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
  • Directions:

    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.