Earthquake Cake

Oh, my goodness, Earthquake Cake is such a delight. Chocolate lovers and Cheesecake lovers will love the combination of flavors in this “wreck” of a cake! Coconut and pecans are placed at the bottom of a baking dish. This is topped with German chocolate cake batter and then a cream cheese layer. While the cake bakes, all the ingredients perform a seismic shift and an “earthquake” occurs. All that yummy chocolate and cheesecake, along with coconut and pecans cracks as the cake bakes and cools so that craters, crevices and gorges form, much like Grand Canyon. It is amazing.

A couple of months ago we had a houseful of company for lunch after church one Sunday and one of the gals brought this fabulous cake. Decadent doesn’t even begin to describe this ooey, gooey affair with chocolate! It was so mouthwatering. I could have eaten gobs of this stuff, but restrained myself because I have such a dessert addiction anyway. Besides, I wanted to make sure everyone else got a piece. 🙂

Earthquake Cake is a quick and easy dessert that’s great to make for any kind of holiday party, birthday, special occasions like anniversaries or baby showers, and certainly anytime you’re having company! Everyone will rush for a piece of this luscious cake. Quite frankly, it doesn’t need any chocolate syrup poured over top, although I did that for the pictures. It has plenty of flavor, plenty of sugar, and plenty to satisfy any sweet tooth craving without adding chocolate syrup, ice cream or whipped cream. But if you just can’t help yourself–well have at it!

If you’re looking for a wonderful dessert to knock the socks off your family and friends, then Earthquake Cake is the dessert that will do it. It is so delicious everyone will want seconds and thirds. No kidding. So be generous and don’t hog the whole dessert for yourself. Allow everyone else to get a piece, too. Otherwise, you will be scrambling to make a second Earthquake Cake shortly thereafter!

This lovely cake was featured on Recipe Lion, on this post. You may also enjoy my Red Velvet Earthquake Cake!

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Earthquake Cake is sensational. No kidding.

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You can see the crack down the center of this piece of Earthquake Cake. The cake performs a seismic shift while baking and everything ends up moved and shifted in it’s place! 🙂

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Each bite of Earthquake Cake is so delectable. You will be wanting more than one slice!

 

Here’s what I did.

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I used these ingredients for  Earthquake Cake.

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Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking dish really well. This is really important if you don’t want the cake to stick. Layer pecans on the bottom of the dish. Top with coconut. Set aside.

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Follow the directions on the back of the German Chocolate cake mix and combine a German Chocolate cake mix, eggs, oil and water.

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Whisk ingredients to combine. Spread batter evenly over top of the coconut and pecans in baking dish.

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In a small saucepan, melt butter with cream cheese over low to medium heat.

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With a whisk, break up the cream cheese and continue stirring until cream cheese melts and becomes smooth.

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Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk in powdered sugar to combine well.

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Spread cream cheese layer over top of chocolate batter in baking dish. Smooth the top.

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Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick.

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Earthquake Cake will get rave reviews from your family and guests.

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Serve Earthquake Cake plain, with chocolate sauce, or with ice cream or whipped cream. Just serve it!

 

Here’s the recipe.

EARTHQUAKE CAKE

(Recipe adapted from Hannah Noice, Ovilla Road Baptist Church, Ovilla, TX)

Print Recipe
Earthquake Cake BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
This amazing cake is filled with a chocolate layer, a coconut and pecan layer and a cheesecake layer which undergo a seismic shift during baking causing crevices in the cake, and thus, Earthquake Cake. Great dessert for holiday baking and company.
Earthquake Cake| Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this #cake is outrageous. Amazing flavors and texture and starts with a #chocolatecakemix. #coconut #pecans #dessert #cheesecake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Earthquake Cake| Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this #cake is outrageous. Amazing flavors and texture and starts with a #chocolatecakemix. #coconut #pecans #dessert #cheesecake
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease and flour a 9x13” baking dish.
  3. Spread pecans and coconut in the bottom of the prepared dish.
  4. Mix cake mix according to package directions.
  5. Spread over top of pecans and coconut.
  6. Melt butter and cream cheese over low to medium heat in small saucepan.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Add powdered sugar and whisk to combine.
  9. Spread powdered sugar mixture over top of cake batter in baking dish.
  10. Smooth the top.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tests done.
  12. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
  13. Store covered tightly.
  14. After 2 days, store in refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: My cake mix required 3 eggs, 1/3 cup canola oil and 1 cup water to make cake according to package directions.

