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Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake)

If German Chocolate Cake is your thing but you don’t have time to make the coconut pecan frosting from scratch, this is the recipe for you! This luscious Earthquake Cake oozes with flavor. It’s loaded with coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips, and it bubbles over with an extra-special addition: cream cheese filling!

What is an Earthquake Cake?

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

I’ve been seeing recipes for earthquake cake for several months now. I first stumbled across it on the Collard Valley Cooks YouTube channel. (If you haven’t watched her, you should! She makes everything so fun!)

I’ve been crazy about German Chocolate cake for as long as I can remember. It’s one cake I would always ask my mom to make for my birthday. I’m nuts about nuts, as I’ve mentioned in many other posts.

I’ve got a great recipe for German Chocolate Cake with Homemade Coconut Pecan Frosting (my Mama’s recipe) and I’ve also got a terrific recipe for German Chocolate Bars. That should tell you how much I love this flavor combination!

Today’s recipe is a mashup of those two recipes but it’s got an incredible surprise. The cream cheese filling causes an earthquake effect, creating luscious pockets of goodness in the cake as it bakes.

And best of all, there’s no need to make my coconut pecan frosting. This Upside-Down German Chocolate Cake gives you all of the flavors you love in one easy dish.

No doubt you’re ready to dive right in. (I don’t blame you!) So, let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need.

Earthquake Cake Ingredients

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’re going to need to make this delectable cake.

FOR THE CAKE:

  • box of German chocolate cake mix
  • water
  • vegetable oil (or melted butter)
  • large eggs
  • vanilla extract

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • coconut flakes
  • chopped pecans
  • chocolate chips

FOR THE FILLING

  • butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract

That’s it! Simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry or fridge right now!

How to Make this Amazing German Chocolate Earthquake Cake

This is an easy cake recipe that looks like you spent hours slaving in the kitchen. I whipped up mine in no time. You will, too.

Make your cake batter:

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Start by mixing your cake batter according to the package directions in a large bowl. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and water and stir well. You can use an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment but I chose to mix mine by hand with a whisk. (Note: There’s no need to use room temp eggs for this recipe.)

It’s time to make your cream cheese filling.

Place your cream cheese and butter into a medium bowl and place in the microwave for a minute or until the butter is melted. Stir well and add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. You can opt for the hand mixer here but I was in the mood for a workout so I mixed my cream cheese filling by hand.

Now let’s build that cake!

I loaned out my 9 x 13-inch pan so I was stuck with an 8 x 12. I knew this would mean my cake would need extra time to bake but planned for that. You might need to adjust your baking time if you use a 9 x 13 inch pan (recommended).

Prepare the baking dish with nonstick spray.

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add a cup of coconut to the bottom of the pan. (I wanted the coconut to go in first so that it would get crispy. Toasted coconut is a favorite of mine.)

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add a cup of chopped pecans. You’ll notice I didn’t finely chop them. I like chunky pecans.

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add a cup of chocolate chips. You can use any kind you like. I happened to have mini semi-sweet chips but you could easily use the regular larger size. You might even opt for milk chocolate chips since the German Chocolate cake has a milder flavor.

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Pour cake batter over the other ingredients.

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Now it’s time to add dollops of cream cheese filling. Place them around the top of the cake.

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Use a knife to marble the gooey cream cheese mixture. This step is key!

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes (a full hour) or until cake pulls away from the edges and is done in the center. (Baking times will vary based on your pan size. If you’re using a 9 x 13-inch pan you’ll want to start checking it at the 50-minute mark.

Place cake pan on wire rack to cool.

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Though this is an upside-down cake there’s no need to flip it out of the pan. Just slice and serve directly from the dish (warm or cooled).

What to Expect from this Earthquake Cake

There was a big buildup to this one for me. I’ve (literally) waited weeks, if not months, to make it. I’ve been so busy with books and other baking projects that there simply wasn’t time.

Y’all, this was worth the wait. Truly. It’s everything I love about German Chocolate Cake in one simple dish. (Where has this recipe been all my life? Seriously!) The process reminded me a bit of a dump cake, but the cream cheese filling set it apart. And it definitely satisfied the chocolate lover in me!

First of all, check out the top of the cake. Mountains. Valleys. Variation of colors. It’s truly perfection! Talk about a fun cake to serve your guests! They’ll be wowed before you ever cut into it.

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

Oh, but you’ll want to cut into it! I took a slice while it was still warm and it did not disappoint!

The cake part is light and fluffy. (I was surprised by how light it felt.) The cream cheese mixture is still ooey-gooey and the bits on bottom? The coconut, pecans, and chocolate? It offers loads of crunch!

