Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

filed under: Cakes on November 3, 2018

Fabulously fun Pumpkin Earthquake Cake is going to rock your world! So easy to do and so good to eat. With its pumpkin and chocolate overload, this is a must make. You have all sorts of flavors with each fork full and you won’t be able to stop.

What exactly is an earthquake cake? It’s similar to a dump cake… but it gets its name from all the cracks and crevices on top when it’s done baking. Similar to how an earthquake would affect land. Pretty smart name if you ask me! 🙂

This recipe is based off on my original Earthquake Cake, which has been a fan favorite!


Pumpkin Dessert (Earthquake Cake)

Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

You can be as meticulous or as messy as you want when making this cake, it will all turn out the same. A bug yummy ooey gooey pumpkin cake packed with extra flavor! This is a great recipe to use my Homemade Pumpkin Spice!

Pumpkin Earthquake Cake Recipe

Pumpkin Desserts

I absolutely love the fall where pumpkin everything is acceptable. I have added it to waffles, pancakes, and cookies. But my favorite by far is cake! I love my Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (featured in Midwest Living Magazine!), Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Cake, the showstopping 3-layer Pumpkin Pie Cake, even a Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cake! All over these pumpkin desserts are near and dear to my heart as they are unique ways to enjoy pumpkin.

This Pumpkin Earthquake cake was a natural progression from my Earthquake Quake and one that everyone seems to love. The presentation is less than gorgeous, but once people take a bite they are hooked.Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

Cake Baking 101

I love to share every detail of the baking process with you and believe that no detail is unimportant. When it comes to baking cakes, there are a few general rules that making the process easier and will help to ensure perfect results.

PREPARE: Read through the cake recipe before you start baking. Make sure that you have all the necessary ingredients available. Often times a cake recipe will call for room-temperature ingredients (like butter and eggs) and setting them out ahead of time so that they can gradually soften is best.

MIXING TOOLS: The tools you use to mix cake can be just as important as the ingredients. Many cakes utilize the creaming method which is creaming together the butter and sugar first. While creaming, the sugar crystals are cut into the butter -or fat- which creates tiny pockets of air that will help the cake to rise. It is important is use a stand mixer in this method as you often want to cream the butter and sugar at high speeds for a longer amount of time. While a hand-held mixer will work, it may not get you the same results. This specific Pumpkin Earthquake cake can easily be mixed by hand (although you will want to sift the cake mix first), with a hand-held mixer, or a stand mixer.

PANS: Pans and how you prepare them matter. Light-colored pans (and glass) work the best for baking cakes. Dark metal absorbs heat faster and can result in the bottom and edges of your cake burning. The gold standard for preparing pans is the butter, flour, and parchment method. This is covering the pan in a thin coat of butter, dusting it with flour (or cocoa for chocolate cakes) and then lining the pan with parchment paper made to fit. You can also use my homemade GOOP (my favorite for intricate pans!) or non-stick baking spray. I used baking spray for this earthquake cake.

4.8 from 5 votes
Pumpkin Earthquake Cake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Packed full of flavor and fun, this Pumpkin Earthquake Quake is perfect for any level baker!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: earthquake cake, pumpkin dessert, pumpkin earthquake cake
Servings: 12
Calories: 483 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ¾ cup (177g) water
  • ½ cup (112g) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (75g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups (375g) confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray or utilizing the butter & flour method.

  2. Mix together the spice cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, water, oil, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.

  3. In another bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add in the melted butter and powdered sugar and mix until well combined.

  4. Place the cream cheese into a piping bag. Pipe the cream cheese mixture on top of the cake mixture. Swirl a knife through the cream cheese. (You can also dollop the cream cheese on top instead of piping)

  5. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick is removed mostly clean. (A completely clean toothpick could mean your cake is overbaked)

  6. Serve warm with ice cream. (optional)

Recipe Video

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  • Oscar says:

    Found this delicious looking cake while looking for a pumpkin cake recipe for Thanksgiving and was surprised to see “1 box Spice Cake Mix” among the ingredients. (I have never used a mix before!)
    Can it be adapted to make from scratch?

