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How to Make a Volcano Cake

Updated on May 30, 2016

Create an active volcano for your next party. This is a guide to making an erupting volcano cake with smoke and flowing lava. It will look amazing and will really wow your guests.

The steps are easy to follow and aren't hard. Even amateur cake makers can tackle this mountain. You will bake the cake, decorate it, and then simply add the effects.

This volcano cake recipe is doubly good because it combines the moist taste of molten lava cakes with an erupting volcano for a one of kind lava cake experience.

Volcano cake are perfect for luaus, dinosaur parties, fire themed parties, science themed parties, or just for parties in general. Kids will love it and adults will definitely enjoy it, too.

So get ready to erupt the party with volcano cake.

Erupting Volcano Cake!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The lava is running down the sides of this smoking volcano cake.The volcano is smoking and fogging.Lava bubbling over.The finished cake before the lava is added.The finished cake before the lava.Lava bubbling down the cake.The smoking cake with lava pools.
The lava is running down the sides of this smoking volcano cake.
The lava is running down the sides of this smoking volcano cake.
The volcano is smoking and fogging.
The volcano is smoking and fogging.
Lava bubbling over.
Lava bubbling over.
The finished cake before the lava is added.
The finished cake before the lava is added.
The finished cake before the lava.
The finished cake before the lava.
Lava bubbling down the cake.
Lava bubbling down the cake.
The smoking cake with lava pools.
The smoking cake with lava pools.

How hot is this cake?

3.9 stars from 9 ratings of Volcano Cake

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 1 hour 40 min
Yields: 3 cakes; 30-45 servings
Here are the basic volcano cake ingredients.
Here are the basic volcano cake ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 3 boxes cake mix, any flavor
  • approximately 9 eggs, see the cake mix boxes for exact count
  • approximately 2 cups oil
  • 1-2 cans condensed milk, sweetened
  • 4 containers cake icing, 3 chocolate for the outside of the cake
  • 1 package toffee or other brown candy pieces like peanut butter chips, optional
  • 1/2 container Hershey's chocolate powder, optional
  • crumbled cookies, optional
  • cake picks, plastic figures, or any other decoration
  • 1 package strawberry glaze
  • 1-2 pounds of dry ice
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Combine the cake mix and the oil.Add in the eggs.You can add in bits of the candy into the cake.Mix well.Oil the pans.Pour the cake mix into the pans.Bake for about 25 minutes.Poke holes into the top 2 layers.  Pour condensed milk into the holes and over the top.Bake for another 10 minutes.Let the cakes cool for at least an hour.
Combine the cake mix and the oil.
Combine the cake mix and the oil.
Add in the eggs.
Add in the eggs.
You can add in bits of the candy into the cake.
You can add in bits of the candy into the cake.
Mix well.
Mix well.
Oil the pans.
Oil the pans.
Pour the cake mix into the pans.
Pour the cake mix into the pans.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
Poke holes into the top 2 layers.  Pour condensed milk into the holes and over the top.
Poke holes into the top 2 layers. Pour condensed milk into the holes and over the top.
Bake for another 10 minutes.
Bake for another 10 minutes.
Let the cakes cool for at least an hour.
Let the cakes cool for at least an hour.

Hot Spots

The Ring of Fire is the circle bordering the Pacific Ocean where 90% of current earthquakes occur. There are 452 active volcanoes along the ring.