NOTE: Hannah said the original recipe called for 1 ½ cups coconut but that it totally overwhelmed the cake so she cut it back to ½ cup. I’ve increased the coconut to one cup for a happy medium.

NOTE: You can also add a bag of chocolate chips on the bottom of the dish with the coconut.

NOTE: Cover cake with foil after about 25 minutes to prevent cream cheese layer from browning too much.

NOTE: Drizzle each slice with chocolate syrup, if desired.

 

[b]Earthquake Cake[/b]
Recipe Type: Cakes and Cheesecakes
Cuisine: American
Author: Teresa Ambra adapted from Hannah Noice, Ovilla Road Baptist Church, Ovilla, TX
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
This amazing cake is filled with a chocolate layer, a coconut and pecan layer and a cheesecake layer which undergo a seismic shift during baking causing crevices in the cake, and thus, Earthquake Cake. Great dessert for holiday baking and company.
Ingredients
  • 1 [url href=”http://www.duncanhines.com/” target=”_blank” title=”duncan hines”]Duncan Hines[/url] German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
  • 8-oz. cream cheese
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease and flour a 9×13” baking dish.
  3. Spread pecans and coconut in the bottom of the prepared dish.
  4. Mix cake mix according to package directions.
  5. Spread over top of pecans and coconut.
  6. Melt butter and cream cheese over low to medium heat in small saucepan.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Add powdered sugar and whisk to combine.
  9. Spread powdered sugar mixture over top of cake batter in baking dish.
  10. Smooth the top.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tests done.
  12. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
  13. Store covered tightly.
  14. After 2 days, store in refrigerator.
Notes
My cake mix required 3 eggs, 1/3 cup canola oil and 1 cup water to make cake according to package directions.[br][br]Hannah said the original recipe called for 1 ½ cups coconut but that it totally overwhelmed the cake so she cut it back to ½ cup. I’ve increased the coconut to one cup for a happy medium.[br][br]You can also add chocolate chips on the bottom of the dish with the coconut.[br][br]Cover cake with foil after about 25 minutes to prevent cream cheese layer from browning too much.

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Serve Earthquake Cake at your next Tailgating party or potluck and you won’t come home with a single piece!

Earthquake Cake| Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this #cake is outrageous. Amazing flavors and texture and starts with a #chocolatecakemix. #coconut #pecans #dessert #cheesecake

I assure you, you will be scraping the baking dish trying to get every last bite of this scrumptious Earthquake Cake out of it. It’s that good.

Earthquake Cake| Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this #cake is outrageous. Amazing flavors and texture and starts with a #chocolatecakemix. #coconut #pecans #dessert #cheesecake

Doesn’t Earthquake Cake look appetizing? It tastes as good as it looks.

You may also enjoy these delicious recipes!

Red Velvet Earthquake Cake

Red Velvet Earthquake Cake - IMG_4394

 

Heath Bar Hot Fudge Poke Cake

Heath Bar Hot Fudge Poke Cake - IMG_5884

 

Snickers Brownie Trifle

Snickers Brownie Trifle - IMG_3584

You may find these items helpful for making this recipe.

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57 Replies to "Earthquake Cake"

  • comment-avatar
    Debbie March 12, 2017 (12:47 pm)

    Mine is taking a lot longer than 45 minutes but is looking great. Still very giggly in the middle. Patience! Smells wonderful.

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa March 12, 2017 (5:05 pm)

      Thanks Debbie. I know, some ovens may take a lot longer. Mine usually take just over an hour.

      • comment-avatar
        Kevin April 30, 2017 (8:53 am)

        Teresa. I have made this recipe for years. It is a Paula Dean recipe. “Cholate Valcano cake”. The only difference is she puts chocolate ganiush over top while warm not syrup. Sorry. Your girl friends miss lead you. Its always a hit when i take it to a party!

  • comment-avatar
    Rita Riles October 29, 2016 (5:46 pm)

    I cannot eat coconut at all. Can I use the extract for the flavor and just use the chocolate chips? What effect will it have on this cake without use the coconut?

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa October 30, 2016 (5:02 pm)

      Well, it will definitely change the texture, Rita, but adding coconut extract may help. Why not give it a try and see how it turns out? I bet it would be delicious without the coconut, too.

  • comment-avatar
    Maureen September 14, 2016 (10:18 am)

    What kind of coconut do u use, sweetened or non sweetened?

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa September 14, 2016 (3:10 pm)

      I usually buy sweetened coconut Maureen. Hope you enjoy it.

