It probably comes out of a place of deep Mommy guilt that all working mom's know so well -- for my kids' birthdays, I've gotten into a tradition of making epic birthday cakes. Check out how to make the Lego cake I did for my son's 7th birthday here.

My 3 year-old is going through a dinosaur phase, so we decided on making a volcano cake; presumably this is the scene right before all the dinosaurs die. If that doesn't say "Happy 3rd Birthday!" I don't know what does.

Because I have to overcomplicate everything, I thought making a real, smoking, smoldering volcano was the way to go. A few hours of Pinterest searching later, and this is what we came up with.


To make this cake, I baked one 10-inch round cake, then stacked three 8-inch rounds on top, and two more 6-inch rounds on top of that.


I used a stainless steel mixing bowl as a mold for the volcano's dome (and dry-ice receptacle), which was made from Rice Crispie treats -- making the top of the volcano secure and not too top-heavy.


The dome held a small glass for the dry ice that I molded the Rice Crispies around.


The cake was very heavy, so I assembled it and decorated it where it was going to be displayed, because this one would have been hard to transport otherwise. I used bamboo dowels to give the cakes more support.


The base is chocolate ganache with crumbled chocolate cake and graham crackers to look like the dirt and sand terrain my chocolate dinosaurs were grazing upon. Oh yeah, not only was the cake chocolate, filled with chocolate ganache, frosted with chocolate buttercream and wrapped in chocolate fondant -- but I also made little chocolate dinosaurs! PRO TIP: I used an old medicine syringe to get the chocolate into the *very* small molds. A spoon was making a big mess. Trust me on this!

I may have a slight problem with chocolate. 

I got the dry ice from Irish Carbonic & Propane, in case you wondered where to get dry ice in town. It was a huge hit with the kids (and adults!)