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Birthday cupcakes - Circus Animal Cookie Cupcakes

Circus Animal Cookie Cupcakes

  • Author: Deborah
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 18 mins
  • Total Time: 48 minutes
  • Yield: 36 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert


These Circus Animal Cookie Cupcakes have vanilla cupcakes filled with a circus animal cookie infused cheesecake center, then topped with vanilla buttercream. Top it all off with a circus animal cookie for a fun, playful and delicious cupcake!




  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk


  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 oz frosted circus animal cookies, crushed (about 23 cookies)


  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 34 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 36 frosted circus animal cookies


To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line 36 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter together on medium speed. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl and beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat to combine. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat, followed by another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining buttermilk, then the remaining flour mixture, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the 36 cups, filling each about 2/3 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the filling: Combine the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until stiff peaks form. Add the cream cheese and continue to beat until completely combined.  Stir in the crushed cookies.

To make the buttercream: Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer until light. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating completely between additions. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, mix in a pinch of salt. Add in the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  If desired, add 1-2 drops of red food coloring to color the buttercream pink.

To assemble:  Use a sharp knife to cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake, reserving the cut piece. Fill the center with 1 teaspoon of the filling, the replace the cut out piece back to the cupcake. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Top with a frosted circus animal cookie and sprinkles if desired.

Recipe Notes:

Nutrition information provided as an estimate only. Various brands and products can change the counts.


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 323
  • Sugar: 31 g
  • Sodium: 1170 mg
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 42 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 59 mg