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

This cake (literally) gives you every texture in each bite. Perfection!

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake) from Out of the Box Baking.com

(Hint: If you really want to send this over the top serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Talk about a delicious dessert!)

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

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Variations on this Earthquake Cake Recipe

I’ve given this a lot of thought. If you can “earthquake” a German chocolate cake, couldn’t you do the same to any boxed mix? I mean, seriously! Think of the possibilities. Here are a few I’d like to try:

Italian Cream Cake: Use pecans and coconut on bottom, my Italian Cream Cake recipe for the batter (basically white cake with pudding mix added, as well as coconut and pecans) and the cream cheese mixture marbled on top. (This sounds amazing to me!)

Pineapple Coconut Cake: Use coconut and pineapple on bottom, as well as a big of brown sugar. Pour batter (white cake with the addition of crush pineapple and coconut) on top. Marble cream cheese mixture into the cake.

Texas Sheet Cake: Using a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, add chopped pecans and chocolate chips on bottom, Devil’s Food cake batter (or my Texas Sheet Cake batter) and add the cream cheese marbling on top.

Brown Butter Walnut Cake: Add walnuts and coconut to the bottom of the dish. Use my recipe for Brown butter walnut cake (for the batter) then marble in the cream cheese filling. (Yum!)

I’m sure there a zillion other options out there. If you think of any, leave a comment at the bottom of the post!

Other Chocolate Favorites

If you love chocolate I’ve got a ton of other recipes you might find interesting. Here are a few of my favorites:

That’s it for this post, friends! Let me know your thoughts about this yummy earthquake cake! I really enjoyed this new recipe. Talk about an easy dessert!

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake)

Earthquake Cake (German Chocolate Upside Down Cake)

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

If German Chocolate Cake is your thing but you don't have time to make the coconut pecan frosting from scratch, this is the recipe for you! This luscious Earthquake Cake oozes with flavor. It's loaded with coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips and it bubbles over with an extra-special addition: cream cheese filling!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
  • 3 large eggs
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • FOR THE FILLING
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • That's it! Simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry or fridge right now!

Instructions

    How to Make this Amazing German Chocolate Earthquake Cake
    This is an easy cake recipe that looks like you spent hours slaving in the kitchen. I whipped up mine in no time. You will, too.
    Make your cake batter:
    Start by mixing your cake batter according to the package directions in a large bowl. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and water and stir well. You can use an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment but I chose to mix mine by hand with a whisk.
    It's time to make your cream cheese filling.
    Place your cream cheese and butter into a medium bowl and place in the microwave for a minute or until the butter is melted. Stir well and add the powdered sugar. You can opt for the hand mixer here but I was in the mood for a workout so I mixed my cream cheese filling by hand. Stir in the vanilla extract and mix well.

    Now it's build that cake!
    I loaned out my 9 x 13-inch pan so I was stuck with an 8 x 12. I knew this would mean my cake would need extra time to bake but planned for that. You might need to adjust your baking time if you use a 9 x 13 (recommended).
    Prepare the baking dish with nonstick spray.
    Add a cup of coconut to the bottom of the pan. (I wanted coconut to go in first so that it would get crispy. Toasted coconut is a favorite of mine.)
    Add a cup of chopped pecans. You'll notice I didn't finely chop them. I like chunky pecans.
    Add a cup of chocolate chips. You can use any kind you like. I happened to have mini semi-sweet chips but you could easily use the regular larger size. You might even opt for milk chocolate chips since the German Chocolate cake has a milder flavor.
    Pour cake batter over the other ingredients.
    Now it's time to add dollops of cream cheese filling. Place them around the top of the cake.
    Use a knife to marble the cream cheese mixture. This step is key!
    Place in preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes (a full hour) or until cake pulls away from the edges and is done in the center. (Baking times will vary based on your pan size. If you're using a 9 x 13-inch pan you'll want to start checking it at the 50-minute mark.
    Place cake pan on wire rack to cool.
    Though this is an upside-down cake there's no need to flip it out of the pan. Just slice and serve directly from the dish (warm or cooled).

Dianne

Monday 5th of September 2022

Great idea for the cake, seems easier than an original German Chocolate Cake. I'm curious as to when you cut into the cake why you didn't serve it right side up so that the coconut and everything is on the top?

booksbyjanice

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I got the recipe from a YouTube channel that I follow and I just served it the way the lady on the video did. I'm sure you could flip it but the stuff on bottom might not release easily. It's worth a try!

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