  • comment-avatar
    Shana August 29, 2016 (11:47 am)

    This cake is a hit wherever I take it! My own personal tweak: I add a dash of cinnamon, some caramel ice cream topping, and a little extra powdered sugar to the cream cheese and butter.

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa August 29, 2016 (4:28 pm)

      Hi, Shana. I love all the changes! It’s also good with chocolate chips on the bottom with the coconut and pecans.

  • comment-avatar
    Heather Holthouser May 14, 2016 (10:43 am)

    My cake just went into the oven and smells amazing! My only question is that I couldn’t get the cream cheese layer to spread over the cake batter layer. How in the world do you do that??
    Thanks! I’m sure it’ll be delish anyway!

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa May 14, 2016 (9:05 pm)

      Hi, Heather. It’s okay if the cream cheese layer sinks into the cake. It turns out differently every time I make it! And the whole purpose is for it to explode like an earthquake so that no matter how you layer it, it some times ends up looking a little different. Hope it turned out great.

      • comment-avatar
        Alice July 3, 2016 (5:50 am)

        Looks yummy. Going to make it to day for our 4th of July celebration! Can’t wait 🙂

        • comment-avatar
          Teresa July 3, 2016 (2:26 pm)

          Hope you enjoy it, Alice. It is a great celebration cake!

    • comment-avatar
      Hazel September 27, 2016 (1:17 pm)

      Put in in by spoonfuls to give an explosive affect

      • comment-avatar
        Teresa September 27, 2016 (7:47 pm)

        Sounds great, Hazel.

  • comment-avatar
    Judy March 26, 2016 (6:57 am)

    This looks amazing!! Ok maybe I’m missing something but the picture appears to have a layer of cream cheese mixture on top of the coconut & pecans, then the cake mix.. Am I reading wrong that you put the cake mix on top then the cream cheese??

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa March 27, 2016 (1:32 pm)

      Hi, Judy, the cake is amazing. The recipe is correct as written. The cream cheese layer actually sinks into the cake while baking. Because the cake kind of explodes, sometimes the cream cheese ends on top, other times it sinks really deeply into the cake. You can also add chocolate chips to the bottom of the pan with the coconut and pecans. That adds a really chocolaty flavor. Enjoy.

  • comment-avatar
    Kathy March 15, 2016 (2:27 pm)

    Can’t wait to try this! Please describe what you’re calling chocolate “sauce” for the topping.
    Is it different from chocolate syrup? Recipe, if any? Brand?

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa March 15, 2016 (3:01 pm)

      Hi, Kathy. I think I just used Hershey’s chocolate syrup or another store bought chocolate sauce. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies - Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen February 25, 2016 (5:14 pm)

    […] recently remade this recipe (February 2015), and after making my spectacular Earthquake Cake and Red Velvet Earthquake Cake(s) last year, I learned that you can’t bake red velvet or […]

  • comment-avatar
    MamaChills November 26, 2015 (7:41 pm)

    what she said! (Author, Theresa). It’s all true. Made this cake today for one of many Thanksgiving desserts, we needed something chocolate. used one of the ‘other two’ german chocolate cake mixes, i add about a cup of flour to these new reduced size mixes. my cream cheese didn’t crack much either, but I swirled it a bit and it did redistribute during baking. since i forgot to tent it with foil during the last few minutes, the cream cheese did brown and caramelize a bit. this was not a bad thing. i should mention that i also sprinkled a handful of chocolate chips over the coconut. the cake was decadent, rich, gooey and delicious. everyone loved it, and it will be one of my go to cakes from now on. unless i top this one when i try the red velvet volcano cake. 😉

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa November 26, 2015 (8:52 pm)

      So glad you enjoyed this cake. Yes, it certainly should be made with chocolate chips and coconut. 🙂 ….and a scoop of ice cream…..:)

      • comment-avatar
        MamaChills January 7, 2016 (11:02 am)

        thanks, theresa. since i first tried this recipe, i am averaging one every 10 days. it’s beautiful, everyone loves it. anytime i go to someone’s house now i take a volcano cake. i recommend that if you are taking it to any type of gathering, make two. one for the party, one that the host(ess) will want for later. there will be nothing left of the first cake, my friends sometimes like to hide a little something away for when the guests have left!

        • comment-avatar
          Teresa January 7, 2016 (12:07 pm)

          So glad you liked it. Don’t know if you’ve tried it with chocolate chips on the bottom (with the coconut), but it’s good that way too (for more decadent flavor). 🙂

      • comment-avatar
        Tina March 2, 2016 (2:50 pm)

        Have you ever used chocolate and carmel to drizzle over the top?

