Lemon Earthquake Cake is a dessert that starts with a layer of coconut and macadamia nuts, followed by a lemon cake and cream cheese swirl, all topped and baked with white chocolate chips. Try my Oreo Earthquake Cake and Pumpkin Earthquake Cake for a couple more varieties of an earthquake cake.

One Slice of Lemon Earthquake Cake on White Plate

Lemon Earthquake Cake

Just like an earthquake causes the earth to shift and cause cracks in the land, this Lemon Earthquake Cake has ingredients that may move around as it is being baked and you may see cracks and crevices in the top after it’s baked. It is supposed to be a bit messy and lumpy.

Overhead of Lemon Earthquake Cake in White Pan with Lemons

Ingredients & Substitutions

Cake Mix: Look for a box of lemon cake mix. Follow the instructions on the box to make the cake.

Coconut: Use sweetened shredded coconut for this cake. Sweetened coconut has added sugar and sometimes other sweeteners as opposed to unsweetened coconut, which has not been coated with any sugars or sweeteners.

White Chocolate Chips: Look for high-quality white chocolate chips to use in baking recipes like this one.

Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts are actually fruits that are produced by the macadamia tree. They are also known as Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, bauple nut, and Hawaii nut. They are considered a delicacy when compared to other kinds of nuts.

One Bite of Lemon Earthquake Cake

How to Make a Cream Cheese Swirl

It’s pretty easy to get that fancy marble swirl in a cake.

  • Add dollops of cream cheese on top of the lemon cake batter. They shouldn’t be uniform or pretty.
  • Use a knife or skewer to make loose vertical zig-zags from one end of the pan to the other.
  • Then make zig-zags in the opposite direction.
One Piece of Lemon Earthquake Cake with One Bite Removed

How to Store Earthquake Cake

Because of the cream cheese layer, I do recommend storing covered in the refrigerator. It should last 2-3 days.

More Earthquake Cakes

5 from 3 votes

Lemon Earthquake Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Lemon Earthquake Cake is a dessert that starts with a layer of coconut and macadamia nuts, followed by a lemon cake and cream cheese swirl, all topped and baked with white chocolate chips.


  • 1 box (15.25 ounces) lemon cake mix, mixed according to package directions
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 ½ cups (312.5 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (168 g) white chocolate chips
  • vanilla ice cream, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
  • Prepare the cake batter according to package directions.
  • Sprinkle the coconut and macadamia nuts onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Spread your cake batter over the top. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  • Beat with a mixer until combined. Dollop the mixture over the cake and use a knife to marble.
  • Sprinkle white chocolate chips on top and bake for about 55-60 minutes, or until the center is set.
  • Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. It’s heavenly!! I followed directions without changing anything. I baked it for 55 min. It came nice and brown on top and the dollops of the cream cheese batter creamy inside. It will definitely be made again!

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