Instructions for Making the Cake

  1. Combine the cake mixes, eggs, and oil together. You will follow the directions on the box of your specific cake mix. Some mixes might have different ingredients. But basically you will combine the ingredients and then mix.
  2. If you are using the same type of cake mix for all 3 layers, they can all be combined in the same bowl. This helps because you can make the bottom layer bigger than a normal cake and the top layer smaller than a normal cake.
  3. If you are using different types of cake mix for different layers, mix each of them separately.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or the recommended temperature on your cake mix).
  5. Oil three cake pans very well so the cake won't stick. Try to use one big pan, one medium pan, and one small pan. This will make shaping the cake much easier.
  6. Pour the cake mix into the pans. The pan for the bottom layer should have the most cake if you just have one type of mix.
  7. Bake the cakes for approximately 25 minutes. Remove the top two layers. Leave the bottom layer in the oven.
  8. Poke holes into the top of the middle and top layer of cake. Use the handle of a teaspoon or the end of mixer. The holes should be between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch wide.
  9. Pour the condensed milk into the holes and all over the top of the cake. You should use at least one full can of the condensed milk. This will give the cake the moist, molten taste and texture.
  10. Put the two layers back into the oven for 10 more minutes or until they are done.
  11. Remove all three layers when they are done. Use a toothpick or a fork to check them. Stick the fork or the toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out without any cake sticking to it, the cake is ready.
  12. Allow the cakes to cool for at least an hour. 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours to cool would be ideal.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
 It could erupt at any minute. Watch out!Cover cardboard with brown paper.Tape the paper to the underside of the board.Put aluminum foil under the bottom layer of the cake.Gently stack the cakes.Find a cup that will fit in the cake for the lava.Cut a hole in the middle of the cakes for the lava cup.Put icing between the layers.Cut and shave the cake to form the volcano.Drizzle icing onto the cake.You can add in pieces of the cake that were cut off to fill gaps and to shape the mountain.Add candy pieces to look like terrain.Roll up the aluminum foil to form a moat and add decorations.Use left over cake or crumbled cookies to fill in "dirt" over the aluminum foil.Cover the aluminum with cocoa powder or crumbled cookies to look like dirt.Ta-da!  The finished volcano.The finished volcano cake.
 It could erupt at any minute. Watch out!
It could erupt at any minute. Watch out!
Cover cardboard with brown paper.
Cover cardboard with brown paper.
Tape the paper to the underside of the board.
Tape the paper to the underside of the board.
Put aluminum foil under the bottom layer of the cake.
Put aluminum foil under the bottom layer of the cake.
Gently stack the cakes.
Gently stack the cakes.
Find a cup that will fit in the cake for the lava.
Find a cup that will fit in the cake for the lava.
Cut a hole in the middle of the cakes for the lava cup.
Cut a hole in the middle of the cakes for the lava cup.
Put icing between the layers.
Put icing between the layers.
Cut and shave the cake to form the volcano.
Cut and shave the cake to form the volcano.
Drizzle icing onto the cake.
Drizzle icing onto the cake.
You can add in pieces of the cake that were cut off to fill gaps and to shape the mountain.
You can add in pieces of the cake that were cut off to fill gaps and to shape the mountain.
Add candy pieces to look like terrain.
Add candy pieces to look like terrain.
Roll up the aluminum foil to form a moat and add decorations.
Roll up the aluminum foil to form a moat and add decorations.
Use left over cake or crumbled cookies to fill in "dirt" over the aluminum foil.
Use left over cake or crumbled cookies to fill in "dirt" over the aluminum foil.
Cover the aluminum with cocoa powder or crumbled cookies to look like dirt.
Cover the aluminum with cocoa powder or crumbled cookies to look like dirt.
Ta-da!  The finished volcano.
Ta-da! The finished volcano.
The finished volcano cake.
The finished volcano cake.

Did you know?

There are over 1500 active volcanoes on the surface of the earth and more than 10,000 volcanoes under the ocean!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The lava bubbling and rolling down the volcano.Testing the watered down glaze with the dry ice.Pieces of dry ice in the lava cup.Pouring in the glaze.Add more glaze as needed to keep the effect going.
The lava bubbling and rolling down the volcano.
The lava bubbling and rolling down the volcano.
Testing the watered down glaze with the dry ice.
Testing the watered down glaze with the dry ice.
Pieces of dry ice in the lava cup.
Pieces of dry ice in the lava cup.
Pouring in the glaze.
Pouring in the glaze.
Add more glaze as needed to keep the effect going.
Add more glaze as needed to keep the effect going.

