This Frosted Circus Animal Cookie Cake is made with pink and white layers of vanilla cake, filled with a crushed up frosted animal cookie filling and covered in white chocolate buttercream! It’s so much like eating frosted animal cookies in cake form and I love it!
Frosted Animal Cookies (aka Circus Animal Cookies) are easily one of my favorite cookies. I’ve been eating them since I was a kid and find them to be pretty addicting. I mean a cookie that’s basically covered in a white chocolate frosting type coating? Oh yea, sign me up!
When I made this Frosted Animal Cookie Cheesecake, I had no idea how much of a hit it would be. Clearly I’m not the only one with a love for these cookies that runs deep. So naturally the next treat in line would be a layer cake, since I’m such a fan.
This Frosted Animal Cookie Layer Cake, which I suppose you could also call a Circus Animal Cookie Cake, is everything I wanted it to be. Pink and white, full of frosted animal cookies, with plenty of white chocolate frosting. If there’s a heaven for frosted animal cookie lovers, this is it.
Making a Frosted Circus Animal Cookie Cake
While there are several steps to making this cake, it really isn’t hard. You start off with a vanilla cake. The base of these cookies is actually a vanilla shortbread cookie, so vanilla is what I went with. I wanted to incorporate the fun colors of the cookies all the way into the cake layers, so I divided the batter in half and colored half of it pink with gel icing color. I love the way the alternating layers turned out!
The filling is definitely me favorite part, since that’s where the circus animal cookies come in. It’s sort of like a frosting consistency, but instead of being made primarily from powdered sugar, there’s LOADS of crushed up frosted animal cookies.
The cookie crumbs are combined with butter, a little powdered sugar for volume, some vanilla extract and then a little moisture from water or milk so that you get it to a nice consistency for filling a cake. It’s like eating a bunch of crumbled up circus animal cookies. Yum!
The frosting is a delicious white chocolate buttercream. White chocolate is a flavor that is relatively subtle, so it can be hard to get it to come through in treats. This frosting has a full 12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips melted into it, so it actually has a lovely white chocolate flavor that is perfect for this cake!
Once put together, the cake is drizzled with pink white chocolate ganache, kissed by a few sprinkles and topped with some swirls of frosting and frosted circus animal cookies. The whole thing brings me back to childhood and reminds me of these cookies in the best way! Such a fun cake for an occasion – or just when you have a craving for both cake and circus animal cookies. Bring on the Frosted Circus Animal Cookie Cake!
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Frosted Animal Cookie Cheesecake
Homemade Circus Animal Cookies
Animal Cookie Snack Mix
Frosted Circus Animal Cookie Cake
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes, plus cooling time
- Yield: 12-14 slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
This Frosted Circus Animal Cookie Cake is made with pink and white layers of vanilla cake, filled with a crushed up frosted animal cookie filling and covered in white chocolate buttercream!
- 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (337g) sugar
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (300ml) milk
- Pink gel icing color
- Ivory gel icing color
Frosted Animal Cookie Filling
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups (317g) frosted animal cookie crumbs
- 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
- 7–8 tbsp milk or water
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 15 frosted animal cookies, crumbled
White Chocolate Buttercream
- 1 1/4 cups (280g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 12 oz white chocolate chips, melted
- 6 cups (690g) powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 5–6 tbsp (60-75ml) heavy whipping cream
Pink Chocolate Ganache
- 6 oz white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Pink gel icing color
1. To make the cake layers, prepare two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
5. Add the butter, sugar and vegetable oil to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
6. Add the eggs and mix until completely combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
7. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
8. Add the vanilla extract and milk and mix until well combined. The batter will look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
9. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
10. Divide the batter in half. Put one half into one of the cake pans and spread evenly. Color the color half with the pink and ivory gel color, then spread evenly into the other prepared cake pan.
11. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
12. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
13. When you’re ready to build the cake, make the filling. Beat the butter until smooth.
14. Add the animal cookie crumbs and beat until well combined.
15. Add the powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of water or milk and beat until well combined.
16. Add the vanilla extract, salt and additional water or milk as needed to get the right consistency.
17. Stir in the crumbled animal cookies.
18. To build the cake, torte the two cakes so that you end up with four layers total.
19. Place the first pink layer of cake on a serving plate or cardboard cake circle. Spread about 3/4 cup of the filling into an even layer on top of the cake.
