Chocolate Earthquake Cake

Chocolate Earthquake Cake is one of my favorite ways to use a chocolate cake mix. The cake is a rich, decadent chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding and chocolate milk with swirls of chocolate cream cheese filling in it and with chocolate chips sprinkled on top. It's the perfect chocolate lover's cake! Check out the rest of my cake recipes while you're here.

slice of earthquake cake on a spatula over top of the cake in the pan


No frosting required for this cake, as the cream cheese filling is sweet enough and acts as the filling. Also, check out my pumpkin earthquake cake and chocolate peanut butter earthquake cake!

Serve up this chocolate earthquake cake for your after-dinner dessert, bake sale, or send over to a loved one for a sweet dessert.

Earthquake Cake Ingredients

I love that this earthquake cake isn't overly complicated. Take a look and make a shopping list because your family is going to love this one.

ingredients with text on a white background

For the Doctored up Chocolate Cake

  • Cake Mix - Your favorite chocolate cake mix will do. Mine is Betty Crocker SuperMoist Cake Mix.
  • Chocolate Milk - You can use regular milk if you don't have chocolate milk on hand. I just added some Hershey's Chocolate Syrup to my milk.
  • Chocolate Pudding - Use any instant chocolate pudding mix, but I swear by Hershey's. Check out my chocolate chocolate chip pudding cookies if you don't believe me. 😀
  • Oil - I used vegetable oil, but canola is great too.
  • Eggs - Always use large eggs for my recipes unless specified otherwise.

For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Filling

Pumpkin cheesecake
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  • Cream Cheese - Use full fat and at room temperature
  • Butter - I used salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter and add about ¼ teaspoon salt to the filling.
  • Baking Chocolate - My favorite is the milk chocolate baking chocolate, but I used semi-sweet baking chocolate since that's what I had on hand.
  • Cocoa Powder - If your cocoa powder is clumpy, sift it! Unsweetened cocoa powder clumps are not pleasant to bite into. I used regular unsweetened cocoa powder, you can use dutch processed if that's what you have on hand.
  • Powdered Sugar - If your powdered sugar is clumpy, sift that as well.
  • Milk - This just helps thin out the frosting filling so it's more spreadable.
  • Chocolate Chips - You can use either milk chocolate or semi-sweet. Whatever your preference is.
a chocolate earthquake cake in a white pan

How to make Chocolate Earthquake Cake

Filling | I like making the filling first and having it set aside to scoop as soon as the cake batter is ready.

  1. Start by adding the cream cheese and butter to a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth with a hand mixer. Add in the melted baking chocolate.

Tip: Chop the baking chocolate and melt it in the microwave in 20 to 30-second intervals. Stir after each interval. You can also melt the baking chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat on the stove.

collage of a bowl of cream cheese and butter and a second photo with chocolate adding to the bowl

2. Beat the melted chocolate into the cream cheese and butter mixture. Next add in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk.

collage of photos showing the melted chocolate mixed into the bowl and the photo has a bowl with powdered sugar, cocoa powder and milk added to the chocolate mixture

3. Beat the chocolate cream cheese frosting filling until combined. If it doesn't smooth out, add another ½ tablespoon of milk to the frosting mixture.

chocolate cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl with a white background

Cake Batter | For the cake batter I reached for a boxed chocolate cake mix. You are not going to follow the directions on the back of the box though. You'll find having the box cake saves some prep time.

  1. Start by adding the cake mix and chocolate pudding to a bowl. Whisk until it's combined. Then you'll add the chocolate milk, oil, and eggs.
collage of a photo with cake mix and pudding mix in a glass bowl and second photo with eggs, oil, and milk adding to the bowl

2. Whisk the chocolate cake batter together until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

glass bowl of cake batter with a whisk in it

Assemble | This is the fun part. We're going to combine the chocolate cake batter and the chocolate cream cheese frosting filling before we bake it. Crazy, right?

