This cake reminds me of what the Doctor said: "We're in Pompeii - and its Volcano Day!" I wanted to make a special cake which i've had an idea of for a while now since it was my geologist friend's birthday. I had taken a slightly too long nap on thursday... ended up sleeping 1800-0300... So what better things to do would there be than making a cake base and decorations at 0400? Nothing, i say. Although i'm not sure if my neighbours would agree...

There are quite a few steps to making this cake, but i think it's still a quite easy one to make. You don't really need much special equipment. Everything can be improvised, just like i did.


The Volcano:

Cocoa cake base:

- 4 eggs

- as much sugar as eggs

- 1 1/2  tbsp dark cocoa powder

- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

- wheat flour

- potato flour

The combined amount of cocoa, wheat and potato flour should be the amount of the eggs. I used about 50% wheat and 50% potato flour, but you could have all wheat flour or about 75%.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celcius. Grease up and bread crumb a medium sized round cake mold and the turnside of a ring mold.

Whip together the eggs and sugar in a bowl until when you lift the whiskers you can see the pattern of the falling batter stay for a few seconds on the surface of it. Mix together the dry ingredients and sieve them in the batter while folding the mixture in carefully but thoroughly. Divide the batter into the molds. Don't fill the turnside of the ring mold too full so that the batter won't swell too much while baking so it would fall over the edges.

Bake for about half an hour depending on your oven. Keep checking once in a while since the molds are different size and shape and therefore the bases can take different times to bake. Once the bases are done let them cool for a bit before trying to remove the bases from the molds. The ring mold can be a bit tricky, but running a knife around the edge of the mold may help getting the base out of there in one piece.


Pätkis filling:

- 3 dl whipping cream

- 200 g unflavoured cream cheese

- 1 bag of Pätkis ( or other slightly minty chocolate sweets)

This recipe makes too much filling for this small...ish cake really, but you can always eat the rest as dessert ; ) I originally got it from Kotileipuri Lilli (in finnish).

Whip the cream and mix the cream cheese in it. Melt the Pätkis in a small saucepan on low heat until it's an even mass. Mix it in the cream and cheese mixture well. You can use gelatine to make this filling harder or cleaner to cut into, but it was already good enough for my purposes so i didn't bother.


Cut the bases in three layers. I made a cut on the side of the round one to know which way the layers should be stacked so the cake will stay even. Take the top layer of the round base and cut the edges off it to make it into a rounded island shape. Now you can try how your cake will stack up.

Line the turnside of the ring mold with some plastic wrap and place the top bit of the volcano base upside down in there. Place the bottom layer of the round base on your serving plate and put some strips of baking paper on the sides to prevent from messing up the plate.

Moisturise the bases and remember to do this every time you stack another layer on top. I used about 1 dl of milk with 1 tsp rum flavour in it. Spread a layer of the filling on the bases and put another layer of the cake on top. Next in the round base only spread as large area of the filling as big as your third layer island is and stack it on top. On top of the island spread as large area of the filling as the volcano base is.

When you've filled your volcano, put a plate or some other flat item on top of it and turn them upside down. Now you can remove the mold. It's easy since you have the plastic wrap as protection. Lift the volcano on top of the island carefully and then take off the plastic wrap when you've pressed it properly in place. Spread some sugar cream (recipe found in here) on top of the whole cake to even the surface out. I had only a little leftover from my previous cake so i only put a small layer and didn't bother to make more of it.


Crush some digestive bisquits in a plastic zipper bag with a rolling pin. I used 3 large biquits. This will be your sand. Sprinkle it around the island base.

Roll some gray marzipan flat into a somewhat of a rectangle shape and carefully place it around your volcano. Wet the seam in the back with some water to glue it together and fold the edges in the top of the volcano in slightly. You can gently press some crevasses in the marzipan with a blunt tool to make it look more realistic. Wet the bottom edge of the marzipan and sprinkle some more bisquit crumbs on it or brush up some from the existing sand if you put enough in the first place.

The lava:

- 1/2 dl jelly sugar

- 1/2 dl water

- orange or red and yellow food color

- 1/2 dl quarck or cream

Heat up the water and jelly sugar in a saucepan and let it boil for half a minute. Add the food coloring and the quarck or cream. I as a geologist wanted to make the lava more grainy so i used quarck since i knew how it would act in the hot liquid. However if you want to make the lava more smooth you can use cream for this purpose. The point is to use something that makes the lava non-transparent. After adding the quarck or cream you might have to heat the mixture again slightly to get it more runny. Pour it down the sides and on top of the volcano.


The stormy sea:

- 2 dl whipping cream

- 1 tbsp vanilla cream powder

- blue food color

I wanted to make the sea kind of stormy and also to try the 2 color piping for the first time so i did. My sea turned out to be slightly too stormy for my liking which would have probably been fixed by having less of the white cream or even smaller hole in the tip of the white piping bag.

Whip the cream while adding the vanilla cream powder little by little. The powder gives the cream a little taste and makes it sort of thicker and easier to pipe (tip originally from Kinuskikissa (in finnish)). Take about 1/3 of the whipped cream and put it in one piping bag. Dye the rest of the cream blue and put it in another bag. Cut holes in the tips of the bags. Make sure the hole in the white bag is smaller than in the blue one, sice we want to have just some white foam on top of the waves, not a snowy sea. Put both of the bags in another piping bag with a piping tip and cover the base of the cake with the pattern of your choice. I should practise piping more since i'm not very good at it.


The palm trees:

I wanted to make the island a little tropical so i made these palm trees from some leftover marzipan i had around (at about 5 am, that was interesting). Dye some of the marzipan brown with some cocoa powder and roll them into tree trunks. I made a little pattern to the trunks by rolling them on a brush.

Roll the green marzipan flat and cut leaves out of it. I used a snowflake cookie cutter and cut the flake in 6 parts.  Cut a pattern on the edges of the leaves to make them look more like palm leaves. Take 3 of the leaves, put them upside down and glue them together with some water. Glue also the trunk in the middle and place the trees to dry upside down in an empty egg cell lined with plastic wrap.

When it was time to put the trees on the cake, close the egg cell and carefully turn it upside down. Now you have your trees the right way around. Push a little hole in the island with some tool and stick the trees in.


For additional decoration i put a Finnish flag and a flag stating "I declare this island property of Mari", so the birthday girl could say she's had her own island.


Here's ther finished cake:


Tulivuorikakku - Tulivuorisaari