20. Repeat with a layer of white cake and another layer of filling.
21. Add the second layer of pink cake and another layer of filling.
22. Top the cake with the second white layer of cake.
23. If there’s some frosting sticking out from around the edges, try to smooth it out a bit, then set the cake aside.
24. To make the white chocolate buttercream, add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
25. Add the melted white chocolate chips in a three batches, mixing until well incorporated and smooth. You want to add it in a few batches to try to ensure that it mixes well, without any lumps forming from the white chocolate.
26. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
27. Add the salt and 3-4 tablespoons of cream, then mix until smooth.
28. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
29. Add additional cream, as needed, until you get the right frosting consistency.
30. Frost the outside of the cake with the buttercream (use my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if you like), then press sprinkles into the sides of the cake.
31. To make the pink ganache, add the white chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl.
32. Add the cream to a microwave safe measuring cup and heat just until it begins to boil. Pour the cream over the white chocolate chips and whisk until smooth. If it doesn’t smooth out completely, microwave in 10 second increments, stirring between each, until the white chocolate is melted and smooth.
33. Add the pink icing color until you reach your desired shade.
34. Drizzle the ganache around the edge of the cake, then fill in the center.
35. Pipe some swirls of the remaining buttercream around the top edge of the cake, then finish it off with some additional animal cookies.
I used these Keebler Frosted Circus Animal Cookies, but these Mother’s Original Iced Circus Animal Cookies would be fine too.
I used these nonpareil sprinkles.
- Serving Size: 1 Slice
- Calories: 1089
- Sugar: 104.5 g
- Sodium: 390.8 mg
- Fat: 60.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 131.2 g
- Protein: 10.1 g
- Cholesterol: 162.3 mg
Keywords: circus animal cookie cake, frosted animal cookie cake, circus animal cookie dessert
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Can I use boxed cake mix if I’m crunched for time??
Sure, that’s fine.
I’m making this for the first time…have you ever measured the cake batter out for easy dividing? I’m sure there is a simple method but I’m a little slow to easy methods 🤣
Any help would be appreciated. This recipe looks amazing thanks for sharing.
I usually use a food scale and then I can weigh the batter and divide it evenly.
Hello I am planning to make this for my daughter’s first birthday this weekend. Is this something I could make the night before the party or does it need to be served day of? Thanks
You can definitely make it the night before.
Any recommendations on making this into a 6 inch layer cake? Halve the recipe?
Yes, I would try cutting it in half.
This is a question. Can you estimate how much pink and ivory gel color are you using? This will be used for one of the layers, while the other layer will be plain? Also, why are you combining the 2 gel colors? Does this combination result in a nicer pink? Hope you can help!
I’m not sure exactly how much I used of each color. It’s not a lot. I use a toothpick to add small amounts at a time. And yes, you color one cake layer and leave the other plain so that you can divide them both later and end up with four cake layers – two of each color. I use both pink and ivory to get a better shade of pink. Pure pink will be a very bright and vibrant pink. The ivory calms it down a little bit. But you could certainly use just pink, if you prefer.
I tried the cake recipe and I’m not sure what happened. Maybe the baking power wasn’t fresh enough or I mixed it wrong. But my cake didn’t really rise at all. It sunk in the middle and won’t hold its shape at all the cake recipe is delicious but there is a flaw somewhere. What did I do wrong ?
It’s possible that the baking powder wasn’t good anymore. You could also check to make sure you didn’t accidentally add too much or too little. Too much can definitely cause sinking in the middle. That can also happen if you open the oven too early and let too much heat out or if the cake is under baked. I hope that helps!
Please help! Is there enough frosting in this recipe for the crumb coat? I have assembled everything for making this this weekend. Very excited!
You should have plenty of frosting for a crumb coat. Hope you enjoy it!
Can I turn this cake recipe into cupcakes so I can use cupcakes with this frosting recipe? Or is it pretty similar to one of your vanilla cupcake recipes? Thanks!
It’s the same as this vanilla cupcake recipe, if you’d like to use that one.
Okay awesome thanks! I actually made those ones a month or so ago and they turned out great!