This earthquake cake is a chocolate cake loaded with coconut, pecans, cream cheese and chocolate chips. A super gooey and delicious cake that ALWAYS gets rave reviews!

Looking for something a little different to serve at your next gathering? This chocolate earthquake cake is filled to the brim with goodies and starts with a cake mix which means it’s super easy to make. Serve this cake alongside other sweet treats such as cheesecake stuffed strawberries and crock pot candy for a dazzling dessert display.

A pan of earthquake cake topped with dollops of cream cheese and chocolate chips.

Let me first start by saying that this earthquake cake is not the prettiest cake out there – but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in flavor! This is one fabulous cake loaded with pretty much everything you can imagine – chocolate, pecans, coconut AND cream cheese. It also happens to be super easy to make!

Earthquake Cake ingredients

You will need pecans, coconut flakes, chocolate cake mix, oil, eggs, water, butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and chocolate chips to make this cake.

How do you make earthquake cake?

Start by placing shredded coconut and chopped pecans at the bottom of a cake pan. Next, prepare your chocolate cake batter according to the package directions, and pour the cake mixture over the coconut and pecans. Beat the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Place dollops of the cream cheese mixture all over the top of the cake, then add a sprinkle of chocolate chips. Bake until the cake is set. Let the cake cool, then cut it into squares and enjoy!

Coconut and pecans layered into a cake pan.

Tips for the perfect cake

  • Make sure your 9″x13″ baking dish is at least 2 inches deep, preferably deeper. If your pan isn’t as deep, try a larger pan or put your pan on a baking sheet before you place it in the oven in case of any overflow of batter.
  • Your cake will have lots of cracks and tunnels and pockets full of delicious flavor. If the look of the craters bothers you, you can always sprinkle some more chocolate chips into the gaps after it comes out of the oven, they’ll melt from the heat of the warm cake and be totally delicious.
  • This cake can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • I recommend using a chocolate fudge cake mix, but a standard chocolate, German chocolate cake mix, or devil’s food cake will also work well.
Chocolate cake batter in a baking dish.

Recipe FAQs

Why is it called earthquake cake?

They call this cake an earthquake cake because it looks like there’s been an earthquake when you pull it out of the oven!

Can you freeze earthquake cake?

You can freeze earthquake cake for up to 2 months. You can wrap the entire cake in foil, or cut it into slices and cover the individual pieces in either foil or plastic wrap.

Chocolate cake batter topped with dollops of sweetened cream cheese and chocolate chips.

Flavor Variations

This cake is fabulous as-is, but there are many different ways to customize the flavors to your tastes!

  • Chocolate: Instead of semisweet chocolate chips, try using a different type of chip such as milk chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch or peanut butter.
  • Nuts: No pecans on hand? Almonds, walnuts or peanuts are also great choices.
  • Add-Ins: You can add other ingredients such as chopped candy bars, peanut butter cups, maraschino cherries, a drizzle of caramel sauce, a dash of vanilla extract or even mini marshmallows.
An overhead shot of chocolate cream cheese cake.

This earthquake cake feeds a crowd, which means it’s perfect for potlucks, birthday parties and other special occasions. No one will ever guess that this cake starts with a box of mix, they’ll think you made the whole thing from scratch!

A slice of earthquake cake on a plate.

If you love chocolate, this earthquake cake is an absolute must try. For an extra special treat, try adding a drizzle of chocolate frosting or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. My family requests it constantly, and I’m always happy to oblige!

More decadent desserts

Earthquake Cake Video

4.94 from 47 votes

Earthquake Cake

AuthorSara Welch
Earthquake cake is a gooey delight loaded with chocolate, pecans and coconut.
This earthquake cake is a chocolate cake loaded with coconut, pecans, cream cheese and chocolate chips. A super gooey and delicious cake that ALWAYS gets rave reviews!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 12


  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
  • eggs, oil and water according to cake mix package
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray.
  • Place the pecans and coconut in an even layer in the bottom of the pan.
  • Prepare the cake mix according to package directions and pour the cake batter over the coconut and pecans.
  • Place the cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer until smooth. Add the butter and beat until combined. 
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture and beat on low speed until smooth.
  • Place dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the cake batter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cake.
  • Bake the cake for 40 minutes or until the cake has set.
  • Cool, cut into squares and serve.


