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Earthquake Cake

A close up of a piece of chocolate cake on a plate
With toasted coconut, crunchy pecans and tunnels of creamy filling, this Earthquake Cake sends a shockwave right to your tastebuds.
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Table of Contents
  1. EARTHQUAKE CAKE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS EARTHQUAKE CAKE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This Earthquake Cake is gooey, chocolatey, and full of tasty surprises with every bite. From the big dollops of cream cheese to the crunchy pecans and coconut flakes layered in with chocolate cake mix, this fabulous cake takes you by surprise—in a good way!

If you are a lover of all things chocolate, you need to try our decadent desserts including our Chocolate Lasagna and this Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, which is a moist chocolate cake recipe, with a unique ingredient.

A piece of cake and ice cream on a plate, with Chocolate and Cup

EARTHQUAKE CAKE INGREDIENTS

A piece of cake on a plate, with Chocolate and Earthquake

You’ll need:

  • 1½ cups of flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1½ cups of chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 1⅛ cups water (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2¾ cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CAKE MIX: This is where you could play around and have some fun with your earthquake cake. German chocolate flavor, devils food cake or classic chocolate cake mixes work well, or you could change up flavors to make this into anything you like. I have seen vanilla earthquake cake, all the way to pumpkin earthquake cake. The possibilities are truly endless.

CHOCOLATE CHIPS: White Chocolate chips would add another tasty element to this delicious cake.

WATER: For an extra twist, try using coffee in place of water.

NUTS: If you have an allergy or don’t like nuts, they can be left out of this recipe without substituting anything else. If you want to replace the nuts with extra chocolate chips, that is also a great option.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS EARTHQUAKE CAKE RECIPE

STEP ONE: The coconut can be added as is, or you can toast it. If you prefer toasted coconut, toast coconut in a skillet on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often, or broil in the oven. This should only take 2 to 3 minutes; until slightly browned.

STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil. Mix on low until well combined. Set aside.

PRO TIP

Use our measurements for the boxed cake add-ins rather than what is directed on the box.

STEP THREE: In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, melted butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Set aside.

PRO TIP

Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so to ensure you don’t end up with lumps in your mixture.

A plate of food and a cup of coffee, with Cake and Chocolate

STEP FOUR: Grease the bottom only of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Evenly spread the coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips on the bottom of the pan.

STEP FIVE: Pour cake mix over the top of the coconut pecans and chocolate chips; spread evenly.

STEP SIX: Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture all over the cake, then use a wooden skewer or butter knife to swirl into the cake mix.

A tray of food on a table, with Cake and Chocolate

STEP SEVEN: Bake at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes.

PRO TIP

Do not use the toothpick test to check this cake for doneness. If the cake jiggles only slightly in the middle, then it is done. The baking time will vary depending on your oven as well as the type of cake pan you used.

STEP EIGHT: Let the cake cool slightly before cutting. It will be gooey inside.

PRO TIP

Part of the charm of this cake is the way it comes out looking uneven and messy. Don’t aim for perfection for this divine cake.

HOW TO SERVE

Any chocolate lover will adore this fun cake. Add a scoop of whipped cream on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side to make this dessert extra decadent.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: This chocolate Earthquake Cake should be stored in the fridge in between servings. This will keep all of the ingredients, especially the cream cheese clumps, super fresh. Simply pop a piece into the microwave to get the gooey texture back if preferred.

IN THE FREEZER: Store this decadent cake in the freezer for up to a month.

A slice of chocolate cake on a plate, with Chocolate pudding and Fudge cake

Thanks to the rich flavors of the cream cheese filling, coconut, and pecans, no one would ever guess this gooey chocolate Earthquake Cake also uses a boxed cake mix. This is definitely one earthquake you’ll want to experience over and over again! The top of the Earthquake Cake cracks open during the baking process and tunnels of sweet cream cheese in the middle of the cake give it all the extra sweetness it needs, no further frosting is required!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze this cake?

You can freeze this cake in an airtight container for up to a month.

What is an earthquake cake?

Earthquake cake is a gooey cake filled with cream cheese pockets that cause the cake to shift and crack open during baking leaving the top looking uneven with hills and valleys of chocolate and full of cream cheese tunnels, hence the name.

Can I make the cake batter from scratch?

If you would prefer to use your own cake recipe, you certainly can. Just mix it up and then add the rest of the ingredients as listed.

Can I leave the nuts out of this recipe?

If you have an allergy or don’t like nuts, they can be left out of this recipe without substituting anything else. If you want to replace the nuts with extra chocolate chips, that is also a great option.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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A close up of a piece of chocolate cake on a plate

Earthquake Cake

5 from 2 votes
With toasted coconut, crunchy pecans and tunnels of creamy filling, this Earthquake Cake sends a shockwave right to your tastebuds.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

  • 1½ cups sweetened coconut flaked
  • 1½ cups pecans chopped
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 1 cups water (or 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 2¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • If desired, toast coconut in a skillet on stove top over low heat, stirring often or broil in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil. Mix on low until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, using a mixer, cream together the cream cheese, melted butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  • Grease the bottom only of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Evenly spread the coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips on the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour cake mix over the top; spread evenly.
  • Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture throughout the cake and use a skewer or butter knife to swirl slightly into the cake mix.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool slightly before cutting. It will be gooey inside.

Notes

TIP: Use our measurements for the boxed cake add-ins rather than what is directed on the box.
 
TIP: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so to ensure you don’t end up with lumps in your mixture.
 
TIP: Do not use the toothpick test to check this cake for doneness. If the cake jiggles only slightly in the middle, then it is done. The baking time will vary depending on your oven as well as the type of cake pan you used.
 
TIP: Part of the charm of this cake is the way it comes out looking uneven and messy. Don’t aim for perfection for this divine cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 709kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 474mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 564IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 3mg
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