Food for Thought: Earthquake Break Up Cake

Advice for college life where every conflict (or at least most) can be solved with a little food and conversation.

So, you’ve been in a relationship for a while now and things are just not working out. It was rocky to begin with, and now being in college has made things more complicated than you thought possible. You’ve put it off a million times, but you know it’s time to break things off. It’s a tough discussion to make, but we’ll help you through with this earthquake break up cake.




  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Or choose to not include nuts, just as you are choosing to no longer be in a relationship. Just like they chose to stop including you in important decisions.
  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix. Oh chocolate, the one thing that has been there for you since you made this decision — and the batter will be a perfect snack while waiting on the actual cake.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese. Like how you softened yourself and opened up only to be disappointed, but that’s okay, it’s the risks in life that make us who we are.
  • ½ cup (4 oz) butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar). You think how they also used to be known as the love of your life.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips. You wonder how many will actually make it into the cake — this breakup stuff is exhausting work.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remind yourself to burn all the photos you have together later. But keep the one from last summer to remind yourself that, even though you are breaking up, there are still certain memories worth remembering.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Apparently you two didn’t stick together like you said you would. You wonder if there is anyone you’re meant to stick with in the future, or if every relationship will work out like this one did — or didn’t.

Sprinkle the coconut in an even layer in the pan followed, by the pecans.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake mix with the eggs, water and vegetable oil. You think back as to how you and your significant other were so separate at first but eventually you mixed so well. It’s sad that this is what mixing led to but it’ll work out with some other ingredients, too.

Pour the cake batter over pecans & coconut. But don’t pour over all the mistakes you (both) made during the relationship. At this point, it doesn’t matter who accidentally threw out your favorite shirt or who purposefully flirted with some stranger to make you jealous – what matters is the relationship just didn’t work out. And that is no one’s fault.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and cream cheese together. You realize that’s all there ever was in this relationship — medium feelings. You both just happened to click a year ago and things were easy.

Whisk or beat in the powdered sugar with a hand mixer until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Right — just like how life whisked in challenges neither of you could overcome and things weren’t just easy anymore.




Pour the cream cheese mixture in ribbons on top of the cake batter, then swirl with a knife. Reflect on how the mixture resembles how you two used to be — intertwined souls. Realize you will miss the person who completes your sentences and who would carry you to bed when you fell asleep on the couch. Then lick the knife clean as you let those bittersweet memories fade away.



Top with chocolate chips. Not your tears, which you realize have come somewhere in the process of all of this. You’re surprised to find yourself crying at all, really — you thought you hated them for ruining this relationship. Only now do you realize that no one ruined the relationship, it just didn’t work. You also realize it is okay to cry because it is okay to grieve. Why not? Something important died, did it not? Not being upset makes even less sense.

Bake 45-55 minutes. The toothpick test won’t work for this cake because of the gooey chocolate and cream cheese; the cake is done when you can gently shake the pan and the center of the cake no longer jiggles. Just how this relationship is done when you can be together and no longer feel the spark of connection you used to share.