Earthquake Cake

Earthquake Cake Tip Hero

It’s called an earthquake cake because of the ingredients shifting around during and after baking: the cream cheese mixture sinks into the cake, some of the pecans and coconut rise towards the top, and it’s an uneven and not very beautiful-looking cake. But don’t let that stop you, it’s gooey and chocolatey and delicious!

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Earthquake Cake


1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 box German chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup (4 oz) butter
2 cups powdered sugar (also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray.
2. Sprinkle the coconut in an even layer in the pan followed by the pecans.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake mix with the eggs, water and vegetable oil.
4. Pour the cake batter over pecans & coconut.
5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and cream cheese together, then transfer to a 4 cup measuring cup and whisk or beat in the powdered sugar with a hand mixer until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
6. Pour the cream cheese mixture in ribbons on top of the cake batter, then swirl with a knife.
7. Top with the chocolate chips.
8. Bake 45-55 minutes.

Chef’s Tips:

The toothpick test won’t work for this cake because of the gooey chocolate and cream cheese; the cake is done when you can gently shake the pan and the center of the cake no longer jiggles.