        • comment-avatar
          Teresa March 2, 2016 (4:16 pm)

          Hi, Tina. Actually this cake is so rich I’ve never even considered it, but I’m sure chocolate and caramel drizzled over top would be magnificent! Enjoy.

  • comment-avatar
    Jill Gorrie November 7, 2015 (10:38 am)

    In honor of the recent earthquake in Az, I made the earthquake cake last night for BUNCO. I missed the “tent” step, which made the cream cheese layer brown a bit but also made it chewy. I offered caramel, chocolate & whipped topping. You definitely can only eat a small piece. Great cake!

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa November 9, 2015 (8:45 pm)

      Glad your Bunco crew enjoyed this Earthquake Cake, Jill. This is so rich. It’s wonderful for any kind of potluck.

  • comment-avatar
    Diana October 24, 2015 (9:34 am)

    I love coconut but my husband can’t tolerate it. Will it mess up the cake if I delete it? I’m thinking of making one with and one without coconut. Thanks

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa October 24, 2015 (11:35 am)

      Well, it will change the taste somewhat, Diane, but butter to leave it off for him and use chocolate chips instead (rather than not making it at all)! 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Becky September 10, 2015 (5:22 am)

    Very good recipe! I’ve tried others but this one is the best! My family and friends love it!

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa September 10, 2015 (9:11 am)

      I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe, Becky. We really like it too, even if it is sort of a “high maintenance” cake.

    • comment-avatar
      Maureen October 9, 2015 (6:43 pm)

      Have you ever made cupcakes with this batter? How long would you bake them? I have a benefit bake sale coming up and I’m looking for something different. I’ve made this cake befor and its delish!

      • comment-avatar
        Teresa October 9, 2015 (7:17 pm)

        Hi, Maureen, I’m sure they would turn out fabulous. I would probably start with about 20 minutes and then keep testing with a toothpick every 5 minutes or so. If the cream cheese starts getting brown cover with foil. Hope they turn out great. 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Sheri August 22, 2015 (7:42 am)

    I’ve been making this cake for years! It’s also known as German Chocolate upside down cake. Once baked I flip it over on a platter to serve. Awe some

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa August 22, 2015 (3:04 pm)

      Really? Sounds wonderful, Sheri. All I know is that it turns out great no matter if the cream cheese layer sinks into the cake or not! 🙂 I love the idea of flipping it over, too. Thanks for sharing.

  • comment-avatar
    Kathy August 13, 2015 (1:24 pm)

    Al directions were followed, however, when I added the cream cheese on top of the cake layer, it just sank into the cake. I guess I didn’t have to worry about the top layer burning! Nips there a trick to adding the cream cheese layer?

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa August 13, 2015 (3:54 pm)

      Some chocolate cake mixes have less cake mixture than others. You can decrease the amount of oil or water/liquid in the recipe and it will make the cake portion thicker so that it will hold the cream cheese layer better. Even if the cream cheese layer sinks into the cake, it is still fabulous. 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Joyce June 22, 2015 (9:38 pm)

    I made your cake tonight. It was delicious but didn’t look like your pictures. Forgot to put foil on so it browned alittle on top. Your pictures look like you have a couple layers of cake mix & cream cheese. Mine didn’t do

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa June 23, 2015 (11:58 am)

      Hi, Joyce, this is one of those cakes that kind of explodes while baking so it looks different every time I make it! Foil does help the cream cheese not brown so much so that you can’t see it and it ends up dissolving into the cake. It’s just one of those finicky cakes that’s a little high maintenance, but oh, so good to the taste buds! I’m glad your cake turned out delicious! 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Doreen May 8, 2015 (11:59 am)

    I would love to try this cake, but, some members of my family are allergic to nuts, even coconut. Do you think I may be able to use something like graham cracker crumbs and marshmallow or chocolate chips? I was thinking the marshmallows would rise but then they may be weighted down too much. Any suggestions?

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa May 8, 2015 (10:21 pm)

      Hi, Doreen.You can definitely use chocolate chips in this recipe, although I wouldn’t use white chocolate because they melt too much after about a half hour of baking and you will lose the texture completely. I would NOT do marshmallows because they will end up hardening and getting way too crusty from baking that long. You will end up with a mess on your hands. You can leave the nuts and coconut out of the cake, but understand up front that you won’t get the full effect. It will still be a great tasting cake, just plainer and with less texture. I honestly can’t think of anything else I’d use to substitute for the nuts and coconut. I hope you give it a try. Thanks for stopping by.

