

Dry Ice:

  • 1kg is more than enough. I couldn’t buy it in smaller quantities.
  • Protective Gear including gloves, goggles, tongs, insulated box.

Preparing the Volcano Cake

Level, layer and fill your cakes with chocolate ganache.

Then insert the cakes over the threaded rod, slightly off centre, so that the lava bottle can sit in the centre of the cake. The threaded rod is there to support the cake structure.

Next up, you will need to remove the core of the cake for the lava bottle. I placed the container on top of the cake and traced the outside with a sharp pairing knife, I can then ‘core’ the cake, much like you would core an apple.

Place the bottle inside the cake and at this point, I recommend filling the bottle with some paper towel or similar, to stop any icing falling into the bottle. Don’t forget to take it out before adding the liquid later!

If there are any gaps between the cake and the bottle at the rim, cover them with a layer of ganache so seal it off and stop the lava mix running into the inside of your cake.

Shaping the Volcano

Using a serrated knife (a bread knife works well) start to make the general cone shape of the volcano.

‘Crumb Coat’ the cake in a thin layer of chocolate ganache to hold everything together. Then placed it into the fridge to chill and set for about 15-20mins

Once the Crumb Coat has set you can really start to create the desired volcano shape with a bit of carving and a bit of cake pop mix (cake crumbs mixed together with Ganache) used to give the Volcano some extra texture.

Set it in the fridge to chill for about 1 hour and let it settle and really firm up.

While you’re waiting for your cake to set, it is time to work on my favourite part, the dinosaur cake toppers!

Dinosaur Cake Toppers!

For this cake I needed to make a Triceratops, T-Rex and Pterodactyl dinosaur

I’ll show you some of the process and progress shots from the red Triceratops…

My Dinosaurs tend to have little legs and big bodies. The legs will need to hold a fair bit of weight, so by making them first they can have longer to dry. I’ve also strengthened the fondant with Tylose / CMC. I don’t have a lot of time for these guys to dry, so I have also added internal supports with BBQ Skewers (that I will remove before placing them on the cake)

The Body has a Rice Krispie centre (Rice Bubbles and Marshmallow mixed together…yum) which gives it a lightweight bulk to the body

The eyes are sugar pearls and I have drawn the eyeballs onto the pearl with a Food Art Pen. This is such a quick and easy way to create cute details. Rainbow Dust Colours

https://tinytoppers.com.au/shop/toppers/cake-toppers/dinosaur-cake-topper/

Back to the Volcano!

Time to bring this Volcano cake to life!

Lava

Thank you to Betty Crocker for your easy Vanilla Frosting. I simply followed the recipe for the ‘Glaze Icing’ on the side of the container. It makes the perfect thick and runny icing (also great for easy drip cakes!)

I divided the melted icing into 3 containers and then coloured one each with Red, Copper and Yellow Gel Paste. Once the colour was fully mixed in, then I added another drop of Gel Paste and swirled it through the frosting, without fully combining it; this way I now have patches of ‘lava’ that are a solid colour and other parts that have a deeper colour marbling through it.

You can simply use a spoon to drip it onto the cake, starting from the rim (hopefully the paper towel you placed into the bottle earlier will stop the drip going into your bottle)

Grass and Rocks

Thanks to the ‘Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book’ we all know that the only type of grass and shrub greenery you ever need for cake decorating is desiccated coconut coloured with green Gel, of course!

Place the coconut into a ziplock bag with a couple of drops of green food colouring then shake the bag and work the colouring into the coconut.

Sprinkle it onto the cake to add texture and interest. If it is not sticking, use a small dab of water.

Then I added some chocolate rocks around the base of the cake and across the cake board. Kids LOVE these, so you may want to bring along the spares to serve with the cake.

Bubbling lava

To create bubbling lava and ‘smoke’ I used Dry Ice and red (unset) jelly.

Follow the instructions on the jelly packet to make up a batch of jelly, but do not place it in the fridge to set, we want it to stay as a liquid. You can also use plain tap water and red food colouring, or just plain water!

Once the Dry Ice has been added to the liquid, little bits may bubble and spill over, running down the cake, however if you have used ganache it should act as a waterproof barrier, so it should not affect the structure of the cake. Also because the jelly is sweet it will still be a tasty cake.

‘Smoke’

The secret to creating that misty smoke is Dry Ice!

I purchased 1Kg of Dry Ice from BOC Fyshwick for $12 per kg + $5 for their insulated box.

It will loose 10 – 20% of its volume, so keep it well insulated. It should last for 18-24 hours apparently

The smaller container it is stored in the better. I recommend picking it up just before use if possible.

I picked up a 1kg of Dry Ice later in the afternoon and kept it in the insulated box, inside the freezer overnight and a lot of it evaporated by the time I pulled it out at 10am the next day. There was only about a cup left, however that was plenty for the volcano!

BOC Fyshwick – 02 6280 6921 9 Barrier St, Fyshwick ACT 2609

https://www.boc.com.au/shop/en/au/gas-and-gear?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_content=Fyshwick&utm_campaign=GooglePlacesGasGear

WARNING: Handle with extreme care! Dry Ice can burn you. It should be handled while wearing gloves and using tongs or similar to pull the pieces from the insulated box. Please keep it safely away from children.

Once the Dry Ice hits the lava liquid it will start to bubble and ‘smoke’. Now it is key to remember that the ‘smoke’ isn’t actually smoke like from a fire, but actually evaporation. It is very cold and very cool.

It didn’t seem to make a difference between using the un-set jelly while it was still warm, or once it had cooled to room temperature. Either way the Lava and ‘Smoke’ will give off different affects depending on how much Dry Ice you put into your container.