Decorating the Cake

  1. You will need something to put the cake on. A sturdy piece of cardboard works great. The back of a poster picture frame is what was used for this cake. If you have a large tray, you can put the volcano in it. This may be better if you need to transport the cake or if you are concerned about the lava flow.
  2. Cover the cardboard or whatever you are using. Butcher paper or brown wrapping paper will look the best. Tape it down on the back side to keep it from sliding and messing up the cake.
  3. Spread aluminum foil under the bottom layer leaving excess on the sides. This will act as a barrier or moat for the lava to keep it from making a mess everywhere.
  4. Gently remove the cakes from the pans and stack the layers on the board.
  5. Find a tall, narrow cup to use for the lava. I recommend using a plastic cup since there will be dry ice in it. If you use a glass for the lava, there is a small chance that the dry ice could freeze the glass making it more susceptible to shattering.
  6. Cut a hole in the middle of the cakes big enough for the lava cup to fit in.
  7. Ice in between the layers of the cake to make the cake secure and to hold the layers together.
  8. Use a knife to shave off the cake to form the mountain shape. Round the edges and trim off excess. You can use the bits of the cake from the hole you cut earlier to fill in any gaps.
  9. Make sure you put your lava cup into the cake before you start adding the icing to the outside.
  10. Heat the chocolate icing in the microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute stirring halfway through. You want the icing warm enough that it can be poured onto the cake like a liquid.
  11. Carefully pour the icing over the cake. Icing the outside of cake this way will make it look even more like a volcano with ridges of hardened lava. It will probably take 2-3 containers of icing to cover the volcano. You can drizzle it into the lava cup a bit just to cover the edge and disguise it.
  12. Sprinkle bits of the toffee and/or peanut butter chips around the volcano to look like dirt and rocks.
  13. Add any other decoration. Palm tree cupcake pics or other luau-themed cake decorations look great. You can also use paper umbrellas or plastic dinosaurs. You can make your own edible palm trees with toothpicks and dried kiwi slices.
  14. Roll up the excess aluminum foil close to the base of the cake. This will help catch the lava as it flows down the mountain.
  15. You can use cocoa powder or crumbled cookie bits to look like dirt. You can pour them around the base of the volcano to cover up the aluminum foil. They will also absorb the lava some as it flows down. If you have any of the cake left from the cup hole, you can crumble it to cover the aluminum foil and to look like dirt.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Lava can reach temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,250 degrees Celsius). Now that is hot.

Eruption!

Adding the Effects

  1. It is best to test the lava before you try it in the cake. You can just use a small amount in a short cup. Put the cup in a bowl to catch any that flows over the edge.
  2. You will need to water down the glaze to make it the right consistency to flow down the cake. If you don't water it down any, it will bubble in the cup when the dry ice is added, but it won't roll down the sides very much because it will be too thick.
  3. In a bowl, mix equal parts water with the glaze. Stir them well. Test a bit in the small cup. Heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add in a piece of dry ice. If it bubbles over and flows easily, then it is the right consistency. If it doesn't, mix in a bit more water till it does flow well. You may also need to heat it more. The warmer it is, the more effective the dry ice will be.
  4. When it is time to present the cake, heat the glaze in the microwave till it is warm to the touch.
  5. Put several pieces of dry ice into the lava cup. Use tongs or wear gloves to touch the dry ice. Don't use your bare hands. Dry ice is safe to use, but it can give you a frostbite-like burn if you touch it directly. Check out this article for dry ice safety.
  6. Carefully pour the lava into the cup until it is brimming over the edge. It should instantly start smoking and bubbling as soon as it touches the dry ice.
  7. The lava will bubble and smoke for several minutes. If you want to keep the effect going, add more lava and pieces of dry ice as necessary.
  8. The lava will flow down the mountain, but it won't be a huge flood unless you pour way too much into the cup. If you are worried, have towels handy to quickly catch any excess. You can put the cake into a large pan or tray to catch any lava flows if you want to.
  9. When you are done admiring the active volcano, start cutting and serving the cake to your impressed guests. Spoon some "lava" over the cake pieces to make the cake even more moist and delicious.

Another Volcano Cake Method

That's smoking!

The smoke and ash from large volcanic eruptions can form clouds that cover the entire planet. The ash cloud can even reduce global temperatures 5 degrees or more for several years.

Volcano Cake Alternative Methods

  • The layers of the cake don't have to be the same cake flavor. You can use different types of cake. You can use two kinds or even three. Chocolate cakes or red velvet cakes are suggested mainly because they match the volcano coloring, but feel from to choose your favorite cake type.
  • You can make a smaller volcano. The 3 full cakes is a recommended for the optimal volcano appearance. But you can use just 2 boxes of cake mix or even use just one cake and cut it to form the volcano.
  • If you are looking for an easier method to form the volcano, you can use a bundt cake or even an angel food cake. The cup for the lava will fit inside the hole in the cake without having to do much of any cutting and shaping (check out the video to the right to see how it would work). I would suggest making one flat cake and one bundt cake. The bundt cake (or angel food cake) can sit on top of the flat cake to give the volcano a bit more breadth.
  • The molten step of this volcano cake recipe can be left out if you prefer. Just eliminate the steps where you poke holes in the cake and pour in the condensed milk. This just makes the cake more moist and gooey like lava.
  • You could leave off the special effects (dry ice and bubbling lava) and just make a molten cake. The condensed milk will make the cake "melt in your mouth" moist. You can add strawberry glaze or chocolate syrup or even caramel syrup to the top for even more of a molten taste. There are also several recipes to make molten cakes that actually have a gooey chocolate center.
  • You can substitute a red colored Jello that hasn't congealed for the strawberry glaze (again see the video to the right). It won't be as flavorful, though. The steps to mix the Jello and to water down the glaze are about the same, so one isn't really easier than the other. It is an option for anyone who can't or doesn't want use glaze.
  • If you don't want to deal with lava flows, you can skip the lava altogether and just use dry ice for a smoking effect. You will still need the cup in the middle of the cake. Just add a few pieces of dry ice into it and pour in warm water to make the smoking effect.

