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. Alyssa {Cake, Crust, and Sugar Dust}

    Happy birthday!! I hope your day is filled with Circus Animal Cookie goodness 🙂 This frosting is genius!!

  2. Beth @ bethcakes

    Happy Birthday! This is such a great idea for frosting, and how perfect for a birthday! It looks amazing, I could probably eat it by the spoonfuls. 🙂

  3. Kathi @ Deliciously Yum!

    Happy, happy birthday! Hope you’re having the most amazing day today. How could you not considering you have this amazing frosting to put on top of EVERYTHING?! I cannot wait for my birthday to roll around in a couple of months, so I can whip up this deliciousness 🙂

  4. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar

    Ok. 1. i love animal cookies – this frosting rocks my world. 2. what is a man-mosa? 3. you just started watching True Blood? Like, from the beginning? That’s cray. And it gets way more cray. Like, too cray. I’ll stop using cray now 🙂

    1. Beyond Frosting

      A manmosa is a pint size glass of champagne with a splash of orange juice! It was amazing. And yes, we started about two weekends ago and I am on season 3. It just came on Amazon prime! I am so glad I can watch every episode back to back. I don’t know what I would do if I had to wait for each weekly episode!

  5. Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

    Happy Birthday, girl! Enjoy your day! Circus animal frosting seems like the best way to celebrate. I would probably eat the entire bowl before it ever makes it onto cupcakes. Thanks for sharing the link to my cake too!

  6. Mir

    This is so adorable! A pile of frosting, too, just the way I like it!
    Love the pic with the animal next to the cupcake. He looks like he wants to eat it but doesn’t know how to.

  7. JoeyfromSC

    WOW, I have to try this!! lol..One of my all-time fave cookies(pre-made) are the frosted circus animal cookies! Thanks for sharing! It seems easy too!

    Joey

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