Circus Animal Cookie Frosting

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Circus Animal Frosting is a creamy vanilla buttercream loaded with crushed circus animal cookies and sprinkles that is great for parties!

A close up shot of a cupcake with a pink wrapper, frosted and decorated with a Circus animal cookie and sprinkles

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with Circus Animal Cookies, always have been! I will stuff these little cookies in just about any dessert I can think of like these circus animal cookies. I’ve also put them in cakes and fudge and brookies too. Today it’s frosting. I took my favorite vanilla frosting recipe and added some crushed cookies. It’s a super simple recipe, but oh my gosh this stuff is sooo addicting. 

These cupcakes are just perfect for birthday parties, but don’t let that hold you back. They’re perfect for making cupcakes on an average Saturday night too.

Why this frosting recipe is amazing

I know that’s a bold claim, but you know what, it’s just the facts. 

My frosting recipes start with cold butter. This is the secret to perfectly whipped frosting. Instead of waiting for the butter to come to room temperature, let the mixer do all the work. You’ll whip the butter for several minutes prior to adding any other ingredients until it’s super fluffy and spreadable. This creates the base for the finished frosting. 

Is this frosting sweet? Yes, but most frosting is. It’s balanced out with some vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream, my other two non-negotiable ingredients. The heavy whipping cream cut the sweetness and makes it ultra smooth and creamy.

A frosted cupcake with a bite taken out of it and a white Circus animal cookie on top

What you’ll need

  • Baked cupcakes: This frosting would pair well with my vanilla, chocolate or yellow cupcakes
  • Circus Animal Cookies- these should finely crushed 
  • Unsalted butter- remember the butter should be cold! 
  • Powdered sugar
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Heavy whipping cream- you can sub with milk if needed
  • Non-pareil sprinkles
white and pink circus animal cookie spread on a pink tye dye surface

How to make this frosting

Prepare the cooking: Place Circus Animal Cookies in a large Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush cookies into small pieces. Set aside. Or pulse in a food processor.

Whip the butter: Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon size pieces, this makes it easier for the mixer to handle. Then use the paddle attachment and whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat the butter until it’s super whipped.

Add the powdered sugar and liquid ingredients: Add 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds. Next, add an additional 1 1/2-2 cups of powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes until super light and fluffy.

Cookie time! Add the crushed animal cookies and sprinkles and beat until incorporated, or fold by hand.

Decorate: Scoop frosting onto cooled cupcakes using a large cookie scoop. Top with additional sprinkles and garnish with leftover cookies. I don’t recommend piping this frosting unless you were to grind it into super fine crumbs. You could also spread it with a knife.

A cookie scoop placing frosting on top of a cupcake with a pink wrapper

Storing frosted cupcakes

Once frosted, cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and are best consumed within 2-3 days. If you live in a warm climate, you might need to refrigerate these cupcakes (in an airtight container), but be sure to serve at room temperature for best results.

If you’d like to prepare this frosting in advance (up to 2 days), I suggest preparing the vanilla frosting first and storing it in an airtight container. When you’re ready to use this frosting, rewhip it with a mixer and then fold in the crushed cookies and sprinkles. This will give you the best results. 

A white cupcake stand filled with cupcakes that have pink wrappers and are frosted and decorated with pink and white Circus Animal Cookies

This was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2021

Print
A close up shot of a cupcake with a pink wrapper, frosted and decorated with a Circus animal cookie and sprinkles

Circus Animal Frosting

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Description

Circus Animal Frosting is a creamy vanilla buttercream loaded with crushed circus animal cookies and sprinkles.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (130g) Circus Animal Cookies, finely crushed
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 3 1/24 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons  (30ml) milk or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons non-pareil sprinkles
  • 24 baked cupcakes

Instructions

  1. Place Circus Animal Cookies in a large Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush cookies into small pieces. Set aside. Or pulse in a food processor.
  2. Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon size pieces . Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, beating until the butter until it’s super whipped.
  3. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  4. Next, add an additional 1 1/2-2 cups of powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes until super light and fluffy.
  5. Add the crushed animal cookies and sprinkles and beat until incorporated, or fold by hand.
  6. Scoop frosting onto cooled cupcakes using a large cookie scoop. Top with additional sprinkles and garnish with leftover cookies.

Notes

  • This frosting would pair well with my vanilla, chocolate or yellow cupcakes
  • Storing frosted cupcakes: These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and are best consumed within 2-3 days. If you live in a warm climate, you might need to refrigerate these cupcakes (in an airtight container), but be sure to serve at room temperature for best results.
  • To prepare frosting in advance: If you’d like to prepare this frosting in advance (up to 2 days), I suggest preparing the vanilla frosting first and storing it in an airtight container. When you’re ready to use this frosting, rewhip it with a mixer and then fold in the crushed cookies and sprinkles. This will give you the best results. 

Nutrition Information:
3 tablespoons
180
22g
12mg
10g
25g
0g
0g
21mg
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Mixer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vanilla frosting recipe, frosting recipe

35 Responses
  1. Annabel

    Frosting animal cookies are a piece of my entire childhood! I bought these to make this, but also to eat like half the pack 😜 I topped this off of your vanilla cupcakes, and they were SO GOOD. Thank you so much, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

  2. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    Yeeeeeep, I’m obsessed. Officially obsessed. As in, my eyes rolled in the back of my head and I went into a Circus Animal Cookie Coma. I need this in my life.

  3. Gloria // Simply Gloria

    Julianne, you absolute amaze me! I just want to plan a party around these! Speaking of parties… hope you have a most fabulous birthday week!

  4. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    3 day weekend are amazing! And they are just so adorable. I have a few kiddos who would flip for these. Yum!
    Have a wonderful Wednesday Julianne!

  5. Tanya Schroeder

    Sounds like the perfect way to spend your birthday Julianne! I love, love this frosting. I have been eyeing a bag of circus animals, hoping to make something with them. Now I know what to make. My own birthday is in about a month. I’m thinking I need circus animal frosting!

  6. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    Happy Birthday!!!!!! And I know all about the “I want to make all the things with X”. (Er, lemon, peanut butter, key lime, …. )

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