Each gooey bite of Earthquake Cake is loaded with coconut, pecans, cream cheese, and chocolate chips for a crowd-pleasing dessert!

9x13 casserole dish with baked earthquake cake with a serving taken out.

Pin this recipe now to save it for later

Decadent Earthquake Cake Recipe

If you love an easy dessert and have a hankering for chocolate, I’ve got plenty of options for you. Try Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake if you like some fruit with your chocolate or Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies for a convenient handheld treat. However, for ultimate decadence, there’s nothing better than an earthquake cake!

So, what exactly is earthquake cake?

Earthquake cake is a sticky, sweet chocolate cake that has a coconut and pecan crust and a cream cheese swirl. The sweetened cream cheese and chocolate chips marble into the chocolate cake batter, causing the cake to crack as it bakes. The result is a cake that looks like it has just been through an earthquake.

I use a boxed cake mix to make the batter for this easy earthquake cake, and the whole thing takes just 15 minutes to assemble. Serve earthquake cake while it’s still warm so the chocolate chips are nice and melty. Top the cake with some whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, or just enjoy it plain. Earthquake dump cake is flavorful enough all on its own!

close up image of a serving of earthquake cake sitting on a white round plate with a gold fork.

Ingredients for Earthquake Cake

To print: see recipe card below

ingredients to make earthquake cake.
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans – I like to buy pre-chopped pecans to save time. 
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box chocolate cake mix – Any brand of chocolate cake mix will work. However, I like Betty Crocker Super Moist chocolate fudge cake mix. 
  • 3 eggs – Or, consult my baker’s guide to egg substitutes.
  • 1/2 cup canola oil 
  • 1 1/4 cups milk – Whole milk works best for this recipe and helps make the cake dense and moist.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips – I use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but milk chocolate or dark chocolate will also work.
  • 8 ounces cream cheese – Use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Unwrap the block, place it on a microwave-safe plate, and heat it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften it quickly. 
  • 1/2 cup butter – I recommend unsalted butter for this recipe!
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  • Replace the canola oil with vegetable oil. Coconut oil also works well and enhances the coconut flavor of the cake. 
  • Try using white chocolate chips in place of regular chocolate chips. They look good inside the dark chocolate cake and have a mild, sweet taste. 
  • Replace the pecans with chopped peanuts or sliced almonds. Both kinds of nuts would be delicious in this cake. 
  • Unsweetened coconut will work in place of sweetened coconut.
  • Use a different flavored cake mix. German chocolate cake mix, devil’s food cake mix, vanilla cake mix, peanut butter cake mix, or strawberry cake mix all taste delicious.

Directions for How to Make Earthquake Cake

  1. Prepare: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Make the crust: Sprinkle the shredded coconut and chopped pecans in the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Prepare the cake mix batter: Whisk the cake mix, eggs, canola oil, milk, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Pour the cake batter over the crust, spreading it evenly inside the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on top.
  4. Make the swirl: Beat the cream cheese and butter together, then add the powdered sugar. Beat the mixture until fluffy. Drop dollops of the gooey cream cheese mixture onto the cake. Use a knife to gently swirl the cream cheese into the batter. 
  5. Bake the cake: Bake the cake for about 50 minutes. The center will spring back to the touch and the cake will pull away from the edges when done.
  6. Cool and serve: Let the cake cool completely. Then, slice a piece from the pan, and enjoy! 
close up image of a serving of earthquake cake sitting on a white round plate with a gold forkful of cake.

How to Store Earthquake Cake

Store leftover earthquake cake in the fridge for up to one week. Once cooled, wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap. Or, transfer pieces to an airtight container.

Reheat the cake in 20-second increments in the microwave, or enjoy it cold!

Quick Tip

Earthquake cake freezes well, too! Wrap the whole pan tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Or, let the cake thaw at room temperature for about three hours. You can also pop it back into the oven for about 15 minutes to make it warm and gooey again.

A baking dish full of earthquake cake with the corner slice missing.

Earthquake Cake

This gooey earthquake cake is loaded with coconut, pecans, cream cheese, and chocolate chips. It's always a winner!
5 from 2 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 9×13 baking dish
  • 2 Mixing bowls
  • 1 Hand mixer


  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 box (15.25 ounces) chocolate cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter or baking spray.
  • Sprinkle the shredded coconut and chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan, making an even layer.
    1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, ½ cup chopped pecans
  • Add the cake mix, eggs, canola oil, milk, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl and whisk into a smooth batter. Pour the cake batter into the baking pan on top of the coconut and pecans. Spread the cake batter evenly in the pan using a spatula or spoon.
    1 box (15.25 ounces) chocolate cake mix, 3 eggs, ½ cup canola oil, 1 ¼ cups milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake batter in the pan.
    ½ cup chocolate chips
  • In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl so everything is evenly incorporated.
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened, ½ cup butter, softened
  • Add the powdered sugar to the bowl with the cream cheese and beat again until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
    2 cups powdered sugar
  • Scoop tablespoon-sized dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the cake batter, spacing the cream cheese scoops evenly over the entire pan.
  • Use a knife to gently swirl the cream cheese and cake batter together. I like to run the knife through each dollop of cream cheese once, swirling it into the batter but not mixing too much. You don’t want to actually blend the cream cheese into the cake, just make it pretty and swirled!
  • Bake the cake for about 50 minutes. The center of the cake will spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake will come out cleanly (just be sure to put the toothpick into the pure cake and not into a cream cheese section which remains wet even after baking).
  • Let the earthquake cake cool for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve straight from the pan!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 356mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 593IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

Did you make this Earthquake Cake recipe? Let us know how it turned out with a rating and comment!

More Easy Cake Recipes

Categories: , ,

About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on Today.com, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. LeeFongYin says:

    Hello, thank you. I am very enjoy to know more.

  2. Any substitution ideas for the coconut?? No one is our family likes it.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.