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This Chocolate Earthquake Cake is so good. It will melt in your mouth.  They call it earthquake cake because it will crack in the middle in some recipes.  This one does not crack because I do it a little different.  I can’t leave this cake alone when I make it because I love chocolate and this is a chocolate lovers dream.

1 cup nuts (I use walnuts. Pecans would be good, too)

1  1/2  cups coconut

1 regular chocolate cake mix or can use German chocolate cake mix

1 cup milk

1 stick butter or margarine or 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar

2 cups chocolate chips


Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Sprinkle the nuts on the bottom of the dish.  Layer the coconut on top of the nuts.  In a separate bowl prepare the cake mix according to package directions except use the 1 cup of milk in place of the water called for in the directions on the box.  Spread half the cake mixture over the coconut.  In a microwave safe glass bowl melt the butter and cream cheese. This takes about 2 minutes in my microwave.  Whisk the powdered sugar or mix with mixer into the cream cheese and melted butter.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the layer of cake mix in the baking dish. (You can drop it by spoon fulls if you want) Spread the other half of the cake mix on top of the cream cheese and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 40 to 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Chocolate Earthquake Cake

Note: You can make this cake with other cake mixes, too.  I like to divide the cake mix because I think it makes a much prettier cake. You can just put in all the cake mix and put the cream cheese mixture on top and bake. The photo below is of one of these cakes made with a spice cake mix and using butterscotch chips. Everything else is the same as the recipe above.

Spice Earthquake Cake

Don’t Forget to Pin our Chocolate Earthquake Cake!  chocolate-earthquake-cakeIf you like this recipe, you might also like my recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Cake.


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  1. Can you make this in a crock pot? How would you change the directions if you do?

    • The Southern Lady says:

      I’ve never had a lot of success making cakes in the crock pot, so I wouldn’t be one to ask. Sorry.

  2. Could you make individual cakes instead – using cupcake pan?

  3. On the amount of coconut os that 3/4 of a cup or 3 and 3/4 of a cup? Looks and sounds yummy.

  4. Cooked for 45 min and still pretty loose. Should it be firm?

    • The Southern Lady says:

      It should be done inside if you test it with something. I would try 10 or 15 more minutes but test to make sure you don’t burn it. Ovens do vary so could be the difference.

      • I did make this cake & it is delicious. But did have to bake it for an hour. The center took longer. I did follow the recipe as written & timing was the only issue. Thank you for all your recipes.

      • The Southern Lady says:

        Thank you Alice. So happy you enjoyed this cake. Ovens vary so a recipe can always take more or less time than a recipe calls for. Just always check centers of cakes to make sure.

  5. Leigh Johnson says:

    Are you able to make this delicious cake without nuts? Fearful for family members with nut allergies and hoping omitting them will not affect the cake in any way.

  6. I use this same recipe and call it a German Chocolate Upside Down Cake.

  7. what means chocalate mix??? can I use a plane normal chocalate?

  8. As good as this looks, and I know it is as I have made this for years. Try pouring the mixture over the batter, and not lightly. That is what gives it the “earthquake” appearance. Is still wonderful, and sinks to the bottom leaving “cracks” on the surface. I’ve never put the chips on it. Is a wonderful cake, and my husbands favorite.

  9. I’m making this now.. I doubled it .. making a huge cake, I used German chocolate cake and pecans.. I ran a little short on the powder sugar so hope it’s ok..

  10. can you make without coconut?

  11. Sue Summers says:

    Looks fantastic, will make it for the chocolate lovers in my family!!

  12. I make it all the time my family and friends love it but it is rich

  13. In the oven now for a Southern Bells birthday in my office tomorrow!

  14. Karen Kellett says:

    I have my 3rd Earthquake in the oven. It is our new favorite cake!!! I love your site & your recipes !!!!

  15. Made this today and it turned out just like the photo! Easy to put together and delicious, but very rich!

  16. 1/2 Cup of Boiling water and 1/2 Cup of Buttermilk instead of milk sure will keep this cake extra moist.

  17. Naomi Waldrop says:

    I have special guest this Friday, this is my dessert to serve them. Thanks!!!

  18. Michael Pennington says:

    Not a “Southern Lady”, but I have baked this cake, and it is great! I bring it into the office for the Ladies working for me, and they love it. Next time, I think that I will use carrot cake mix and white chocolate chips. Thanks for all of the great recipes!!!

    • The Southern Lady says:

      Thank you Michael. So happy you are enjoying this recipe. I always love to hear from the men on the site, too. I bet all the ladies love you!

  19. julia oquinn says:

    can’t put a 9by 13 pan in my oven its to small.

    • Use 2 pans, 8 x 8, and cook 5 minutes longer as the batter will be higher in the pans. Fingertip doneness.

  20. Lane Edwards says:

    I typically make a lot of things, particularly deserts, in single serving sizes. When you have out the cake batter and cream cheese mixture into a 9 X 13, approximately how deep is it. An inch, inch & half or what? Based on that I can determine my portioning into say 3″ cake pans. I know this is kind of an off the wall request and I hope you will indulge me. Thanks

  21. Thanks for all the great recipes…been busy just collecting all of them.

  22. Made this! A big hit!

  23. I made this cake today and it is good! I was wondering if it should be refrigerated because of having cream cheese in it?

  24. I just put a version in the oven with a white cake mix and chocolate chips! Hope it turns out good!

  25. I hope to make this soon, it looks so yummy !!

  26. Ken Barfield says:

    Has anyone tried it without nuts? My stepdaughter is allergic to them.

  27. Oh YUM! I will make this cake this weekend for work! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with all of us!

  28. are the nuts whole or ground up?

  29. carol mitchell says:

    Thanks cant wait to try

  30. I think I am going to enjoy this cake along with the people I serve it to.

  31. george rauth says:

    You southern ladies know how to do it

  32. What other cake mixes have you ladies tried?

  33. It looks so AWESOME… It makes my mouth water…

  34. Saizka Subero says:

    This just look divine!!! One question, what kind on coconut do you use. I life in a tropical country and we have all sorts. If it’s canned, which brand? Thank you love your recipes!

    • The Southern Lady says:

      Just about any kind would probably work but I just use the kind you buy in a package in the grocery store. Not the canned.

  35. Oh my honey will love that one!!! Looks decadent! Yum!!! 😀

  36. What about the icing?

  37. Karen from Ohio says:

    This sounds sooo good – except for the coconut part (not a big fan). Can that be omitted and would it change the baking time at all?

  38. I’m going into a blissful chocolate coma just thinking about this cake…..;) can’t wait to make it!

  39. This sounds wonderful. I want to try it with a white cake mix and white chocolate chips or a butterscotch cake mix with butterscotch chips.

    • the recipe was great i even added several layers of chocolate and caramel. now cN YOU TELL ME HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of the sock it to me cake and if so do you know the recipe. thanks southern lady

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