    • Sally Acomb says:

      I adapted using a recipe for a spice cake I had. Mine turned out a bit too soggy but was still delicious. To use a from scratch recipe and then try to decide which ingredients from the recipe to leave out because of duplication was a bit tricky.

      Sally A.

  • foodtoheart says:

    I agree on the pumpkin everything 😀 I am like that too. I have tried pumpkin and butternut squash in basically every kind of dish going! Cakes, donuts, soups, pasta.. pumpkin as if it was falling from the sky:)

    Since I have bought some fresh just this morning I definitely have to try your delicious cake. It looks extremely good and that cream cheese filling tops it all up!

  • Stephanie says:

    Are you supposed to use the entire cream cheese mixture? I had a lot and I wasn’t able to use a of it. Even leaving some out my cake has been cooking for over an hour and its still not done. It seems to be too wet. Since it was a lot of cream cheese I tried to marble it more.

  • Tamara says:

    I wonder if raisins can be used as substitute for chocolate chips.

  • Mary Arbogast says:

    I made using regular pumpkin! Really good!!!

  • AnnF64 says:

    Mine just came out of the oven- the areas where I spread the cream cheese mixture (which was lot of cream cheese!) totally sunk in. Doesn’t look like your picture.
    Guess with enough ice cream on top, no one will notice the sunk in areas …

  • Judy says:

    Can this be named in a bunt pan?

  • Caryn H. says:

    This was easy to make and delicious to eat. I brought it to a party and everyone loved it!

    Next time I’ll need to use a bigger pan. I used my 9′ x 13′ glass pan and it overflowed in the over before the timer went off at 40 minutes.

    I’ll definitely make this again. Thank you!

  • Shirley says:

    I frequently substitute Golden Raisins in pumpkin desserts instead of Chocolate Chips. And a bit of flaked coconut is good also.

  • Alisha says:

    Is the can of pumpkin purée 15 oz or 29 oz?

  • Tinya says:

    I made it and it poofed up and ran over the sides. But it taste amazing

  • LLF says:

    I loved it! Be sure to serve it warm with vanilla bean ice-cream . Easy and a sure success for your company. I use fresh pumpkin puree which heightens the flavor. It is worth the extra prep. Try it and see. YOu’ll most likely be a fresh pie pumpkin convert!

  • Susan Leidich says:

    I have made this cake two times.Everyone loves it. Husband said it’s moist and delicious

  • diane carpenter says:

    What would happen if only 1 cup of powdered sugar was used. I don’t like very sweet things.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Diane! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tried making the filling with less confectioners’ sugar, so I can’t say how that would affect it. Let us know if you try it and how it turns out. Have a great day!

  • Shivani says:

    This seems to be awesome recipe. Want to try it but don’t have spice cake mix available in India. Suppose I have to make the cake mix also, how do I go abou it?

  • Evelyn Smith says:

    The chocolate chips turns me away from this one. I can’t imagine chocolate chips in pumpkin.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Evelyn! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. It may not sound like the flavors go together, but pumpkin works super well with all kinds of chocolate, from dark to white chocolate. But, you could definitely leave out the chocolate chips in this recipe. Have a great day!

  • lois scott says:

    You will miss out if you don’t use Chocolate chips with pumpkin. I have several recipes for the combo and it is one of my families favorites.

  • Barb says:

    Living in the Uk I can’t buy Spice Cake Mix. Shame looks delicious

  • Susan says:

    Try this if you can’t find spice cake:
    1 yellow cake mix box
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves

  • Jenise Cox says:

    Hi Amanda! I haven’t tried this yet but I’m wondering if you have a recipe for a scratch spice cake so I don’t need a box mix? I want to make this using organic ingredients. There’s probably a company that sells an organic spice cake mix but processed organic foods are hit and miss, more often the latter. I’m wondering if I could sub your spice snack cake recipe for the boxed mix, omitting the non-dry ingredients?

  • Drema Dollison says:

    Does this cake have to be refrigerated? Wanted to bake it for Thanksgiving and travel four hours to my family. Could it sour even after being baked?

  • sheila says:

    Your recipes are mouth watering.keep up the good work.

  • Meghan Patterson says:

    We love this cake! How long does it keep for? Does it need to be refrigerated?