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Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake

Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake is a fun spin on classic carrot cake, starting with a cake mix. The cream cheese frosting is baked right into the cake!

Why You’ll Love Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake

  • Easy To Make! Earthquake cakes start with a cake mix, which makes it easier right from the beginning. What I love about earthquake cakes is that you can eat them warm since the frosting is baked right inside.
  • So Many Variations Are Possible! I have a few great Earthquake Cake recipes already here on my site: my Chocolate Earthquake Cake and my Pumpkin Earthquake Cake. Warm cake? Yes please!
  • A Great Alternative To Classic Carrot Cake. Not only is it easier, you don’t have to worry about making it pretty with icing because it’s baked inside. I love bringing this to friend’s houses or for holiday dinners because it is great to travel…no worrying about the cake falling over, or transporting it because you serve it right out of your 9×13 baking dish that it bakes in! 

What Is Earthquake Cake?

An earthquake cake is a cake recipe that cracks open after baking, revealing rich crevices of sweet cream cheese. Traditionally, it’s made with cake mix, shredded coconut, pecans, and a buttery, crackly cream cheese layer. The great thing about earthquake cakes are they are really adaptable, and you can get pretty creative, which brings us to today’s recipe for Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake!

ingredients for carrot cake earthquake cake

What You Need For This Earthquake Cake/Ingredients

Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!

  • Shredded sweetened coconut. You line the bottom of the pan with the coconut before adding the cake batter. It It bakes right into the cake like magic!
  • Cake Batter. Don’t prepare the cake mix as stated on the box, you will need a box of dry carrot cake mix, milk, vegetable oil, large sized eggs, and a can of drained pineapple.
  • White chocolate chips and chopped walnuts get layered on top of the cake batter. You could also use pecans.
  • The filling that bakes inside the cake and erupts out while baking is similar to a cream cheese frosting. It’s simply cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.

How To Make Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake/Instructions

This cake goes together super easy. The trick is the layers that magically bake together perfectly, and the swirl of cream cheese frosting that bakes inside the cake! It’s such a delicious and unique way to serve carrot cake.

  • Start by covering the bottom of your 9×13 baking pan with the sweetened flaked coconut. I know some of you will ask if you can skip this part because you don’t prefer coconut: yes, you can.
  • Next make the cake batter. Don’t use the recipe on the back of the box. You will make your own mix using the dry mix, vegetable oil, milk, a can of drained crushed pineapple, and eggs. Spread that on top of the coconut in the pan.
  • Mix up your cream cheese frosting and then pour that on top of the cake batter. Swirl it in using a butter knife as pictured.
  • Finally sprinkle the white chocolate chips and walnuts on top of the cream cheese
Baked earthquake cake in a 9x13 baking dish
  • Bake the for 45 minutes until the edges are set. The center will seem a little loose due to the cream cheese frosting. This is ok.
  • TIP: If your cake is browning too quickly, simply tent a piece of foil loosely over the top of the pan. This will allow it to bake evenly while slowing the browning.

Tips for Success:

This is a pretty difficult recipe to mess up, with very minimal prep time. But of course there are a few tips I can share that are good to note:

  • Don’t over-bake! Isn’t this the case with any dessert, really? The thing about earthquake cake is that it will be a little loose in the center when it’s done. The edges will be set and golden, but it will still jiggle a little. The gooey cream cheese swirled in will set up as it cools. Think of it like cheesecake, the center shouldn’t be all the way set when it’s time to take it out of the oven. You can insert a toothpick in about 2 inches away from the edge and it should come out clean.
  • Bake it Evenly! Depending on how your oven bakes you might want to rotate the pan halfway through baking. And if you notice the top is getting too brown before it’s done, simply tent a piece of aluminum foil over the pan to prevent the top from browning more. 
  • Enjoy Warm or Room Temperature: Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes and then serve for a gooey, warm experience, or allow it to cool completely for a proper cake slice.
  • Same Method, Tons of Flavor Options! No matter what flavor you make your earthquake cake: chocolate, vanilla, carrot cake, pumpkin…you can use the exact same method! 
slice of carrot cake on a a plate

Add-Ins & Variations:

The add-ins in this carrot cake version of earthquake cake really work well, but here are some ways to switch it up:

  • Not into nuts? Leave them out! 
  • Only have pecans? Swap those into the recipe instead of walnuts!
  • Don’t love white chocolate? No problem, just omit the addition of white chocolate chips.
  • Can’t find a box of carrot cake mix? You could use spice cake instead!
  • Toppings: Top this with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Maybe even a drizzle of caramel or a sprinkle of cinnamon!

How To Store Earthquake Cake:

Cover the pan airtight with a lid or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also store this in the refrigerator if you are concerned about the cream cheese for up to 5 days.

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Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake on a plate with whipped cream

Carrot Cake Earthquake Cake

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  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Dessert


This easy spin on the classic is like an inside-out carrot cake! 


  • 1 cup shredded sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 box (15.25 oz) carrot cake mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (8- ounce) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8– ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 4 cups powdered sugar


    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle coconut in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
    2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the dry cake mix, milk, oil, eggs, and drained pineapple on low for 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Alternately you can do this in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer.
    3. Pour the cake batter on top of the layer of coconut evenly in the pan and then sprinkle the white chocolate chips and walnuts on top. Set aside.
    4. Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly, melting the mixture together until smooth. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the powdered sugar until combined and creamy.
    5. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly on top of the cake batter. Using a knife, lightly swirl the cream cheese mixture into the batter.
    6. Bake the cake for 45 minutes. The edges will be set and the center will be slightly loose. If the top starts to brown too quickly, lightly tent the pan with foil.
    7. Allow the cake to cool for about 30 minutes and slice and serve for a gooey cake. You can also allow the cake to cool completely before serving.


Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days. or refrigerated for up to 5 days.

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