Chocolate Earthquake Cake

A hot from the oven chocolate earthquake cake with a cream cheese swirl cooling in the cake tin on a white table.

Rich, creamy, and moist with a cream cheese swirl, no one will be able to resist a slice of Chocolate Earthquake Cake. This cake gets its unusual name from the fact that the cake cracks open after baking, looking like it’s been hit by an earthquake! It’s the perfect dessert to warm you up around a campfire.

Most cakes feature a layer of frosting on top, but this scrumptious dessert has the frosting baked right in. Butter, cream cheese, and confectioners sugar are melted together, then poured into the batter. The swirl of frosting in the center of the cake makes for a beautiful presentation.

Though the recipe is perfect as-is, you can try to mix up the flavors a bit for fun. Try white chocolate, butterscotch, or peanut butter chips instead of chocolate. Swap out the walnuts with pecans or hazelnuts. 

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A close up shot of sliced chocolate earthquake cake with a cream cheese swirl on top, removed from the tin.
Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
A cream cheese and butter mixture is swirled onto chocolate cake batter in a cake tin.
Carefully swirl the cream cheese-butter mixture on top of the cake batter.
A rectangular slice of chocolate earthquake cake with a cream cheese swirl placed on top of a white plate.
Enjoy a slice of cake while it is still warm!
A hot from the oven chocolate earthquake cake with a cream cheese swirl cooling in the cake tin on a white table.
Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Chocolate Earthquake Cake Recipe

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A hot from the oven chocolate earthquake cake with a cream cheese swirl cooling in the cake tin on a white table.
Rich, creamy, and moist with a cream cheese swirl, no one will be able to resist a slice of Chocolate Earthquake Cake.
Preparation 15 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Ready in 55 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
CourseSupper
InfluenceGlobal
DifficultySeasoned
MethodBake
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Ingredients

  • cooking spray for the pan
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or neutral-flavored oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar (icing sugar)

Equipment

  • 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake pan

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
  • Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake pan with cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle the coconut, chocolate chips, and walnuts on the bottom of the pan. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix the cake mix with the oil, eggs, and water until smooth. Pour the cake mix on top of the coconut layer. 
  • Melt the butter and cream cheese in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the confectioner's sugar and stir until smooth. Carefully swirl the butter mixture on top of the cake batter.
  • Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 939kcalCarbohydrates: 108gProtein: 10gFat: 56gSaturated Fat: 25gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 569mgPotassium: 404mgFiber: 4gSugar: 83gVitamin A: 835IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 142mgIron: 4mg

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Portrait Photo of Saffron Hodgson cooking on a Camp Stove with a campfire in the background

About Saffron Hodgson

Outdoor cooking has been Saffron’s passion since she was young, often choosing to go camping and cook hearty meals over fire rather than stay inside, watch TV, and eat take-out. Today she is the driving force of Bush Cooking bringing the skills of cooking outdoors to thousands of people.

Learn more about Saffron Hodgson
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