Ann Reardon

Working Erupting Volcano Cake


My quest today is to make a working volcano cake that erupts. I had a plan in my head of a set up that might make this work, watch the video to see how it turned out.

To make this erupting volcano cake you will need:


volcano eruption experiment how to
200mL (6.76 fluid ounces) syringe
empty soda bottle
dry ice
cake board
aluminum foil to cover the board

Vanilla Cake:

volcano cake youtube
Make the quantity below twice (if you have huge commercial mixer – then you can make it all at once. But if you’re like me with a normal sized mixer it won’t all fit in the bowl).
450g (15.87 ounces) or 2 3/4 cups plain or all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
620g (21.87 ounces) or 2 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
225g (7.94 ounces) or 1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
250g (8.82 ounces) or 7 egg whites or (you can use the egg yolks in ice-cream or chocolate cremeux)
340g (11.99 ounces) or 1 1/3 cups milk
30g (1.06 ounces) or 3 tablespoons of oil

Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until it resembles wet sand. In a seperate bowl whisk together the vanilla, egg whites, milk and oil. Then add 1/3 of this mixture in with the flour mixture and whisk until it forms a paste. Add the remaining milk mixture and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes.

erupting volcano cake ann reardon

Pour most of it into 2 x 8″ round cake tins, colour the remaining bit with orange or red food colour and drizzle over the top of the cake. Give it a slight swirl then bake at 180C (356 degrees Fahrenheit) until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Approx 40 minutes.

Make another batch in the same manner and bake one half in an 8″ cake tin and the other in a rounded oven-proof bowl.

Frosting & Decoration:

A double batch of vanilla buttercream
A double quantity of chocolate buttercream, I added a little black food coloring to make it a bit more dirt coloured.
1/3 of a packet of Plain biscuits like nice biscuits or graham crackers and green food coloring
working volcano cake howtocookthat

Caramel Lava

3 cups sugar
1 cup or 250mL (8.45 fluid ounces) water
40g (1.41 ounces) or 2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or tartaric acid
159g (5.61 ounces) or 2/3 cup cream
orange food coloring

Heat the sugar, glucose syrup, water and cream of tartar in a pan stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan using a wet pastry brush to get rid of any sugar crystals. Heat unstirred on high heat until it reaches 135C (275 degrees Fahrenheit) or makes semi firm strands when drizzled in water (see video).

Add the cream and stir until you have a homogenous mixture then again heat unstirred until it reaches 110C (230 degrees Fahrenheit) or has a thick consistency when dropped into a cup of water.

Pour into a heat proof dish, colour as desired (stir until just mixed in do not over-agitate or it may encourage crystallization) and leave to cool completely.

Tip: To clean you pan just fill to the brim with warm water and leave in the sink for several hours, the sugar will dissolve.

OR Ganache Lava

300g (10.58 ounces) white chocolate broken into squares
120mL (4.06 fluid ounces) or 1/2 cup cream, warmed in the microwave.
Heat the chocolate until it is melted.
Stir in the warmed cream.

Allow to cool to room temperature. If you put this in the fridge it will set too firm. If that happens just microwave a few spoonfuls of it and then mix it in with the rest.


See the video for detailed assembly instructions and demonstration.

erupting volcano experiment howtocookthat

Copyright © 2018 Reardon Media Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. How To Cook That

My Cookbook

ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
Stores that sell my book listed by country:
All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

45 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 5

    This is by far the best cake tutorial I have seen online. Loving how Ann busts out schematics/power drill/tubing/etc. like it is nothing, and then walks us through the results for various lava formulas with after-action reviews. This is part baking/part science class/part motorcycle repair tutorial and 100 percent awesome. Going to try this out with the ganache and then drop in a little shot glass with dry ice after the eruption. The 1998 website makes this even better. Long live unique people.

  2. Rating: 1

    who cares

    • thats not very nice ann reardon does alot for these cakes

    • Wow arrogant much. You obviously looked it up. Go back in your hole

  3. Rating: 5

    Love this ! What kind of color do you use for coloring ganache? Thanks

  4. Rating: 5

    How many people does this cake feed? I’m having around 50 people to my son’s Jurassic World themed birthday party. I want to make this cake but I’m wondering if this will be big enough to serve such a large group.

  5. Rating: 5

    Hi! Thanks much for this tutorial!! I made the cake for my sons 3rd birthday party. Im in South Africa and we dont have big syringes like that at all but got a reusable empty silicone tube. Hooked it up with an electric air pump and had a little hiccup where the tube was bent. I used condensed milk and food colouring for the lava and worked great!

    • Hi, I am also in SA. where did you get dry ice from?

      • found a supplier, thanks

  6. Rating: 5

    Hi, I was wondering where you purchased the syringe from, I’m in Perth WA but have no idea where to purchase one, thank you

    • Oh and the tubing ?