Volcano Poll

How hot will your volcano cake be?

See results

Let your comments erupt.

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    • greenmind profile image

      FCM 2 years ago from USA

      Wow this looks delicious! This is a really cool hub and a great topic. Smart advice and I learned a lot. Thanks for this excellent hub!

    • cocopreme profile image
      Author

      Candace Bacon 3 years ago from Far, far away

      SamitaJassi - Thank you!

      Elena and Shraddha - Thanks! Good luck on your project. Hope it turned out well.

    • profile image

      Elena and Shraddha 3 years ago

      Thanks for the awesome recipe! We will definately use this for our S&E project (Thanks for the A+)! The facts and tips are really helpful. Congats on HOTD.

    • SamitaJassi profile image

      Samita Sharma 4 years ago from Chandigarh

      Very cute! I like it hub and video. Thanks for sharing. Good thing I stopped by on your hub and got these great idea. :D

    • cocopreme profile image
      Author

      Candace Bacon 4 years ago from Far, far away

      Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it.

      gfcampbell - Hope your nephew's birthday was amazing!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An amazing hub filled with wonderful videos, detailed instructions and handy step-by-step photos! Your volcano cake looked incredible! Belated congrats on the hub of the day! Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & pinned

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      I think that it is cool on how you can make this cake. Interesting. Voted up.

    • profile image

      gfcampbell 4 years ago

      Awesome!!!! My newphen's birthday is Sunday. He will be 30 and totally surprised. Awesome! Awesom! Awesome

    • cocopreme profile image
      Author

      Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

      Robie Benve - Thanks so much! I'm glad your kids loved it. Maybe they will get a chance to try it one day.

      Purple Perl - Thank you! It was tons of fun to make.

      Lemon - Thanks!

      Trish303 - Hope your boys get a chance to eat it. Thank you!

    • Trish303 profile image

      Brenda 5 years ago from Springfield, MO

      My boys would love this. Grate hub thanks.

    • profile image

      Lemon 5 years ago

      I follow recipes. I think it is quite beautiful. also interesting.

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 5 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Best fun cake recipe ever! Will bake this!

      Great pictures and step by step instructions, thanks! Congrats too!Vote up!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      I watched you video with my children and they are both asking for the volcano cake for their birthday now! What a fun cake!

      Great job and a well deserved hub of the day!

    • cocopreme profile image
      Author

      Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

      @ Simone Smith - Wow! Thanks so much for the praise. It looks so much cooler in person. You should definitely make it!

      @ Thelma Alberts - Thanks you! My husband and I worked hard on this one. (That's him in the video).

      @ ktrapp - Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! The eruption is my favorite part. And the cake tastes very good, especially with the "lava" on it.

      @ randomcreative - Thanks! I filled up my camera's memory card on this one!

      @ rosika - The effects look more difficult than they really are. Dry ice is amazing stuff. Thanks for the fabulous comparison to tv chefs!

      @ pstraubie48 - I'm sure kids would love this cake. My nieces and nephew saw this and were thrilled. It would make learning about volcanoes much more interactive and exciting. Thanks!

      @ subscribing - Thank you!

      @ Radikum - I guess it is the tops when they are combined then! Thanks!

      @ RTalloni - This is for sure a fun party cake. Thank you!

      @ Hui (?) - Thanks!

      @ dreamer18 - Glad to introduce you to it. Thanks!

      @ DreamerMeg - Thanks so much! Check your grocery store for dry ice. A lot of them carry it year round.

      @ Riverfish24 - Thank you!

      @ denisemai - Thanks!

      @ livingpah2004 - Thank you!

      @ QudsiaP1 - Spectacular parties are my specialty. Thank so much!

      @ zsobig - Thank you!

      @ DzyMsLizzy - Thank you very much! I hope you get a chance to make it. It is a fun cake to watch (and eat!).

