Monday, March 21, 2011

Hawaiian Volcano Birthday Cake

When my sister asked me to create an erupting volcano cake for my niece's birthday, I didn't even know where to start.  I ended up googling it, and using a dry ice method.  If you ever make a volcano cake, that is the way to go!  I made the cake a little more complicated because I used three different flavors of cake and tried my hand at making fondant.  You can make a much simpler version with one flavor of cake and using frosting for the whole thing.  The cake was a hit, and the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever!

The first step is to make the white texas sheet cake.  Here's your ingredient line-up:

Bring butter and water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Remove the saucepan from heat.  Add flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, almond extract, salt, and baking soda.  Stir until smooth.

Pour into a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

White Texas Sheet Cake 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup butter or margarine and water to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract, salt, and baking soda until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 10 x 15 x 1 inch baking pan.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 to 22 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and tests done. Cool for 20 minutes.
Source:, Diane Kester

The next step is to make the chocolate sheet cake.  Here is the ingredients needed:

In a large mixing bowl, combine two cups of flour, two cups of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Melt two sticks of butter in a saucepan.  After the butter is melted, add four heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. 

While the heat is still on, add one cup of boiling water to the chocolate mixture.  Allow it to bubble for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat.

Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir together slightly to cool the chocolate mixture.

In a separate bowl mix buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the chocolate mixture.

Here is what the batter should look like.

Pour into a foil-lined jelly roll pan and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

Source: Pioneer Woman Cooks

Here is the ingredients you will need for the triple chocolate cake.

In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, sour cream, pudding mix, and chocolate chips.  Beat until well combined, about two minutes.

Pour into two greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.  Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake
1 box Pillsbury Devils Food Cake Mix
4 large eggs
1/2 Cup canola oil
1/2 Cup water
8 oz sour cream
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 bag mini or regular chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer add the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, sour cream, pudding mix and chocolate chips.  Beat until well combined, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Will be thick.  Pour evenly into 2 well greased 9 inch cake pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center of cakes.  Let cool completely.

Source: Picky Palate, The Ultimate Chocolate Layered Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Birthday Cake

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting.  Here's what you will need for one batch.  I had to quadruple it for the cake.

In a stand mixer, beat 2 1/2 cups of butter on medium-high speed until smooth.

Sift 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. 

Add the powdered sugar to the butter mixture.  Beat on low speed until the sugar is moistened.

Add the vanilla and heavy cream.  Beat until incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about four minutes.

Easy Vanilla Buttercream
20 tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream  
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds.  Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.  Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.  

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from Cooks Illustrated, April 2007

After the cakes have cooled, cut each of the sheet cakes in half.  Place a chocolate half beside a vanilla half and slather on some frosting.  Place the chocolate half on top of the other chocolate, and do the same with the vanilla.

Frost the entire cake.  Then cut both of the nine inch cake in half horizontally.  Place one of the round layers on top of the chocolate and vanilla cake.

Continue to stack each of the cakes on top of each other with a layer of frosting in between for the volcano.  Then take a tall shot glass and push it down the middle of the volcano.

Carve the cake into a cone-like shape around the shot glass.

The next step is to make the marshmallow fondant.  Grease a microwavable bowl with shortening.

Add a 16 oz. bag of marshmallows to the bowl and two tablespoons of water.  Microwave for 60 seconds or until the marshmallows have melted.

While the marshmallows are in the microwave, grease the bowl of a stand mixer with shortening.

Add the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center, and then pour the marshmallow mixture into the well of the powdered sugar.

Mix on low speed until fully incorporated.  Add extra powdered sugar if fondant is too sticky.  Turn the fondant out onto plastic wrap, and let rest for 2-3 hours.  Food coloring can be added by kneading it into the dough.  Then shape or roll out the fondant to your liking.  At this point, I colored the fondant, rolled it out, and shaped it around the volcano.  Then I formed sea creatures for the ocean and beach on the cake.  I thought the fondant would be intimidating, but it is just like play-dough!

Marshmallow Fondant
Vegetable shortening, for greasing bowls
16 oz. bag plain marshmallows, regular sized (I used jumbo and they worked fine as well)
2 tbsp. water
1-2 tsp. clear flavoring (I used vanilla extract)
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar, divided
Pinch of salt
Using the shortening, grease a large microwave-safe bowl, the bowl of the stand mixer, a spoon/spatula (or two), and the dough hook.
Add the marshmallows and water to the prepared microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds.  Stir with the greased spatula/spoon.  If not all the marshmallows have melted, microwave for 30 more seconds.  Stir in the flavoring.
Reserve 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and add the rest to the bowl of the stand mixer, along with the salt. Create a well in the center.  Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and turn the mixer on to the lowest setting.  When the mixer sounds strained, turn the speed up one setting.  Turn off the mixer once all the sugar has been incorporated.  If the fondant is sticky, add the reserved sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it is no longer sticky.
Turn the fondant out onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Rub a bit of shortening on the outside of the ball.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap, place it in a Ziploc bag and let rest for at least 2-3 hours.  Keep the unused portions covered when not in use.  If the fondant becomes stiff, microwave for 20 seconds at a time until it becomes pliable.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from Confections of a Foodie Bride

I used Nilla wafers for the sand on the beach.

Place the whole package of cookies in a food processor until smooth.

Form the cookie crumbs around half of the cake.

The next step is to color frosting blue.  Make squiggles of frosting to look like the ocean.  Then add the fondant sea creatures.  I also added a little hawaiian girl.  I found a little doll and a hula outfit at Pat Catans.  My mom helped me alter the little outfit to fit the doll.

Then I added frosting to the volcano to make it look like hot lava pouring out.

I bought dry ice and we placed it in the shot glass.  Then I added hot water to make it smoke.

Happy 5th birthday, Peytie Katie!


  1. Okay this is the most impressive blog entry about food I've ever seen. You should go into business!

  2. Wow! Thank you! It was really fun making the cake.

  3. Thanks for going to all the work for Peytie Pie...the cake was a huge hit!

  4. Welcome! I would do anything for Petyie Pie!