  • comment-avatar
    Amber @ Dessert Now, Dinner Later! May 7, 2015 (6:05 pm)

    This cake looks insanely decadent! Mmm-mmm!

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa May 8, 2015 (6:59 am)

      Thanks, Amber. Decadent is only the tip of the iceberg in this cake! 🙂

  • Pina Colada Earthquake Cake - Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen March 9, 2015 (12:11 pm)

    […] you will ever eat. Pina Colada Earthquake Cake, oh my. This is another of my delicious Earthquake Cakes where a cheesecake filling bakes into a cake, and as it bakes the cake explodes (rises) and then […]

  • comment-avatar
    Diane February 9, 2015 (9:14 am)

    Wonderful cake. My daughter made it for my birthday and everyone loved it. The cheese topping seemed to sink and blend in with the chocolate, and not a lot of cracking to it, but none of us minded at all. Thanks for the recipe.

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa February 9, 2015 (12:55 pm)

      Glad you enjoyed it, Diane. I think the only way to get all of the effects of the cake is to tent it with foil for most of the cooking time and bake it in a glass baking dish. That said, I also think this is one of those “explosive” cakes that just does it’s own thing sometimes! 🙂 I’m really glad you had a wonderful birthday cake and you’re family enjoyed the recipe.

  • comment-avatar
    Jayne February 7, 2015 (8:27 pm)

    I made earthquake cake tonight and it is absolutely delicious! It’s
    half gone,

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa February 8, 2015 (6:08 am)

      I’m so glad it turned out well for you Jayne. It takes a little babying to make it right, but it’s worth it! Thanks for letting me know.

  • comment-avatar
    Christine Bell January 15, 2015 (6:56 pm)

    4 cups of powdered sugar? This seems like way tooo much. Maybe one fourth of a cup?

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa January 15, 2015 (7:00 pm)

      Hi, Christine. I know it sounds like a lot. I went back to my original recipe card to make sure I had it right, and that’s the correct amount. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you try the recipe. Let me make one recommendation: After 20-30 minutes you may want to tent the cake with foil so the cream cheese doesn’t brown. Also cook this cake by doneness rather than just by time. All ovens cook differently and yours may cook slower or faster than mine.

      • comment-avatar
        Barb July 6, 2015 (8:03 pm)

        I need advice. I made the recipe tonight and the cream cheese mixture did not stay on top of the unbaked cake layer. I ended up almost mixing the two layers together. It was like the cream cheese layer was too heavy.

        I love the idea of this cake. Please ideas for my next attempt are greatly appreciated.

        • comment-avatar
          Teresa July 7, 2015 (8:51 pm)

          Barb, you may want to beat the cream cheese mixture a little longer, but it’s okay if the cream cheese mixture sinks into the cake. Also, it may be the type of chocolate cake mix you use. Some of the cheaper ones don’t have the same amount of ounces as the Duncan Hines version. You can also cut back on the water in the cake mix layer so the cake batter will be firm enough to support the cream cheese mixture. Regardless, all the flavors mix together while baking. Sometimes the cake maintains the layers while baking, and sometime it explodes a little bit. If you baked this cake six different times, it would turn out a little differently each time depending on the heat from the oven, the type of baking dish you use and different ingredients used each time. That’s why it’s called Earthquake Cake! My best recommendation would be to cut some of the water out of the cake batter so it will be thicker and should support the cream cheese letter better while baking. Let me know how it turns out.

        • comment-avatar
          Carolyn March 26, 2016 (3:51 pm)

          s

    • comment-avatar
      carolyn March 26, 2016 (3:54 pm)

      I halved the cream cheese, butter pow sugar recipe….i also used lemon cake, coconut and dark chips…..hoping i can recreate the flavor of lemon cream choc candy that i had as kid….with coconut too. we shall see. it is in oven now.

      • comment-avatar
        Teresa March 27, 2016 (1:25 pm)

        Hope it turned out well for you, Carolyn. This is a very versatile recipe. You can use lots of different cake mix flavors with great results.

  • Red Velvet Earthquake Cake - Can't Stay Out Of The Kitchen November 3, 2014 (9:41 pm)

    […] and pecans? It all works so well together in this recipe. This amazing cake is a take-off on my Earthquake Cake. If that cake can be considered getting into the play-offs, Red Velvet Earthquake Cake is like […]

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