  1. Recipe adapted from South Your Mouth.
  2. Make sure your 9″x13″ pan is at least 2 inches deep, preferably deeper. If your pan isn’t as deep, try a larger pan or put your pan on a baking sheet before you place it in the oven in case of any overflow of batter.


Calories: 550kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 2.9mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hello:
    My earthquake cake came out great. I was
    wondering how long can you keep it in the frig for
    before it’s no good?
    Thank You

  2. I’m wondering if you think this cake could work using Tofutti sour cream. I have a lactose intolerant guest coming.

    1. Do you mean cream cheese? I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure if it would work, but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work.

  3. After reading all the comments regarding how the chocolate chips and cream cheese sank to the bottom, I let my cake bake for 14 minutes before topping it with the cream cheese blobs and chips. By that time the cake had firmed up a little in the baking process. It came out amazingly cracked with the right elements at the top.

  4. Made this and the cake cooked over the top of the dollops of cream cheese mixture and didn’t crack open like your picture. So I said nothing and served it after I dusted it with powdered sugar and everyone liked it. But I wanted it to look like yours! Wonder what happened?

  5. Oh my this looks like an amazing chocolate dessert! The look of craters wouldn’t bother me, it’s all about the taste and well it looks quite tasty 🙂 I think the whole family here would have it gone (not sure it would make it to a potluck haha!)

  6. Could store bought cream cheese frosting be used instead ?
    Moving soon and have a potluck tonight. Trying to use up ingredients I have at home.

      1. I have this in the oven as we speak. Love the cream cheese mix, it’s delicious. What else or anything at all could it be used for since I didn’t use it all and have some left over?

  7. 4 stars
    I break up graham crackers In the bottom of the pan for a base and use half the amount of cream cheese and butter. Comes out great.

  8. I will definitely be using a do it yourself homemade cake mix for this recipe. I do not like the store bought box cake mixes. I found a homemade do it yourself
    Chocolate cake mix over the frugal home website
    So I can use that instead.

  9. Heading to the grocery store now. Have everything but the coconut, can hardly wait to taste it. This will probably be my family reunion cake this year,They’re gonna love it.

  10. 4 stars
    While this cake is definitely delicious, mine looked nothing like the picture of yours! All of my cream cheese mixture sunk to the bottom. My cake looked like a plain ol chocolate cake. After refrigerating it, there was a solid cream cheese layer on the bottom.

  11. I baked my cake according to your directions, but the center was still jiggly and the surrounding edges were set (almost to the point of a little crispy)
    Is this normal?
    I have to bring it to a party so I haven’t tried it
    I hope it’s okay 🤷🏻‍♀️

    1. It should be somewhat gooey, but not liquidy or raw in the middle. To test for doneness, you can insert a toothpick into the center. If the batter comes out liquid and clinging to the toothpick, it needs more time. If the toothpick is clean or just has a few crumbs on it, it’s done. You can always cover the top with foil to prevent over browning. I hope it came out ok for you!

    1. It can stay out at room temperature for probably 3-4 hours, after that I’d refrigerate it because of the cream cheese.

  12. I’m allergic to coconut so I’m wondering if it would work to either do graham or choc cookies on bottom?

  13. I just made this tonight and it turned out nothing like the picture! It looked like yours when I put it in the oven but when I took it out the cream cheese mixture and chocolate chips had all sunk to the bottom! The cream cheese mixture was very runny and formed a layer on the bottom of the cake! I don’t know what I did wrong! ☹️😩

  14. 5 stars
    OMG….I made this tonight as part of Sunday night dinner and it was AMAZING! This will definitely be my go-to dessert for family dinners, holidays, or potlucks. Next time I will experiment with using half semi-sweet chocolate morsels and peanut butter morsels for a little twist. Words cannot describe how wonderful this dessert is. It’s especially nice when it’s still a little warm. Good stuff. Don’t just talk or think about making it. DO IT!