Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 45 mins

I got this from a SW cookbook some time ago. It gets its name because the cake is cracked with crevices on top when done. If you love German chocolate cake, but hate the time consuming process,,,this cake is wonderful!! It reminds me of my grandma's 3 layer German chocolate cake. It's too rich for just the two of us, so hubby looks forward to family gatherings and holidays or his birthday, smile. I love this because I love cream cheese and German chocolate and the fact that it is super easy!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 (18 ounce) German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 14 cups water (or as called for by the cake mix directions)
  • 3 eggs (or as called for by the cake mix directions)
  • 12 cup oil (or as called for by the cake mix directions)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 12 cup margarine, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. spray 9x13" pan with oil and set oven to 350°F.
  2. spread the coconut and pecan pieces evenly on the bottom of pan.
  3. prepare the cake mix according to directions on box, and pour over coconut and pecan pieces
  4. mix well together: margarine, cream cheese, vanilla and powered sugar.
  5. spoon over cake in dollops, no need to spread evenly.
  6. bake for approx 40-50 minutes.
  7. check with toothpick for doneness.
  8. cake will be cracked on top, but should be a moist cake.
Most Helpful

A friend of mine introduced me to earthquake take a long time ago and it's absolutely fab... Every party I've ever taken it to has RAVED about it. I use butter instead of margerine and I heat the butter and cream cheese in a small pan and whisk until smooth before adding the powdered sugar which is far easier... also makes it easier to pour onto the cake instead of trying to spoon in large globs... It basically makes a cream cheese frosting that's baked into the center of the cake.

Here's the thing though... I consider it more of a method than a recipe... you can literally use ANY boxed cake mix prepared to box instructions and any "fillers" you want. So far I've made the following variations:
Pina Colada Earthquake Cake: Coconut Cake with Dried Pineapple & Coconut Flake filler
Almond Joy Earthquake Cake: Devil's food Cake with Almond & Coconut filler
Symphony Bar Earthquake Cake: Devil's food Cake with Toffee Bits & Almond Filler
Butterfinger Earthquake Cake: Chocolate Cake with Crushed Butterfinger Filler

The possibilities are endless! :)

MindyP679 October 23, 2012

I've been making this recipe for years and love it. Now I have a new reason to give it 5 stars. It is almost impossible to screw up. Yesterday I made it and was out of oil and had to use melted butter in the cake mix. I forgot to put in the third egg. I had 7 ounces instead of 8 of cream cheese. And I only had 2 cups of powdered sugar. I also forgot to add the vanilla. Oh...and I was out of German chocolate cake mix and used regular chocolate. It was still delicious!

Jocosmom May 09, 2010

Everybody loved this cake! Loved that it doesn't need frosting. Thanks for posting! I forgot the stars!

Gingin7 April 08, 2013