    • Rating: 5

      Hi Jennie, When looking for large syringes like this vet/pet supply stores have them as does ebay and some science shops.

  7. Rating: 5

    Hi, I was thinking of making this for a school project but I was wondering is there any way of making this cake a chocolate cake?

  8. Rating: 4

    Hi! I’m attempting to make this in a month and I’m excited but scared of failing as this is completely new for me. I’ve never used dry ice before, but I know they keep it in a special freezer… how early can I buy it for it to work? Does it last only a few hours? Your cake is amazing and you’re very pleasant to listen to!

    • G’day Ele, If you buy the dry ice and keep it in an insulated lunch bag, wrap the bag in a towel, then put that in an esky it can last 5 hours. It is slowly turning back from a solid to carbon dioxide gas (like what you breathe out). So the sooner you use it the more you’ll have.

      • Rating: 5

        Hi Ann, I did a little more research and I was surprised that a cooler is actually able to store it better than a freezer!! Sorry, other questions: would I have to break it into small pieces as soon as I buy it, or after a while? I’m just not sure how to handle it and my husband thinks I’m crazy using dry ice on an edible cake for kids. Also, how do you make sure the syringe gets into the tube at the bottom of the cake just pushing it down? I was thinking the only way would be pushing the tube all the way up to the top of the volcano, connect it to the syringe and then pull it down again, but you make it look so much easier! Last question, a 200ml syringe is about 7 inches tall. Would that be tall enough to go through all those cake layers? Thanks for your patience!!

        • Hi Ele, if you break it into smaller pieces it disappears faster, so if it comes as a block keep it like that until near the time you’re ready to use it. Yes. push the tube all the way up and connect it to the syringe. As long as the syringe is not bigger than the cake that is fine, just put the top of the syringe level with the top of the cake, or slightly lower so you can’t see it. Kids love dry ice, if you’re having party at home there are plenty of fun things you can do.

          • Rating: 4.5

            Thank you Ann! Will buy the syringe now and let you know how it goes 😉 thanks for answering!

          • ?

          • Rating: 5

            The cake came out nicely and it was a success. I didn’t use buttercream because I don’t like it but it was great. The only issue i had was…… the tube disconnected from the syringe so we didn’t have the lava explosion!! And I was so convinced I did something wrong and I didn’t even checked (I didn’t want to lift the syringe in front of all the people). So well…. I’ll try again because now I know it would have worked!!! And the kids loved it anyway 😉 thanks, Ann!

  9. Rating: 5

    How do I make dry ice without a fire extinguisher?

    • Hi Jeff, I purchased dry ice, in Australia a place called box gasses sells it by the kilo – remember to take a small esky. If not in Australia google where to get dry ice near you.?

  10. Rating: 5

    Second year in a row I went to your website for help with my sons cakes. People think I’m a genius but I owe it all to your tutorials!!! We ended up using strawberry jam and added a bit of yellow food coloring to make it a bit more orange for the lava. Thanks for making me look good!

    • Awesome, I am so glad you got it to work for you ?

  11. Rating: 4.5

    I made this for my daughter’s class when they were done learning about volcanos!! Thank you so much for posting this! I should have made the cake steeper so the chocolate ran down easier..

    • It Looks amazing Bryeanne. Well done! I hope the kids really enjoyed it!

  12. Rating: 4.5

    Can you send me some more detailed instructions on the lava?

    • Hi Lacy the details are given in the recipe above.

    • who cares

  13. Rating: 5

    I love that you show your failures as well as your success! So much fun!

  14. Rating: 5

    I’m hoping of trying this for my 3 (will be 4yr old) birthday in June!! Wish me luck!

  15. Rating: 5

    i’m very happy with your recipes. hope to try some of them soon. may i request for cakes or dessert recipes for diabetics? i’m a lover of sweets or desserts, yet i’m a diabetic. hope you can help me with my struggle. thanks…..

  16. Rating: 5

    U r simply amazing… U r – ” I M POSSIBLE.”

    I m very happy to meet u in my life span… So v.thankful to u-tube.

    Love Aditi.

    • Hi Aditi from Australia!

  17. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann,
    I’m subscribed but for some reason i’m not always receiving the email notifications, I do most of the time, but every once in a while, like this week i didn’t.
    A though on getting the eruption and the fog – put the dry ice in the plunger and then instead of hot water add hot ganache or hot caramel… no idea if this will work, but maybe worth a run 🙂

    • Hi Misha, Maybe check the settings on your email account to ensure that these emails are not ending up in your junk follder.

  18. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann can you please make a animal cake? Thanks ?

  19. Rating: 5

    Can you make a chocolate board game next week?

  20. Rating: 5

    This is SO fun!

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