An Earthquake Cake to Remember

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

- An Irish Blessing

.  Not one part of me wants to write this post.  I don't want to think about the structures of my sentences or which words to use that best describe my thoughts.  I don't want to edit the simple pictures taken of a decadent dessert from a recipe given to me by a dear man I had the fortunate chance of meeting, if only for a short while.  But I will, for Pat.

You may remember my first post regarding my Director, Pat.  He became suddenly ill one day and long story short, a tumor was discovered in his brain.  Since my first post regarding the incident, Pat was transferred to Texas to be closer to his relatives and was admitted to [I guess you would call] a rehab center.  To be honest, I don't know the details of what was exactly going on.  I do know that Pat seemed to be in better spirits for a limited time, but within the last month or so our department began getting updates that Pat's situation was anything but ideal.  

As you have most likely assumed, Pat passed away at the end of last week.  Yes, I've only known Pat for a short period of both of our lives, but there was just something about him that was so lovable.  Maybe it was his gentle nature, the slight quirkiness that everyone came to love, or the fact that Pat was just a plain ol' good guy.  Whatever it was, Pat was a chance meeting that will stick with me forever.

So what does this chocolate cakey looking thing have to do with Pat?  Well, it was very well known that Pat knew where to get some good eats no matter where you were.  And desserts were by no means excluded.  Well one day, I got a call at my desk at work from, that's right, Pat.  He went on to tell me that he was sitting in his room in Texas with his cousins, who were there visiting.  Over that previous weekend, Pat had been with some of his family and one of the relatives had brought a cake, a chocolate cake worth calling to tell me about.  Earthquake Cake, to be specific.  Pat told me to do some Googling for a recipe and this was a "damn good cake" he thought I would enjoy.  He even asked for my blog address [again] so he could share with his cousins.  So thoughtful ☺

Due to the [unexcused] reasons of life, I never did get around to making the Earthquake Cake.  I researched it once, I remember, to see exactly what Pat had been talking about.  Maybe subconsciously I shied away from the cake, I'm not quite sure.  But with the recent turn of events, I wanted to make this dessert in remembrance of Pat.  It's weird and sad how something so tragic brings about action, huh?

I should have known though.  This beyond random Earthquake Cake was simply amazing.  Not that I ever questioned Pat's judgment of good food, but I couldn't really find a wow-factor picture of the thing so [tsk, tsk] I had my doubts.  And shame on me.  Without bias, this cake really is one of my most favorite desserts I've made in quite a while.  So incredibly simple yet outrageously gooey, rich, and flavorful.

The bottom is a layer of pecans, coconut, and mini chocolate chips, which is then topped with a rich chocolate cake.  The kicker, however, is the swirl of a gooey, sweet cream cheese mixture that gives the dish a pudding cake consistency.  Oh, did Pat know his way around the food wonders of the world  .

My Notes:
  • Earthquake Cake gets its name from the cracks that form on the top of the cake after baking.  So don't worry when you see this happening, it's supposed to!
  • You'll notice that I did use a boxed mix in this recipe.  I usually do everything I can from scratch but I wanted to make exactly what Pat had enjoyed, and there wasn't one recipe I browsed through that didn't use a boxed mix.  However, if you're an avid from-scratch baker, feel free to substitute in your own devils food cake recipe.

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

1 c. sweetened flaked coconut
1 c. chopped pecans
2 c. mini chocolate chips
1 (18.25 oz.) box Super Moist Devil's Food Cake mix (and ingredients called for on package)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Heat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Place coconut, pecans and mini chocolate chips in bottom of pan and toss to combine.  Set aside.

2.  Prepare cake mix according to directions on package.  Set aside.

3.  Melt butter and cream cheese together in small bowl.  Mix in powdered sugar and then vanilla extract.

4.  Pour chocolate cake batter over the coconut, pecan, and chocolate layer and spread evenly.  Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cake batter.  Using a knife, run the handle through the batters to create a marbled effect (don't go all the way through to the coconut, pecan, and chocolate layer). 

5.  Bake 50 minutes or until almost set (toothpick will not come out clean). 

Yield: 20 large servings


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. It's sad to lose someone who has touched your life, big or little. I love that you made this cake to remember him by. It looks like an amazing cake! I'm pinning it because I will make it someday for sure, and I know I'll think of you and Pat. :)

  2. Sorry to hear about this. Tragedy, although numbing, does indeed inspire action. My coworker was pronounced dead last week at the hospital and somehow came back to life. It's something that jolts you awake and tells you that life is short and you must appreciate it. You're definitely appreciating it with this blog of yours. :)

  3. I'm so sorry to hear the loss of a good friend. This is a great way to remember him :)

  4. Hey Jess,

    I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend and a good man. I remember your first blog post about him because my dad passed away from a brain tumor and I was praying for your director to have a different experience. My thoughts are with you as you get through this time...

    and the cake really does look awesome. I'm going to have to pin this!

  5. So sorry to hear about your loss! Your cake looks delicious! I'll definitely have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  6. I'm so sorry for your loss, it sounds like he was a great person. And the fact you shared a love of food is so nice.

  7. I am so sorry to hear about this! He sounds like an incredible guy. :) I love that he called this a "damn good cake"! Ha ha! It looks absolutely amazing. You always have the best and yummiest treats . . . and the story behind this one makes it even more special. I am pinning it so I remember to make it! Thanks so much for linking up to Strut Your Stuff Saturday! We hope that you will join us tomorrow!
    Camille @

  8. Pat had good taste. Thanks for sharing this. It was easy to make and so delicious.

  9. Congrats! You were featured on this last week's Themed Baker's Sunday. Please come back this week where the theme is cookies!
    Cupcake Apothecary

  10. Tried this Friday & it was completely gone by Sunday!! Made one last night for my bf to take to a meeting at work today. So simple to make & so good!!!!


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