Earthquake Cake – Spaceships and Laser Beams

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  6. One Pot Pasta Recipe

This Earthquake Cake is gooey, chocolatey, and full of tasty surprises with every bite. From the big dollops of cream cheese to the crunchy pecans and coconut flakes layered in with chocolate cake mix, this fabulous cake takes you by surprise—in a good way!

If you are a lover of all things chocolate, you need to try our decadent desserts including our Chocolate Lasagna and this Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, which is a moist chocolate cake recipe, with a unique ingredient.

A piece of cake and ice cream on a plate, with Chocolate and Cup


A piece of cake on a plate, with Chocolate and Earthquake

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cups of flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 ½ cups of chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 1 ⅛ cups water (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 ¾ cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


CAKE MIX: This is where you could play around and have some fun with your earthquake cake. German chocolate flavor, devils food cake or classic chocolate cake mixes work well, or you could change up flavors to make this into anything you like. I have seen vanilla earthquake cake, all the way to pumpkin earthquake cake. The possibilities are truly endless.

CHOCOLATE CHIPS: White Chocolate chips would add another tasty element to this delicious cake.

WATER: For an extra twist, try using coffee in place of water.


STEP ONE: The coconut can be added as is, or you can toast it. If you prefer toasted coconut, toast coconut in a skillet on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often, or broil in the oven. This should only take 2 to 3 minutes; until slightly browned.

STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil. Mix on low until well combined. Set aside.


Use our measurements for the boxed cake add-ins rather than what is directed on the box.

STEP THREE: In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, melted butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Set aside.


Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so to ensure you don’t end up with lumps in your mixture.

A plate of food and a cup of coffee, with Cake and Chocolate

STEP FOUR: Grease the bottom only of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Evenly spread the coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips on the bottom of the pan.

STEP FIVE: Pour cake mix over the top of the coconut pecans and chocolate chips; spread evenly.

STEP SIX: Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture all over the cake, then use a wooden skewer or butter knife to swirl into the cake mix.

A tray of food on a table, with Cake and Chocolate

STEP SEVEN: Bake at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes.


Do not use the toothpick test to check this cake for doneness. If the cake jiggles only slightly in the middle, then it is done. The baking time will vary depending on your oven as well as the type of cake pan you used.

STEP EIGHT: Let the cake cool slightly before cutting. It will be gooey inside.


Part of the charm of this cake is the way it comes out looking uneven and messy. Don’t aim for perfection for this divine cake.


Any chocolate lover will adore this fun cake. Add a scoop of whipped cream on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side to make this dessert extra decadent.


IN THE FRIDGE: This chocolate Earthquake Cake should be stored in the fridge in between servings. This will keep all of the ingredients, especially the cream cheese clumps, super fresh. Simply pop a piece into the microwave to get the gooey texture back if preferred.

IN THE FREEZER: Store this decadent cake in the freezer for up to a month.

A slice of chocolate cake on a plate, with Chocolate pudding and Fudge cake

Thanks to the rich flavors of the cream cheese filling, coconut, and pecans, no one would ever guess this gooey chocolate Earthquake Cake also uses a boxed cake mix. This is definitely one earthquake you’ll want to experience over and over again! The top of the Earthquake Cake cracks open during the baking process and tunnels of sweet cream cheese in the middle of the cake give it all the extra sweetness it needs, no further frosting is required!


Could I use fresh cherry tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes in this recipe?

You could substitute fresh tomatoes for canned in this easy pasta recipe but then you would need to add extra liquid to your pot to help cook the pasta.

How do I know when my pasta is al dente?

To test your pasta for al dente, take a bite of the pasta a minute or two before the package instructions indicate it should be done. When you bite into it, and your teeth feel some resistance, but the pasta is still tender, your pasta is al dente.

Can I freeze this dish?

This recipe is a great choice to freeze, either as a make-ahead dish or as leftovers. It will last in the freezer for up to 2 months stored in an airtight container.


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  • cups chicken stock
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 1 small onion sliced thin
  • 14.5 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes not drained
  • ½ cup fresh basil measured loosely in measuring cup whole and then roughly chopped (you can add more if you want)
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced thin
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup parmesan shredded
  • fresh basil for garnish
  • In a large skillet place the linguine, onion, tomatoes, basil, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

  • Drizzle all of it with the olive oil. Then add the seasonings of salt and pepper.

  • Pour the chicken stock over all of it.

  • Over high heat bring to a boil uncovered. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes until the pasta is done and liquid is reduced. Stir frequently to keep the pasta from sticking together using a spoon or tongs.

  • Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan. If you want a thicker sauce let it sit for about 5 minutes and it will thicken even more.

  • Garnish with chopped fresh basil if desired.

TIP: When choosing the skillet or pot for this recipe make sure that it’s wide enough for the length of your dry spaghetti or linguine. Any straight-sided skillet will work, but avoid deep skillets or stock pots because these can keep the liquid from evaporating and result in overcooked pasta.
TIP: As the pasta cooks, the liquid will reduce. You’ll know your pasta is done when it’s cooked through, the vegetables are tender, and the liquid has reduced. If you prefer more al dente pasta, stop your pot boiling closer to the 8-minute mark.
TIP: If you’re craving some tomato sauce with your noodles, pair this with our homemade pasta sauce on top.

Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 1216mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 517IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 248mg | Iron: 2mg

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