      @ mary615 - It was a bit of work, but it was worth it! Thank you!

      @ rebeccamealey - It would be great for a lot of different things. It is a surprisingly versatile cake. Thanks!

      @ WryLilt - That's a good idea and I wish I could. Since it is a video hub, the video has to be at the top. I have discovered that I can change the video thumbnail, though. Thanks!

      @ gramarye - Thanks! Those buttons get playful sometimes.

      @ HawaiiHeart - Dry ice is awesome stuff. It is great to eat, but watching it is better. Have you seen real volcanoes?

      @ TrahnTheMan - It is crowd pleaser for kids. And the adults love it to. Thank you!

      @ prasetio30 - Thank you and thanks for sharing it!

    • cocopreme profile image
      Author

      Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

      I am so honored to have had this hub chosen for the contest and for HOTD! Thank you everyone! That's so exciting!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I had never seen like this before. I'll share with student. Thanks for share with us. Voted up!

    • TrahnTheMan profile image

      TrahnTheMan 5 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      There's a lot of love in this recipe and I KNOW about a zillion kids who are going to be in awe of this cake at the next birthday party! Thanks for sharing!

    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I like the idea of the dry ice. This would definitely be a super cool cake for a party. It would be so much fun to both make it and eat it!

    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 5 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Great hub - I'd share it on facebook if I could find the share button!

    • WryLilt profile image

      Susannah Birch 5 years ago from Toowoomba, Australia

      Can I suggest creating a "Made For Pinterest" image with a photo and the title of the hub - placing it at the top right of the hub. You'll probably get lots of pins on this one!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Wow! What a cool cake. This is about the coolest thing I have seen in awhile. It would be good for so many events from Halloween parties to science class projects!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      My goodness! I am speechless. You really took a lot of time and effort to complete this volcano cake. Good Job. I voted it UP, etc. and shared.

      Congrats on HOTD.. you deserve it!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      WOW!! What an awesome and creative idea! Great instructions and video as well. Congratulations on a well-deserved Hub of the Day!

      I'm definitely saving this recipe, as well as passing it along to my daughter.

      Voted up, awesome, interesting, funny and shared here and of FB!

    • zsobig profile image

      Sophie 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great, very detailed hub, thanks for sharing this!

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 5 years ago

      Cocopreme, I am SOOOO going to show up to your party when you throw the next one because I know it will be an absolute blast! :P

    • livingpah2004 profile image

      Milli 5 years ago from USA

      So cool! Congratulation on HOTD!

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      Whoa. That's awesome!

    • Riverfish24 profile image

      Riverfish24 5 years ago from United States

      fabolous hub! Congrats..

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Wow! Just how creative can you be? This is an absolutely fantastic idea. I think I am going to have to try this out. Now, can I buy dry ice round here?

    • dreamer18 profile image

      dreamer18 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Never heard this kind of cake. Voted up!

      Congratulations on Hub of he day!

    • Hui (蕙) profile image

      Hui (蕙) 5 years ago

      A lot stuff, and the hub is nice!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Very cool recipe. :)

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day for a fun party cake!

    • Radikum profile image

      Radikum 5 years ago from Maryland

      that's cool! I like volcanoes but I love cake!

    • subscribing profile image

      subscribing 5 years ago

      Hey! Congratulations on your Hub!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is quite a cake!! Kids would love it if one were brought into the classroom. The instructions are clear and seem easy to follow. Thank you for sharing your special cake with us. Congratulations on hub of the day, too.

    • rosika profile image

      rosika 5 years ago

      This is more than just amazing....I was so amazed watching it done by chefs in TV, but I can't believe that you were able to make it at home...Thanks for sharing! I will definitely try it!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Wow, what an impressive recipe! Thanks for all of the details photos, video, and instructions. This was definitely deserving of a recipe contest prize. Congrats!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      What an amazing colossal volcano cake! You didn't miss a detail and not only does it look fun to make and watch erupt, but I bet it tastes pretty good too. I spent so much time entranced by watching the video when you posted this yesterday that I ran out of time to comment. So I'm thrilled to see that it won a weekly recipe contest prize --very, very deserving!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      AWESOME! The video, the photos, everything. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!!!!!!!!!!!AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats for your win;-)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      There are no words that can adequately express the awesomeness of this recipe. The Video with such detailed instructions, the tips, the photos, the fun facts.... I just... I'm speechless.

      AND I TOTALLY WANT TO MAKE THIS!!!!