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Pumpkin Earthquake Cake Recipe with a sweetened cream cheese ribbon running throughout is one of the best fall dessert recipes. It’s quick and easy starting with a cake mix then jazzed up with extras.

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slice of pumpkin cake

For an Autumn dessert with apples, try my Potluck Apple Cake.


The Earthquake Cake has been around a long time. I only remember having it as a chocolate cake when I was younger. It’s an easy cake that starts with a mix. Sweetened cream cheese is pretty much the icing for this cake. However, the cream cheese mixture is added before you bake the cake. It sinks down into the cake creating a bumpy and split top and thus giving the cake it’s name.

I like warm cake and I really love to eat the Pumpkin Earthquake Cake when it’s warm. It’s just heavenly!!

Pumpkin Earthquake Cake Recipe


  1. First, you want all the cold ingredients to be at room temperature.
  2. You don’t have to add coconut or pecans (step 1) or chocolate and cinnamon chips to the recipe. In my opinion, more is better.
  3. Ignore the directions on the back of the cake mix box. You’ll use the amounts and instructions I have below.
  4. For the cream cheese mixture, I find it much easier to mix with a mixer than by hand.
  5. Furthermore, I prefer using a knife to swirl the cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin cake better than using a toothpick. Also, I like to slightly swirl it where you still have distinct cream cheese ribbons. However, you can swirl as much or as little as you want.
  6. The center of the cake may jiggle after cooking the cake for 35 to 40 minutes but once it sets and begins to cool the cream cheese will set up as well.
  7. Finally, you will need to store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Earthquake Cake


  1. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Crumb Cake
  2. Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Churros
  3. Easy Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins
  4. Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
  5. Better Than Box Brownies
  6. Praline Glazed Pumpkin Pound Cake
Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Have you tried this recipe? Please consider leaving a 5-star rating and comment.

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary based on the products used.

Earthquake Cake
Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

This vintage classic recipe gets a fall update with pumpkin and warm fall spices.
Author: Paula
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
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  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut* optional, see note in instructions below
  • 1 cup pecans* chopped, optional
  • 15.25 ounce box white cake mix do not make using the instructions on the box
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup cinnamon chips or butterscotch chips


  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • ½ cup butter melted


  • *The first 2 ingredients, 1 cup shredded coconut and 1 cup pecans are optional. They go in the 9×13-inch pan first then the batter goes on top. You can omit them.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  • If you choose to use them, sprinkle the coconut and pecans evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cake mix, vegetable oil, water, pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, vanilla extract, and eggs together. Mix until well combined.
  • Pour batter over the coconut and pecans.
  • After you scrape the batter into your cake pan you can add the cream cheese, melted butter, and powdered sugar to the same mixing bowl that you just used. (No need to wash it.) Mix it until creamy.
  • Once combined, dollop spoonfuls of the mixture on top of the pumpkin cake batter. Using a knife or toothpick, swirl the cream cheese and pumpkin cake together. you can swirl as much or little as you like.
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips and cinnamon (or butterscotch) chips on top and swirl the chips in with the cake.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350°F. The cake should be set on top but the center will still jiggle slightly when the cake pan is tapped. That's fine it will continue to cook and set up. It'll also stiffen up as it cools.
  • Cool slightly before serving. The cream cheese needs time to cool, set, and stiffen a little. I love eating this cake warm but you can eat it cold or reheat it in the microwave.
  • Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh 5 to 7 days.


Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 2818IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!

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Your email address will not be published. Have you tried this recipe? Consider giving it 5 stars!