  1. Pour the cake batter into a prepared 9x13 baking dish. Using a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop (or whatever cookie scoop size you have), scoop the frosting onto the top of the cake batter. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.
chocolate chips and frosting on top of a chocolate cake batter in a white baking dish

2. Using a skewer or butter knife, swirl the chocolate chips and frosting into the cake batter.

swirled cake batter in a white baking dish with a white background

Bake | Once your batter is done you will then toss in the oven and bake until your cake is fully cooked. It will be puffy when it comes out of the oven but will have cracks that sink as it cools.

earthquake cake fresh out of the oven on a white background

How to store Earthquake Cake

Due to the cream cheese filling in this cake, it will need to be stored in the fridge. Allow your cake to cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge. Then when you are ready to enjoy a slice, just serve cold!

Can I freeze Chocolate Earthquake Cake

You are more than welcome to freeze any leftovers you don't plan to eat right away. Just place in a freezer friendly container and store for around 3 months.

When you want you can thaw on the counter for about 30 minutes or place the cake in the fridge overnight for a low thaw.

fork in a slice of earthquake cake that's on a white square plate

How long will Earthquake Cake last

Cake is always best when served within the first few days of being made. But, you can eat your cake for up to 5 days of being made. You will find by day 5 your cake will be a bit drier in texture.


What kind of cake mix and pudding mix did you use?

Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge cake mix and Hershey's chocolate pudding mix are what I used. Using the super moist chocolate fudge cake it really helped to elevate the rich chocolate flavor! But, you are welcome to swap out the brands if you need to or have a preference.

white pan with slices of chocolate earthquake cake

Can I use regular milk for the chocolate cake?

If you don't want to use chocolate milk you are more than welcome to reach for a regular plain milk. The chocolate cake will not be as rich but it will be still taste great.

I loved having this cake extra rich, and I think you might enjoy it as well.

Can I use chocolate chips instead of baking chocolate in the filling?

Absolutely! Go ahead and use regular semi-sweet chocolate chips if that's what you have in the pantry.

slice of cake on a white square plate with a baking dish full of cake behind it

Looking For More Delicious Desserts

slice of earthquake cake on a spatula over top of the cake in the pan

Chocolate Earthquake Cake

Chocolate Earthquake Cake is a rich, decadent chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding and chocolate milk with swirls of chocolate cream cheese filling in it and with chocolate chips sprinkled on top.
4.38 from 8 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 556 kcal



  • 15.25 ounce box chocolate cake mix do not follow the directions on the box
  • 3.95 ounce box instant chocolate pudding mix 4 ounce boxes will work as well
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cups chocolate milk
  • 4 large eggs


  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate or semi-sweet baking chocolate melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, add in the cake mix and the dry chocolate pudding mix. Stir to combine.
  • Add in the vegetable oil, chocolate milk, and eggs. Whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.


  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the cream cheese and butter. Beat with a hand mixer on medium until smooth and creamy.
  • Chop the baking chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 to 20-second intervals and stir after each interval until the chocolate is melted.
  • Add in the melted chocolate to the cream cheese and butter and beat until combined.
  • Add in the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and milk. Beat until everything is incorporated and the filling is smooth and creamy.
  • Add spoonfuls of the filling to the top of the cake batter. Be sure to add some filling close to the edges.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the filling and cake batter.
  • Using a skewer or butter knife, swirl everything together.
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the cake is done.
  • Let cool completely before cutting and serving.
  • Cover and store in the fridge.


Calories: 556kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 8gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 537mgPotassium: 401mgFiber: 5gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 350IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 126mgIron: 6mg

(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)

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  1. Made this cake Sunday afternoon for a chili cook-off we had at church. It was almost gone when I went to my cake pan to bring it home. The praise leader said he absolutely loved it had to have two pieces. Glad I got a piece before I took it up there to try it. It was really delicious. I used milk chocolate chips in it. Will make again!

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