Earthquake Cake

This earthquake cake is a decadent and moist chocolate cake made even better with layers of coconut, crunchy pecans, and a sweet and tangy cream cheese mixture. Earthquake cake is also known as German chocolate upside-down cake and hurricane cake.

slice of earthquake cake on a plate in front of the cake in a baking dish.

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Chocolate Earthquake Cake

Earthquake cake is named this way because it’s a fun cake that looks like an earthquake. As the cake cools, the top starts to crack open and cave in where the cheesecake filling is.

However, despite how it looks, this cake tastes delicious because it combines chocolate cake and a wonderful cream cheese filling. So, don’t despair; grab a fork and get ready to enjoy an earthquake!

You don’t need to frost earthquake cake because the cream cheese mixture turns into a layer of frosting inside the cake.

Why You Must Try This Earthquake Cake Recipe

If you are a chocolate lover and you are also into making cakes, then any recipe that includes chocolate and cream cheese is one you must try. You will love this cake because it’s quick and easy to put together and so outrageously moist, gooey, and flavorful. It will rock your world just like a real earthquake! 

If you love chocolate cake, why have a plain one when you could have an earthquake and a chocolate taste explosion? This earthquake cake will send pleasing shockwaves right to your tastebuds!

This earthquake cake from cake mix is supposed to look like a mess, so you don’t have to worry about baking a perfect cake. You could even pretend to be a poor cake maker and watch people’s faces light up when they take their first bite!

Earthquake cake feeds a crowd, which means it’s perfect for potlucks, birthday parties, and other special occasions. Chocolate earthquake cake with cream cheese is impossible to say no to. It is sure to be a favorite of all chocolate cake recipes.

Earthquake Cake Recipe – Ingredients You Will Need

Who doesn’t love a delicious homemade chocolate cake? This chocolate earthquake cake recipe combines a German chocolate cake mix and a luscious cream cheese filling that tastes just like cheesecake. Here’s a list of ingredients:

  • German Chocolate cake mix
  • Cream cheese
  • Butter or margarine
  • Powdered sugar
  • Pecans
  • Flaked coconut
  • Vanilla extract
earthquake cake ingredients on a tray.

How to Make Earthquake Cake With Cream Cheese

This earthquake cake from cake mix couldn’t be easier to put together:

  1. Spread the coconut and pecans over the bottom of the baking dish.
coconut flakes and pecans in a baking dish.
  1. Pour the cake mix batter over the coconut-pecan mixture.
German chocolate cake batter in a baking dish.
  1. Cream together the remaining ingredients with a mixer and dollop scoops of the mixture on top of the cake batter. 
earthquake cake before baking.
  1. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350°F.
  2. Let the cake cool.
  3. Slice and serve.

Note: The cake is done when it doesn’t wobble in the pan if you shake it. The toothpick test doesn’t work well because this cake should be gooey.

Tip: For nuttier-tasting coconut, toast it for a few minutes before use.

earthquake cake slice on a plate.

Earthquake Cake Variations

Instead of German chocolate cake, you could make the cake with other flavors using vanilla, lemon, devils food cake, or strawberry cake mix. Here are some other ideas:

  • Love peanut butter? Substitute peanut butter instead of regular butter to make the cream cheese mixture. Top the cake with peanut butter chips or crushed peanut butter cups.
  • If you are not fond of pecans, other nuts work too – walnuts, almonds, cashews, and macadamias.
  • Allergic to nuts? Use mini-chocolate chips instead. However, don’t add them before baking as they will sink and turn the cream cheese mixture brown. Sprinkle them on top right after the cake comes out of the oven.

What to Serve With Earthquake Cake

A slice of this divine cake is perfect with your favorite coffee or a glass of milk. You can also serve it as a dessert topped with whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, French vanilla ice cream, or even chocolate ice cream.

How to Store Leftover Earthquake Cake

Anything with cream cheese should not be left out on the counter for long. Store any leftover cake in the fridge for up to 5 days. A great way to keep your cake fresh is by sticking a piece of wax paper against the exposed parts before placing it in an air-tight container.

Allow to reach room temperature before serving or give it a quick 10-second zap in the microwave if you like your earthquake cake warm and gooey.

You can also freeze this earthquake cake. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and it will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months.

overhead view of earthquake cake in a baking dish and a slice on a plate.

Love Cake? Try These Recipes

Check out more of my easy cake recipes and the best dessert recipes on CopyKat!

slice of earthquake cake on a plate in front of the cake in a baking dish.

Earthquake Cake

When this comes out of the oven, it looks like an earthquake has happened – a chocolate quake!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake Mix Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Earthquake Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 271kcal


  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix prepared according to package directions (but not baked)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter or margarine softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease the bottom of 9×13-inch pan. Do not grease the sides.
  • Mix the coconut and pecans and spread the mixture in the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour the prepared cake mix over the coconut and pecans.
  • Cream together the remaining ingredients and spoon the mixture in dollops over the cake batter.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.


The cake gets its name from its appearance after baking.


Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1.1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Caroline

    5 stars
    This cake is to die for and so very easy and fun to make. Have made this several times and it’s gone in a flash !!

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