Earthquake Cake starts with a box of german chocolate cake mix, then add in coconut, chocolate chips, pecans, and a yummy cream cheese swirl!

earthquake cake on white plate

You don’t have to frost earthquake cake because the cream cheese mixture becomes a layer of frosting INSIDE the cake.

It cracks open after baking, resulting in the name – Earthquake cake! It’s one of the best cakes to serve for a party.

Another popular cake is Pig Pickin Cake, which starts with a box of cake mix too! For a big party make both of these cakes!

earthquake cake in 9x13 inch pan

Where did the name come from?

I’m not really sure how this cake got its name, but it’s rich with german chocolate flavor,  pecans, coconut, and the secret ingredient – a powdered sugar, cream cheese, and butter swirl layer.

It’s amazing and a lot of you agree with me based on your comments!

Ingredients

  • german Chocolate Cake Mix – the base of the cake
  • vegetable oil
  • large eggs
  • water
  • shredded coconut – use sweetened coconut flakes
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • chopped pecans
  • unsalted butter
  • cream cheese – use full-fat or 1/3 fat
  • powdered sugar

More recipes that use shredded coconut – Church Window Cookies, Cowboy Cookies and 7 Layer Bars.

2 photos of ingredients in 9x13 inch cake pan - chocolate chips and coconut and cake batter

Earthquake Cake Layers

Layer #1 (on the left) – chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut

Layer #2 (on the right) – german chocolate cake mix

Layer #3 – the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar goodness. Let’s not think about the calories.. they don’t exist :)

The swirl – Earthquake cake is all about that frosting swirl! The frosting bakes into the cake.

How To Assemble Earthquake Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle the coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Mix the german chocolate cake mix with the oil, eggs, and water using a spatula or hand mixer on low.
  5. Pour the cake mix on top of the coconut/chocolate chip/pecan layer.
  6. In a saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese.
  7. Using a spatula or hand mixer on low, beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar until it’s smooth to the butter/cream cheese.
  8. Spread this mixture on top of the uncooked german chocolate cake in the pan, and swirl into the cake mix using a knife.
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes. It is done when it doesn’t wobble in the pan if you shake it. The toothpick test shouldn’t work because the cake should be more gooey in nature.
  10. Enjoy! Store any left over cake in the fridge.
how to assemble and swirl earthquake cake

The very first time I baked this, I think I overcooked mine slightly.

The end result is suppose to be a bit more gooey and not completely cake-like, so be sure to watch your cooking time! But nevertheless this earthquake cake was phenomenal and was the talk of the night at our pot luck.

Time Required

  • 10 minutes to prep the cake
  • 35-45 minutes to bake

How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat

To store leftovers, cover the pan with a lid or plastic wrap or scoop the leftovers into an airtight container. Store in the fridge due to the cake containing cream cheese.

To freeze, bake the cake in a freezer safe container. Allow it to cool completely then wrap the pan well in plastic then again in foil. Label and place in the freezer. To thaw place in the fridge overnight.

earthquake cake

Pro Tips

The frosting layer is thick. I recommend using a cookie scoop to drop dollops of the mixture over the cake. Then use a spatula to swirl the frosting into the cake.

Don’t go over board with swirling. You don’t want to fully mix the 2 layers.

For a super beautiful swirl, transfer the frosting mixture to a piping bag and pipe swirls in and over the cake batter.

Recipe Variations

For peanut butter lovers, replace the butter in the frosting mixture with creamy peanut butter. That will give the whole frosting a delicious peanut butter flavor!

Omit the nuts. Not a fan? Skip them!

Add chocolate chips AFTER baking. The chocolate will melt into the cake while it cools.

earthquake cake in glass cake pan

Reviews

“Beth, Wow!!! I tried the Earthquake Cake – Simply Delicious and so easy to make. Had company and that was the dessert we had and everyone commented that it was AWESOME. Believe me it was and so glad to get your recipes as was so easy to make and simple ingredients.”

-Terri

“I made this for a poker tournament get together and it was a hit with everyone and myself. It’s not very often that I love the dessert I bake. I just made my second cake since Saturday. And the best thing is… It’s so easy to make..”

-Missie

More Cake Recipes

Earthquake Cake

4.19 from 446 ratings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Yield: 20 servings
Earthquake Cake starts with a box of german chocolate cake mix, then add in coconut, chocolate chips, pecans, and a yummy cream cheese swirl! You don’t have to frost this cake because the cream cheese mixture becomes a layer of frosting INSIDE the cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix, do not prepare as directed on box, prepare as directed below
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 & ⅓ cup water
  • cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 cup
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, 3 and 3/4 cups

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle the coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans on the bottom of the pan.
  • Mix the german chocolate cake mix with the oil, eggs, and water using a spatula or hand mixer on low.
  • Pour the cake mix on top of the coconut/chocolate chip/pecan layer.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese.
  • Using a spatula or hand mixer on low, beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar until it’s smooth to the butter/cream cheese.
  • Spread this mixture on top of the uncooked german chocolate cake in the pan, and swirl into the cake mix using a knife.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes. It is done when it doesn’t wobble in the pan if you shake it. The toothpick test shouldn’t work because the cake should be more gooey in nature.
  • Enjoy! Store any left over cake in the fridge.

Notes

Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Beth
Calories: 338kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 234mg, Potassium: 153mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 334IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 2mg
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